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Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #20

Posted: Saturday, January 20, 2007
By: Ray Tate



“Freezer Burn!”

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

Zeb Wells' latest issue of Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four is more of a duet between the Human Torch and wandering X-Men Ice Man. Ben, Reed and Sue only contribute amusing cameo spots.

With Sue's cameo, Wells sets up the slaphappy scene that quickly escorts the Torch and Ice Man to the Miss Teeny Teen Pageant, situated in Las Vegas of course. Unfortunately for the hot and cold heroes, the military imprisoned a Big Bad in Nevada. The Torch, Ice Man, and the villain d'jour all want the girls, for different reasons. Sparks fly.

The Torch and Ice Man as expected do not get along. Their conflicts though aren't as funny as they should be. Wells makes up for the weak humor with a scene depicting the heroes arriving at points of self-realization.

Wells in the story at first tends to degrade pageants and their contestants. He makes the Teeny Teens seem cow-stupid. However, he wisely engages the intelligence of the former Teeny Queen and head of this year's pageant. She comes up with a plan using a solid scientific basis, and we discover that it was the pageant's education-oriented prize that shaped her into the smart, poised individual she is. So nice to see a woman in comics that has a science degree.

Kano and Lopez's artwork further tones down the obvious conclusion as to the way the women are portrayed. The Teeny Teens act vapid, but the artists make them look youthfully cute. They give them a variety of body shapes and facial characteristics. They're not a succession of Paris Hilton knock-offs. The artists show the women mooning over The Torch and Ice Man in the same way that generations of women, regardless of their intellects, fell at the feet of Elvis or the Beatles. The end result isn't a flock of buxom sheep but rather a group of different, young women that have boys on the mind and have yet to experience the pleasures associated in the acquisition of knowledge. The story's female hero suggests that they will.



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