I'm off this week for the holiday - which means I have time to hang out in my local comic shop. I took a look at "Fantastic Three Part One" - a new story arc in Moongirl #25 that came out yesterday.
SPOILERS AHEAD - Don't read further if you can't handle the spoil
First the positive. The art is OK. Compared to most Marvel art in other titles, it is actually stellar. Bustos does a decent job portraying Johnny and Ben. Yes, it's a bit on the cartoonish side, but there is definitely some talent here that I appreciate. While seemingly more suited for something like a juvenile "Action Hour" type series, it has clean lines and nice inking and coloring, despite being a bit immature.
Sadly, this first installment seems to confirm my suspicions that Marvel has little to no respect for the FF - particularly Johnny and Ben. Throughout the issue, Moongirl narrates and refers to Ben and Johnny as "fools" in a derogatory manner. The FF is MOCKED throughout with references to Herbie replacing Johnny, making fun of old uniforms, and Moongirl acting exasperated that she has to tolerate these "fools".
The dialog is telling, with the writers having Johnny saying "nobody wants the Fantastic Four anymore" (Translation: Marvel doesn't want the FF anymore). Ben says things like ""Sometimes yer fate catches up ta ya. And when that happens--when yer time is up--yer gone for good. Or bad." Hmmm. What is Marvel hinting at here?
Some weird stuff happens in a side scene that makes it look like members of the FF (except Sue) are committing crimes. Then cut to another scene where a kid brings in old issues of Fantastic Four and other kids are like "who is that?". The owner of the comics says when the Fantastic Four were killed....the comics became collectors items. Interesting.
The plot then degrades into a retread of the first Galactus encounter, complete with a battle with the Surfer and a very cartoony Galactus appearing over the urban schoolyard. Moongirl is condescending throughout (making Valeria look like a polite kid), and Johnny and Ben are regarded exactly as what Marvel has made them into over the years. Bumbling, stumbling idiots. Comedy relief.
Overall, I have mixed feelings. I want the FF to come back and return to the Marvel Universe. But I'm not sure I really appreciate the blatant disregard and disrespect being shown to the FF by Marvel writers. It doesn't make sense to me that the FF would be so completely forgotten. And it doesn't make sense that Ben and Johnny would be treated with such lack of respect by the so-called "smartest person in the world". Have Ben and Johnny not accomplished anything that deserves respect and that would be memorable?
Uggh. I'll think on it more - maybe I am being biased here. But I have to say, I found this little arc to be pretty much what the preview was. A let down.
The previews concerned me but I was on the brink of grabbing this. What did I like the LEAST in the past years of the FF? A snot nosed little brat girl that acts like everyone is beneath her because of her IQ despite the fact that she can't possibly have developed the maturity of an adult with limited life experiences. Sounds like this character, at least here, is pretty much the same. I love how these little kids are allowed to show disrespect to adults, good way to raise a super villain with limited empathy.
I will skip this. Thank you for your sacrifice.
Edited due to a preachy part ! Happy Thanksgiving!