Current Reviews


Fantastic Four #536

Posted: Monday, April 3, 2006
By: Shawn Hill

ďThe Hammer FallsĒ

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Mike McKone (p), various inkers

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: Another unidentified falling object hits Earth six months ago. Marvel is over-reliant on those these days to spark stories. By the time Reed hears about it Doom-bots want it too. What oh what could it be?

Comments: Unforgivably slow placeholder issue. Rather than telling Sue what went on in Illuminati (ďno wivesĒ), Reed flashes back to a full page lifted from that miserable comic. Whatís the point of this? If we cared, we already bought Illuminati. If we donít, this unwelcome incursion is both annoying and lazy.

Either way, itís got nothing to do with the Fantastic Four, and the big reveal (ridiculously exposed on the cover of the issue and then saved again for the last page) seems an odd choice for their title too. Are the main characters really so dull that guest stars are the only way to go to keep our interest? Is this the Will and Grace of comic books?

The other avenue, of course, is marital strife. Iím not looking forward to that, either. My FF reading these days is likely to be First Family instead after this disappointing hodge-podge of an issue. That series looks like itís at least about the Four.

On the bright side: There is one factor that hints the issue might be an aberration, JMS momentarily catching the Bendis-bug of trying to stretch one insufficient story out over several books when even one is overkill. Doom wants the object; gaining the object is a test. Presumably the object has reappeared for a reason. All of those could lead to stories, the kind of thing this issue lacks. But this is not foreshadowing; these are optimistic deductions.

Final score: McKone is still a good choice of artist, both for his action sequences and his way with the characters. And I love the Fantasti-Car, always have. But the art was good on Illuminati, too.

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