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Ultimate Fantastic Four #18

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"N-Zone: Conclusion"

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Adam Kubert (p), Scott Hanna (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: As the Fantastic Four race through the gateway that takes them back to Earth, they are unable to shut the gateway before Nihil's main ship is also able to make it through. What follows is a aerial chase sequence that ends with both ships crashing to the ground in the middle of Las Vegas. The Fantastic Four then put on a very public display as they battle Nihil and his army and while the young team is able to walk away from this encounter victorious, their success is more the result of dumb luck than any real strategy on their part.

Comments: There are times when it's difficult to pretend that a story needed to be six issues long other than the fact that six issues is the preferred length for a trade-paperback, and as such by padding his story so that it managed to fill out the required page count, Warren Ellis is rewarded with a second pay cheque for the trade sales. However, unlike Brian Michael Bendis who is also guilty of this practice, the padding that Warren Ellis decides to employ is not amusing, inconsequential dialogue exchanges. Instead, he seems to be rather fond of placing burden on the artist. The opening eight pages of this issue delivers two rather simple ideas. The first is that the main villain was able to follow our heroes back through the gateway before it could be closed, and the second is that the Fantastic Four's craft has been damaged to such a degree that they have no control over where it's going to come crashing to the ground. Now I will concede that Adam Kubert does impressively show the two ships come crashing to the ground in the middle of Las Vegas, but truth be told the sequence went on far longer than it needed to and the big payoff visual to the two downed ships conveyed more a sense of relief that the scene was over, rather than an impressive spectacle. I also have to question the logic behind Reed's last page claim that the public will now have to look upon them as heroes, as while we know they are good, one would think the public would question how heroic it was to crash their ship in the middle of a populated city, and one has to imagine that night time in Las Vegas there was a number of people on the streets whose lives were ended when those two massive ships carved a path of destruction though the city's main drag. Still, I guess the issue does deserve marks for thinking big when it comes to introducing the Fantastic Four to the public, and they do get to fend off a full-scale alien assault. The way that Nihil is defeated was a nice moment of dark comedy.

Adam Kubert is given the opportunity to flex his artistic muscle in the opening pages of this issue, as he's called upon to deliver an aerial dogfight between two space ships before both vessels come crashing to the ground in the middle of Las Vegas. I'm a little disappointed that the crash sequence wasn't delivered with images that were a little closer to the action, as the big crash is delivered from quite a distance away from the action, and while this does provide a greater sense of clarity, it also gave the action a detached feel as we don't really get the sense of the impact of these two ships. However, the action sequence that follows is quite impressive with a nice page of the Fantastic Four doing battle with Nihil's army, and there's a lovely shot of this same army advancing on our heroes after Nihil's ship explodes. There's also a lovely reaction shot of the team's collective reaction to the Nihil's failed attempt to remove the weapon that Reed jammed in his mouth.



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