Current Reviews


Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #2

Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011
By: Ray Tate

Brandon Montclare
Ryan Bodenheim, Simon Bisley, Ray-Anthony Height & Don Ho
I last saw the Frankenstein Monster in the original run of Marvel Team-Up. Frankencastle appeared to displace him. In this issue of Fearsome Four, the Frankenstein's Monster relates how he got involved in the hunt for Man-Thing and where he has been since, the seventies.

Montclare comes up with a smart answer to the question, and it does tie into Fear Itself, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your opinion of Marvel's latest. Fortunately, for those who don't care, myself included, the answer is awash in continuity from one of Marvel's oldest Silver Age titles. That title also feeds to the startling finale that earns Fearsome Four it's third bullet. Howard's right: "No one could've seen that comin'."

That's the good. As to the bad, well....Simon Bisley is a fantastic painter. His Batman/Judge Dredd will stand the test of time as an example of the finest Batman and Judge Dredd art in the history of both characters, and wowsers, did he make Judge Anderson sexy! As a penciler/inker, Bisely's illustration is scratchy, unattractive and often confusing. Having the characters morph into alternate versions of themselves helps nobody.

Stronger art can be found in the Frankenstein Monster's flashback, and Ryan Bodenheim contributes excellent scenes of straighter super heroics. His depiction of the defacto Defenders' battle against the mystery villain is the best part of the book.

Setting aside the art for a moment, Montclare uses Nighthawk's off kilter personality to create friction that wasn't necessary. As much as I like the return of Nighthawk's edginess, he is still an experienced superhero, and he should be a lot smarter than demonstrated here.

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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