Current Reviews


Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #18

Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2006
By: Ray Tate

Writer: Zeb Wells
Artists: Kano & Alvaro Lopez, Lee Louridge(c)
Publisher: Marvel

This is a surprisingly moving issue of Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four. In between the emotions being played out through the panels, Zeb Wells, Kano, Lopez and Lee Louridge entertain the reader with a kind of what if tale slapped in between the touchpoints of the story.

The book opens with one of my favorite FF loser villains--Paste Pot Pete, a.k.a. the Trapster--on a felony binge. The FF find a fun, smart and fitting way to deal with the costumed nitwit, but the end result sends Sue Storm into a deep funk. Sue's mood change also gibes with the Jessica Alba incarnation's personality.

While in this emotionally vulnerable state, Sue becomes seduced by the SHIELD spy life. The presence of SHIELD allows Wells to characterize Nick Fury as a much more open figure. One of the things that distinguished Nick Fury from other secret agents is that though he was in charge of a top-secret organization, he was on the whole a pretty unsecretive sort. He didn't work under a need-to-know policy. He was only for instance too happy to inform Spider-Man on some particulars of a case and also didn't see any issue with signing his name to a document that helped Spider-Woman obtain her private eye license.

Nick recruits Sue into the spygame. He doesn't keep her in the dark, and as a result the reader enjoys at times invisible Alias action under the impressive sensibilities of Kano and Lopez. The moment where Sue meets the Ferret is particularly laugh out loud funny, and I imagined his voice to be that of Jon Levitz rather than Donald Pleasance, my favorite of the Blofelds.

Sue packs in numerous spy stints during FF downtimes, and eventually Fury makes her an offer than forces her to make a decision. A scene that occurs early in the book and provides a reader with a red herring influences the decision. It's nice to see the heroes so supportive of each other. Kano, Lopez and Louridge create a penultimate scene in which the reader can't help but smile, and they top it with a beautifully illustrated splash page at the end.

Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four continues its trend of being better than the original title. As to the Guiding Light crossover, I didn't read it. Sorry. Its inclusion doesn't alter the price of the book. It's an unnecessary addition but at least not costly.

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