Monday, December 31, 2012

"The End" Week: Two sort-of kinda but not really ends from Mighty Marvel!

Last year, I could've done a full "The End" week on the last issues created before the DC 52 relaunch; and this year I could've done much the same for Marvel pre-Marvel Now! We are going to glance at a couple "last issues" that are only last issues in name--of course they're being relaunched--but are an ending: both end long runs from popular writers: Ed Brubaker, ending his 100+ issues of Captain America with ...Captain America #19 (Thanks, Marvel numbering!) and Jonathan Hickman wrapping his Fantastic Four tenure with Fantastic Four #611.
We'll start with the better of the two, the Cap issue. I read Brubaker's Cap run for a long time, but I think I fell off around Reborn; but this is a good capper and a good single issue. At a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. hospital, Steve Rogers visits the injured William Burnside, a.k.a. the Captain America from the 1950's. Steve tells his life story to William, since he knows William knew the myth of Captain America, but perhaps not the sad facts. Steve had just wanted to do the right thing, which snowballed into him becoming a national symbol, and he couldn't let the people down. Steve knows the mission will never end; and if he isn't Cap, someone else would have to be. It's a melancholy end, but a great finish to a great run.
On the other hand, I had only been reading Hickman's Fantastic Four sporadically, and hadn't read FF...and this issue seems more like FF, since it's mostly about Valeria Richards. And Dr. Doom. Previously, the multiversal Council of Reed Richards had lobotomized most of their universes Dr. Dooms; but our world's Doom got his hand on another universe's Infinity Gauntlet. Taking that blank canvas of a universe as his own, Doom creates his own, in his own image. Unfortunately, Doom's kind of a bastard. (And sadly, even Doom knows it.) The future Valeria, Reed, and Nathaniel Richards rescue Doom, who may or may not have learned anything.

This is continued in the last issue of FF; but it didn't really do much for me. I get tired of Franklin being used as deus ex machina, and Valeria appears to be following in her brother's footsteps; only perhaps a bit more manipulative. And then I don't see the point of a redemption storyarc for Doctor friggin' Doom: not only will some later writer inevitably turn him back into a card-carrying villain, but it's a redemption storyarc for someone who killed an old girlfriend and wore her skin as armor. Yeah, I don't really see coming back from that.

Still, this doesn't mean I didn't like all of Hickman's run; just not as good of a closer as Brubaker's.

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