Saturday, May 24, 2003

Fantastic Four: A Death in the Family One-Shot Review



This is called a one-shot, but what it really is what I like to call a "Too good for a fill-in" issue. Essentially, this one-shot by Karl Kesel and Lee Weeks (with inks by Robert Campanella and Tom Palmer) reads just like a fill-in issue of the Fantastic Four. It is just about the length of an issue (I think it is 23 pages instead of 22). However, it is probably a bit too well-written to waste as a fill-in issue, and add in the fact that, post Civil War, an issue featuring the full FF probably wouldn't fit in, and it makes sense to issue this as a one-shot, paired with a classic FF reprint (from the Byrne era - not one of his best issues).

The issue is basically an examination of the Fantastic Four as a family, but more importantly, the Storms as a family. We are all used to looking at the FF as a "family," with Reed and Sue as the parents and Johnny and Ben as the kids (and didn't Morrison want to have Sue and Johnny lusting for each other? Just joking!! That one was for you, Man of the Atom!). However, the fact that Johnny and Sue are ACTUAL blood relatives often gets short shrift in the title, and Kesel examines their bond in thie issue, and he does so quite well, I thought.

In addition, he looks at Johnny's sense of responsibility. From the perspective of the other teammates not THINKING Johnny has all that strong of one to the realization that his sense is stronger than you would expect.

Finally, let's be realistic, while Sue dies, and it isn't a "hoax," at the end of the issue, she IS alive. How she is brought back is interesting, as Johnny clearly demonstrates that he understands the limitations of his act, but he can't help but do SOMEthing. Clever stuff.

Top notch work by Kesel.

Meanwhile, Lee Weeks continues to amaze me with his ability to draw nicely in differing styles. Here, he evokes the infamous "Kirby 'house style,'" of the 70s and early 80s, but he makes it sparkle. Good job by both inkers.

Whether you enjoy the second story or not (oh, and there's also one of those Franklin Richards stories - those are pretty good, too, even if you've read this particular one 7,208 times), this is a good comic book. I recommend it without reservation.

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26 Comments:

Blogger T. said...

It's funny, I feel like that with ALL the FF fill-ins Kesel has done. He's at least much better than the overrated Waid and the underwhelming JMS. I guess his name just isn't "hot" enough.

5/24/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous R. Nav said...

Huh.. I was going to skip this book because I refuse to pay for any more "Gimmick Death" comic books. But now I know that Sue comes back to life at the end? Is it really a good story?

I'm torn, man.

5/24/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

It really isn't a gimmick death. It's a gimmick death in the old fashioned sense, when they could advertise for a new issue as "In this issue...a member of the FF DIES!"

And yes, it's a well-written story.

5/24/2006 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"It's funny, I feel like that with ALL the FF fill-ins Kesel has done. He's at least much better than the overrated Waid and the underwhelming JMS. I guess his name just isn't "hot" enough."

Totally.

Kesel should have had a run on Fantastic Four many times in the past. His timing was always crap, that's all.

First, you had Tom DeFalco on the book, and HE wasn't going anywhere.

And when DeFalco left, it was Heroes Reborn, and when that ended, Scott Lobdell was coming right off of X-Men, so he was hot.

And after Lobdell, it was Claremont.

And after Claremont, you had Pachecho.

And then it was Waid.

And then it was JMS.

At any one particular point in time (except Heroes Reborn, and I suppose Heroes Return), Kesel COULD have been plugged in, but at no point was he the biggest name who wanted the job.

It's too bad.

5/24/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

How much Kesel FF is out there, anyway? He's done this, some fill-ins on either side of Waid's run, that awesome annual, and Challengers of the Fantastic...has anyone in comics done so much with a character without ever being the regular creator on their title?

5/24/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Don't forget Fantastic Four 2099!

Okay, never mind, do forget that.

And yeah, it's clear that Kesel loves him the FF. The timing was always just a little off.

5/24/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

Lessee...Kesel scripted the last four issues of the Pacheco/Marin run (#480-483), #485, the Thing solo issue that was so acclaimed they reprinted it in the Imaginauts trade and the first Waidingo HC, and he co-wrote the Frightful Four storyline during Waid's run.

5/24/2006 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cory!! said...

Kesel has done great work with ALL of the Kirby characters he's worked on, and I have no idea why he doesn't get more work writing. He and Adam Warren are two authors I'd love to see get more work just because I find their stories so well done.

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Anonymous Ray Karlson said...

Sorry, "T.", no-one thinks you're cool.

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Anonymous Generic Cialis said...

I haven't read that issue yet, normally am not into the FF at all but that cover you placed is very good, i actually like The Human Torch i believe he has the best power of them all.

9/03/2010 05:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Viagra Sales said...

I really like your review, but honestly I hate Fantastic Four, due to the fact they can not do anything by themselves, don't you think??

9/30/2010 02:40:00 PM  

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