Current Reviews


Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1

Posted: Monday, September 26, 2005
By: Shawn Hill


Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Jae Lee

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: Johnny gets sideswiped by another teenage hottie, only this time she and her weirdo family are more than capable of swiping back.

Sexism watch: There was some minor controversy on the Internet a few months back when the cover art for this issue was released. Concern over the belly-baring effrontery of Ultimate Teenage Crystal. I hope those readers are assuaged now that we know the story behind the picture: Millar’s come up with an Inhuman Paris Hilton, complete with annoying puppy and endless air of entitlement.

Comments: It’s a slight story, really just an excuse to introduce the Ultimate Inhumans, but Millar does a creditable job of updating the concept for the 21st century. In fact, the change (though few and subtle) are almost always appealing. Gorgon is now a badass Amazon, and her sister Medusa literally has a head of snakes. Mythological mixups aside, the Royal Family are otherwise intact, with a more wizened Karnak and Triton completing the set. Attilan is, as usual, intent on remaining aloof from humanity, and Crystal is a young rebel hampered by her societies many strictures. This time it’s not for fear of physical pollution so much as xenophobia. She’s not, however, as lovelorn or otherwise as conflicted as the mainstream version, and thus is a pretty reasonable foil for this teen FF.

Even better, Lee is on board to recapture some of the stylish and quasi-Gothic flair he brought to the definitive recent Inhumans series he produced with Paul Jenkins. Here he gets to set the tone for the Ultimate Inhumans as well. While this is only a cursory introduction, one imagines encore visits are in store. As it is, Millar and Lee have captured what was cool about the Inhumans concept under Lee/Kirby, something most other creators have failed at in moving them around from Atlantis to the Moon amidst recurrent attempts by their Kree forbears to harvest them. This is a great looking book with a diverting but non-crucial story, augmented by spot-on characterization and clever dialogue.

What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!