Friday, September 05, 2014

I'm not sure the title ever comes into play, but OK.

All this week and next, I'm getting up at four to go to work at five--something I used to do regularly, but am now woefully out of practice for. But, I did have a little time to read Dave Stern's Fantastic Four: The Baxter Effect. It's billed as an FF novel, but as you might guess from the cover, it's primarily a Thing story; and it features a mildly underused FF villain I like, the Mad Thinker!

When Reed unveils a new "quantum computer," a low-level magician villain warns the Thing not to turn it on, lest "the strands come apart." (The magician, Diehl, is described as formerly using the alias Black Hand or Hoodoo Guru, and got beat by Dazzler once: I searched briefly, but I don't think he appeared in her comic!) Ben isn't sure what to make of that warning, but the Mad Thinker makes a grab for the "Q-Ray." And gets it! Or rather, creates an alternate universe where Ben is the human-looking "Mr. Invulnerable" and married to Alicia with two kids, Sue and Johnny aren't on the team, a new guy is the Human Torch, and the fourth member of the Fantastic Four is the Thinker himself!

It's not a perfect novel--another FF villain, or a version of him, turns up late; as does a magical macguffin planted early; but it's pretty good. Ben struggles when he realizes what he's inevitably going to have to go back to, and I do kind of like the Thinker. I never thought of him as "evil," but just a guy who gets an idea and says "Yeah, I'm doing this." He had a surprisingly fun turnout in New Warriors #3, of all places; and now I want to dig out a 70's issue where the Thinker thinks he's got the numbers all crunched so he can walk right into the Baxter Building--except there's more than a few unaccounted for variables and the math's gone all pear-shaped on him. He pretty much turns around and goes home in that one.

All right, I'd best get cracking on some stuff this weekend, then!

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