Fantastic Four: TWGCM >> View Post
Post By
Doc Shallot

In Reply To
Iron Maiden

Subj: Re: Millar's 1985 #1 - A good start [SPOILERS]
Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 at 10:22:53 am CDT
Reply Subj: Millar's 1985 #1 - A good start [SPOILERS]
Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 at 07:43:42 am CDT

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Since Millar has stated in his interview at CBR that this series will tie in with the future arc in the FF called "Doom's Masters", I suppose it is appropriate to start a discussion about this series here.

Setting aside my less than glowing opinion of the recently concluded opening arc of Millar/Hitch's FF, I have been anxious to read this 6 issue limited series. Millar has stated he had completed this about 3 years ago and it makes me wonder what took them so long to publish this, assuming that 3 years ago it wasn't hinted that he would be writing the FF. I recall seeing the original promo art (which I recently stumbled across on my PC) around that time with very little being leaked about the story itself.

Ever since FF Annual #3, I have always had a fondness for covers that with the kitchen sink philosophy of throwing in as many characters on the cover as you can so I picked the Jim Cheung variant that features Magneto, Doctor Doom, Titania, Ultron, the Red Skull, the Juggernaut and another dozen or so of ne'er do wells.

Right off the bat, I loved the splash page showing Stan and Jack in silhouette and Tommy Lee Edwards photo-realism style works well here, as it does throughtout most of the book. Ironically, his depiction of some of the fictional characters, like the last page appearance of the Hulk, were less impressive. But that's just a minor complaint.

The story opens with the lead character Toby at his local comic book shop getting up to speed on the storyline in 1985's "Secret War", which is up to the point where Doom has taken on the Beyonder and succeeded in stealing his powers. I am sure there is a reason why "1985" starts at this point in "Secret War" that will become clear as the story progresses.

Toby is from a broken family and his stepfather is a more successful provider than his bio dad. I like that the two dads are not in contention with each other and Toby's dad tells him he doesn't have to prove any loyalties to him by hating the stepfather. It turns out that Toby's father knew the family that owned the mysterious house that suddenly has a lot of new tenants. I have to wonder if the former playmate of Toby's Dad, Clyde Wyncham will play a bigger role later on. He had a comic book collection, left behind in the deserted house, that dates back to Fantastic Four #1. Ironically, it is the Mole Man that wants to give this collection away to Toby, as the Red Skull is glimpsed from a window looking out at the scene by the youngster. Later, there are reports on the news of a bird man (The Vulture) being seen around the town.

Initially, Toby thinks these characters are just some weirdos dressing up like the Marvel characters but the Vulture sighting convinces him that something is afoot and he figures the old Wyncham place is at the bottom of it. He sets out alone to play "Nancy Drew", as his skeptical friend puts it. No sooner does he reach the house than he finds himself eavesdropping on Doctor Doom ranting to the Mole Man about the "living out here in this miserable hovel with you and your idiot cohorts". This little row between the two was the highlight of the story for me, with the Mole Man trying to placate a pissed off Victor. There are references to doing the bidding of "The Great Man" by Mole Man and Victor's natural refusal to march to his tune and Doom states "his mutant powers have no influence over me". Toby's audible reaction to an engery blast from Doom's gauntlets gives him away and he dashes off into the woods, only to bump into the Incredible Hulk.

So far, the premise in this story is a good one and the opening chapter has me curious as to who the "Great Man" is...the Beyonder perhaps? I will be picking up the rest of this one.

> Since Millar has stated in his interview at CBR that this series will tie in with the future arc in the FF called "Doom's Masters", I suppose it is appropriate to start a discussion about this series here.

I agree. I was going to post my thoughts on the Marvel board and then basically do a cut and paste on this board with a little more discussion about the FF-related aspects, but since you started a thread I'll toss in my comments.
>
> Setting aside my less than glowing opinion of the recently concluded opening arc of Millar/Hitch's FF, I have been anxious to read this 6 issue limited series. Millar has stated he had completed this about 3 years ago and it makes me wonder what took them so long to publish this, assuming that 3 years ago it wasn't hinted that he would be writing the FF. I recall seeing the original promo art (which I recently stumbled across on my PC) around that time with very little being leaked about the story itself.

I like that cover and maybe it'll be on a future issue. I have to wonder if the story has been tweaked since then. Certainly three years ago Millar didn't know that he'd be doing the FF and Wolverine. Since Doom's "masters" seem destined to play a role I'm sure he changed a few things to match up with what he's doing in the FF.
>
> Ever since FF Annual #3, I have always had a fondness for covers that with the kitchen sink philosophy of throwing in as many characters on the cover as you can so I picked the Jim Cheung variant that features Magneto, Doctor Doom, Titania, Ultron, the Red Skull, the Juggernaut and another dozen or so of ne'er do wells.

