"Crossover, Part 2 of 3"
Writer: Mark Millar
Artists: Greg Land (p), Matt Ryan (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Reed discovers to his horror that the fantastic new world that he's discovered is one where all its heroes are cannibalistic zombies. After a series of narrow escapes, he finds himself in an alliance with Magneto, who is the only super-powered being who escaped the infection that swept the planet. Reed then has his eyes opened to the enormity of his mistake, as he figures out the true reason why he was lured to this alternate reality.
Comments: I could make some noise about the fact that I've seen a hero trapped in a nightmarish alternate reality plot hundreds of times before, or I could point out that the zombie bandwagon is so overloaded that its wheels are on the verge of collapsing under the sheer weight of zombie related product on the market. However, the simple fact of the matter is that I enjoyed the heck out of this issue, as Mark Millar looks to be having a grand old time playing with a seriously screwed up Marvel Universe, and he's raised the stakes to such a dire level that one can't help but question how he is planning on resolving this crisis in the single issue he's left himself. The idea of a zombified Marvel Universe isn't exactly a high concept, but it certainly makes for an entertaining one, as how can one's inner fanboy not do a little happy dance when the Hulk smashes his way into the book, while proclaiming himself the hungriest one there is? However, the real impact moment of this issue is Magneto's big arrival scene, as this is one of the coolest moments the character has ever received outside of the ball bearings escape that he made in the last X-Men film. I also rather enjoyed the little moment where Magneto appreciates the irony that he's humanity's last hope, and the revelation that the Marvel Universe turned into this utter hellhole over the span of three days certainly gave the final page considerable impact. Part of me is also looking forward to the aftermath of this story, as even though they've been around for 30+ years I don't think any writer has really considered that Reed's desire to push the big red button in the name of scientific progress might actually be a fatal character flaw. In fact, now that I think about it half the dangers that threaten the universe in the Fantastic Four are ones that Reed and company have discovered while they were out having their grand adventures. Plus, it certainly doesn't help that this fiasco falls right on the heels of Reed being warned to cool his jets when it came to his more risky experiments.
Any doubts that I had about Greg Land's new style went completely out the window when I hit this issue's absolutely gorgeous double-page spread. That has to be one of the best visual introductions that a character has ever received, and this is doubly impressive when one considers that character in question doesn't even show up until after this attack has ended. In fact, this issue is full of lovely visual moments, from the chaos where Reed works to escape his evil counterpart, to the wonderful moment where readers discover that Spider-Man is one of the infected. The panel where the Hulk smashes has way into the comic is also an amazing piece of art, and while the last page is essentially a repeat performance of the final shot of the previous issue, how can one not love the sheer evil that is projected by this closing image? Plus how can one not love how the art completely got into the spirit of Mark Millar's idea of a zombified Marvel Universe, as the various close-up shots of various infected heroes perfectly sell the sorry state of this reality, with my personal favourite shot being the panel where Hercules gives Reed a closer look.
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