Monday, November 02, 2015

Comics so good, I didn't have to read Fantastic Four again for five years...


I don't usually go out of my way to pick up trade paperbacks of comics I already have, even if I love them to death; but when I had the opportunity to get this one for three bucks, yeah. Fantastic Four Epic Collection: Into the Timestream, mostly written and largely drawn by Walt Simonson.

It kind of kills me that I've posted more scans from Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four than I have from Walt Simonson's run--in fact, I think I've posted more from the FF appearing in Power Pack. This collection starts with issues I had been waiting for, for several months as Steve Englehart finished his run: the Acts of Vengeance three-parter with art by Rich Buckler and Ron Lim. The team testifies before Congress against the Superhuman Registration Act. (Putting the lie to Civil War, but we'll leave that be!) Meanwhile, a number of low-level villains have been inexplicably attacking the FF, but for what purpose?

Next, guest-stars Iron Man and Thor join the Fantastic Four (really five, as they point out more than once!) for a trip through time, which involves Galactus, the Council of Cross-time Kangs, and Nebula! With more guest-stars, Gladiator and Death's Head! Then side-trips with a world where the Cold War and animatronics make a weird intersection, then dinosaurs! Without any hyperbole, these are the best comics. Simonson's Thor run is more universally acclaimed, but his Fantastic Four books are dense and smart and often surprisingly funny and I still wish he had done a hundred more issues.

Sadly, the trade does include a mediocre fill-in issue, and the Days of Future Present, a crossover of four annuals: Fantastic Four, New Mutants, X-Factor, and X-Men. The Franklin Richards from the future (of Days of Futures Past) comes to the present, which isn't as he remembers it. Even with Walt and Louise Simonson and Chris Claremont and Art Adams! It's still a bit of a jumbled mess.

This trade doesn't have all of Simonson's FF run, but after he left, I think I only read a couple more before giving up on the title until its last issue, #416. This trade is so good, you might even consider paying full price for it!

2 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

This has the last of Englehart's run? Hmmm. You had me on Walt Simonson's collected run, but I really enjoyed Englehart's too, especially the very meta-textual Bad Dreams arc with Arron the Rogue Watcher and the FF clones. Those are fun reads on their own, but when you find out how Meta Englehart was being, using Arron as a stand-in for Marvel and how they preferred using the same stale old FF versus the actual changed and matured FF, it adds that extra enjoyment (and sadness about the comics industry) to them.

googum said...

No, I'm sorry, man: just Walt's! Back in the day, I had been waiting for his run to start for months, so I subscribed; then got a bunch of Englehart's issues. They do hold up better now...