"Rising Storm, Part 1 of 4"
Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: Mike Wieringo (p), Karl Kesel (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As Johnny is kidnapped by Galactus, and forced to become the planet-eater's newest herald, we see the rest of the Fantastic Four are making preparations to head out after Johnny, with Quasar providing the means that the team will use to make their voyage into deep space. As Sue struggles to gain some measure of control over her new power, we see Johnny is forced to deal with an angry alien warrior who is looking to take out his anger toward Galactus out on the big guy's newest herald.
While Mark Waid's impending departure from the book does act as a serious downer, I have to say this recent arc is shaping up to be my favourite arc, as it's full of the grandiose ideas that the Fantastic Four thrive upon. Now under Mark Waid's watch the team has ventured to Heaven, taken over Latveria, and battled the newly formed Frightful Four, but with to the best of my knowledge they haven't ventured into space, and as such I'm rather looking forward to this arc as the team ventures into space to rescue Johnny from the most dangerous threat the team has ever encountered. It's a back to the basics adventure with some novel touches thrown in to keep things interesting, as how can one not enjoy the idea of Sue and Johnny swapping powers, or the idea of Johnny playing the role of herald of Galactus. I also have to say that while I can see why many fans would dismiss the character as a second-rate Green Lantern clone, I have to say I've always been a fan of Quasar, and I'm delighted to see he'll be playing a role in this adventure, and what's more the issue does take the time to acknowledge that the character was asleep at the switch when he missed the arrival of a alien invasion fleet, followed by Galactus' arrival, given the character is supposed to be the solar system's advanced warning system. The issue also offers up a couple nice little character moments in the form of flashbacks, with Ben's first date with Alica being a particularly effective scene.
First off I have to say that it's great to see this title looks to have gotten back into the habit of offering up cover visuals that reflect the story one should expect to find inside, as the shot of Johnny standing side-by-side with Galactus is far more engaging than any generic action shot ever could've been. As for the interior art, the book opens with a great little sequence where we see the team dealing with a tumble off the roof, and Sue's new powers make this rather mundane bit of action far more entertaining than it normally would've been, with the final shot of bungee Ben being a very cute visual. The art also does some lovely work when it comes to the delivery of the Kirby-tech that litters the interior of Galactus' ship, and the big action scene where Johnny uses the power cosmic on the attacking warrior was a wonderfully unsettling image. I also rather enjoyed the flashback scene, as Ben's physical form has the softer appearance that many artist forget to deliver when they offer up a look back at Ben's early days as the Thing.
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