Monday, May 28, 2012

When you come up with a title like "Doom, Where's my Car?" half your job is done already.

I think a lot of comic shops didn't stock many of the all-ages Marvel Adventures books. That was probably partly because of the stigma of the all-ages label; and I think Marvel's prior kid-friendly offerings had been dumbed down too much. Still, I've read a number of them, many reprinted for Target stores and sold on the cheap; but a few I picked up primarily on the strength of crazy Silver-Age style covers. Marvel Adventures Spider-Man had some good ones; Marvel Adventures Avengers had one great one; but today we check out a Fantastic Four one! From 2006, Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #12, "Doom, Where's My Car?" Written by Jeff Parker, pencils by Juan Santacruz, inks by Raul Fernandez.
When Ben and Johnny are putting some stuff in the basement of the Baxter Building, Johnny finds an old classic car. Ben recognizes it as Reed's from college, and Johnny decides it must be his. He 'asks' Reed for it, by yelling at him as he flies by while Reed's neck-deep in an experiment. While working on it, Johnny notices "all kinds of high-tech machinery in places," and assumes Reed must've modified it himself. For good measure, Johnny also explains why someone who can fly needs a car anyway: dates, for one.

After weeks of "playing Monster Garage," as Sue puts it; Johnny unveils his newly painted ride. Reed immediately recognizes it, and after a bit of arguing, lets Johnny have it, with a warning that the car has a history. Later, when the team gets called to fight the Rhino and the Sandman, Johnny takes his car, and finds it's more tricked-out than he expected, with flight and a force-field. It's surprisingly effective:

Still, while Johnny's having a ton of fun, someone else takes an interest in his ride. Yoink!
Sue and Ben laugh at Johnny's story of Doom stealing his car, so the next day Johnny decides to fly to Latveria. The rest of the team catch up to him later with the Fantasticar, since Johnny was off-course and on his way to the North Pole. Reed explains he never told Johnny who sold him the car...

Meanwhile, in Latveria, it's their biggest national holiday: Dr. Doom's birthday! Sadly, Parker doesn't give us a date. It's a mandatory party, but the people seem to be enjoying themselves a little, since they don't have any choice, and there is cake. The inventors and toymakers of Latveria present Doom with several giant robots; and a disguised Reed presents automaton "toys" of Ben and Johnny. Another inventor presents the recovered, and restored car, which he stole from Johnny with the help of a refurbished Doombot. Doom is suitably touched, since he built it to fly him to college in the states. Reed is relieved to find it wasn't taken for some sinister purpose or hidden weapon; but Johnny's not having that.

As a fight with Doom's presents breaks out, and Johnny and Doom squabble, Reed points out it was his car: he traded Doom an anti-matter regulator for it, so he could have wheels to take Susan out. (Susan is thrilled, but...wasn't she like twelve when Reed was in college? I'm probably wrong. Hopefully.) Doom has to admit, that sounds like something he'd say, but it's here now, so it's his. Finally, Ben does his best King Solomon impression, and rips the car in half, which has to be immensely satisfying. As the FF heads home, and Doom's anti-aircraft batteries open up, Reed reminds Johnny: "You don't own your possessions, your possessions own you." I'd say that's a good moral, or I would if I didn't have a home full of comics, toys, and nonsense. Like Johnny, and Doom, I learned nothing. Hmm.


Dale Bagwell said...

Brother that last line is soooooo damn true, it's not even funny! Well maybe it would be if it wasn't so sad too!

Good story as a bonus. Parker can write 'em when he wants too.

The Amazing Spider-Wes said...

I absolutely LOVED the Marvel Adventures line, and loved this comic when it came out. They were fun and interesting without being too bogged down in melodrama. They were romps first and foremost!