Great minds think alike? This is the one I got as well. There was a little debate on the Marvel board a while back that the kid's ear is too low.
>
> Right off the bat, I loved the splash page showing Stan and Jack in silhouette and Tommy Lee Edwards photo-realism style works well here, as it does throughtout most of the book. Ironically, his depiction of some of the fictional characters, like the last page appearance of the Hulk, were less impressive. But that's just a minor complaint.

It's a minor complaint of mine as well. The scenes that don't feature heroes are excellent, Edwards' art really shines. I do think he did a good job on the quick scene of the Red Skull in the window. That certainly would have scared the life out of me. The one pic of Doom's face was less than stellar but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story.
>
> The story opens with the lead character Toby at his local comic book shop getting up to speed on the storyline in 1985's "Secret War", which is up to the point where Doom has taken on the Beyonder and succeeded in stealing his powers. I am sure there is a reason why "1985" starts at this point in "Secret War" that will become clear as the story progresses.

Various Millar interviews provide info in regards to this in addition to the identity of the "big bad".
>
> Toby is from a broken family and his stepfather is a more successful provider than his bio dad. I like that the two dads are not in contention with each other and Toby's dad tells him he doesn't have to prove any loyalties to him by hating the stepfather. It turns out that Toby's father knew the family that owned the mysterious house that suddenly has a lot of new tenants. I have to wonder if the former playmate of Toby's Dad, Clyde Wyncham will play a bigger role later on. He had a comic book collection, left behind in the deserted house, that dates back to Fantastic Four #1. Ironically, it is the Mole Man that wants to give this collection away to Toby, as the Red Skull is glimpsed from a window looking out at the scene by the youngster. Later, there are reports on the news of a bird man (The Vulture) being seen around the town.

I do believe the Clyde Wyncham character is going to be a major player, not just in this series. Marvel has recently released a "1985 Checklist". My bet is that this title will reveal characters and plot elements that will carry over into FF and Wolverine. Having recently dropped the FF and not picking up a Wolverine issue in years, I do wish the entire story was a bit more self-contained.
>
> Initially, Toby thinks these characters are just some weirdos dressing up like the Marvel characters but the Vulture sighting convinces him that something is afoot and he figures the old Wyncham place is at the bottom of it. He sets out alone to play "Nancy Drew", as his skeptical friend puts it. No sooner does he reach the house than he finds himself eavesdropping on Doctor Doom ranting to the Mole Man about the "living out here in this miserable hovel with you and your idiot cohorts". This little row between the two was the highlight of the story for me, with the Mole Man trying to placate a pissed off Victor. There are references to doing the bidding of "The Great Man" by Mole Man and Victor's natural refusal to march to his tune and Doom states "his mutant powers have no influence over me". Toby's audible reaction to an engery blast from Doom's gauntlets gives him away and he dashes off into the woods, only to bump into the Incredible Hulk.
>
> So far, the premise in this story is a good one and the opening chapter has me curious as to who the "Great Man" is...the Beyonder perhaps? I will be picking up the rest of this one.

Me too. This was a pleasant surprise. I do have to wonder how Millar will keep the suspense up though. If a bunch of Marvel villains had access to the "real world" they'd probably conquer it in a couple of weeks. My bet is that for some reason they have to follow the dictates of this "Great Man".

Some other general thoughts: The basic premise of a kid going through a rough patch, divorced parents, taking comfort in a "childish" escape, adults not believing them, etc. is nothing new. We've seen and/or read it all before someplace else. Recently I saw the "Spiderwick Chronicles" with my kids and some of these plot elements were there. Millar doesn't make this situation seem cliche though, and as you mention, the adults here are sympathetic in nature.

The comic shop scene stood out for me. I really liked the detail. All those old comics covers brought back memories. The 80's were the height of my fandom and I can remember having the shop owners try to sell me on certain comics while at the same time having others tell me to dump the hero stuff and get into titls like "Love and Rockets". There was a bit of the Simpsons' "comic-book guy" in the owner's personality, buy hey, the Simpsons' creators didn't make him like that for no reason.

As much as I disliked Millar's opening arc this story really impressed me. I hope he can keep it up and it doesn't devolve into a mindless slugfest. I'm a little wary of the crossover elements making their way into FF and Wolverine and I hope I can enjoy this series on it's own without having to at least flip-through those other books.