Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Second Cousin of Skullduggery Week: Things what are funny circa 2002 that would get you stabbed now.

I'm not sure when I'm going to post this, but the cold medicine is making me a little sleepy-headed. So, time for a little writing to keep myself awake at work, although my cubicle seems to be swaying slightly, like the camera in an episode of Farscape. Well, that happens a lot, so oh well.

Fortunately, we have a thriller of an issue here today, as the splash page proudly proclaims...if I hadn't cut it off on the scan. Well, it's so exciting, it speaks for itself:
Snoring and slacking, but in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
Ah, but who would guess from such a humble beginning, more Skrull hijinks would ensue?

Sue had just returned from the store, with bags full of odd items like fireplace logs, oysters, and Hostess-style fruit pies; when her cell wakes up Ben. Not the weirdest thing Ben's blurted out while waking up. Really.As she talks to Janet van Dyne, aka the Wasp; Ben and Johnny argue about who gets the TV remote, escalating into the outright destruction of the entire TV room. Wisely for a little kid, Franklin meekly says, "I'm...I'm going to my room now," and leaves to avoid his mom's wrath. Or maybe he's in shock over nearly being crushed and/or burned to death in his own home. His Vision figure appears to be under a couple hundred pounds of wreckage, good luck finding another one, kid.

Ben and Johnny are more in trouble for waking up new baby Valeria, but also decide to bail out. Reed absentmindedly strolls in, mentioning a modified Fantasticar and an errand to a warehouse; and Ben and Johnny offer to do it so they can get the hell out of Dodge. You know, for most people, this wouldn't really work, since the room would still be demolished when they come back, but for the Fantastic Four, well, maybe.

On the flight over, Ben and Johnny argue about whose fault this mess was, why Ben spends so much time as the Thing when he can change back, and why doesn't Johnny spend more time with his current girlfriend Namorita. Their argument isn't as "I'm going to physically murder you," as they used to be, but it's a step or two above playful banter too; so it's a lot like an actual family.

Finding the warehouse closed, the two have only a moment to wonder what else could go wrong, before a Skrull steals their car. Not a dream, not a hoax, not a Marvel Adventures story!
Does his hat have...handlebars, or is that an unwise design choice?
Thank you, Karl Kesel.

The Grand Acquisitioner calls for "Short-range teleportation" and easily ditches Ben and Johnny, who are left scratching their heads as to how he was able to bypass Reed's security system. Since the Acquisitioner mentioned "Sector 1-C" and ferric oxide, Ben jumps to the conclusion that he's at a junkyard on Yancy Street.

Days without accident:  0.Johnny perfectly reasonably calls B.S. but Ben's right. While the Acquistioner keeps teleporting away, the two step on each other's toes a bit, such as when Johnny blows up a Ben's face.

The Torch feels like a bit of a disaster, and while he agrees, Ben points out that while "Reed's smart and Suzie's sharp, but only you and me know--really know--how easy it'd be for us to take out a city block without half tryin'." They acknowledge that's part of the reason they wrassle around so much: Ben and Johnny have to be completely careful with everyone else, but they can test each other and know they can take it. (Maybe. I can see how Johnny hasn't burned the Thing's face off yet, but how Ben hasn't broken Johnny's spine I'm not sure.) Well, that and they completely annoy each other.

Then, a booming off-panel voice tells Johnny and Ben that they've done more good than harm for everyone, and a giant-sized Acquistioner gives them back the Fantasticar. Still suspecting a trick and wondering how he was able to get so big, they prepare to kick Skrull ass on general principle, when the "Grand Acquistioner" reveals his true identity to be Yellowjacket!
This still seems like an asskicking is immenient.
Hank Pym takes Ben and Johnny back to Avengers Mansion, where Franklin has been hanging out and watching the fight on Ant-Cam...even though said camera is on a hornet, but that would seem to be the way to get better angles. Reed and Sue were in on the set-up: Yellowjacket had the Fantasticar treated with Pym Particles, so he could make it seem to be teleported away by shrinking it. He also mentions, "if you guys had decided I was hiding at the local pizza joint, that's where I would have been!" The Wasp had been babysitting the kids (although she feels like she missed out on the fun, and wants in next time) and explains Reed and Sue had a special anniversary.

Back at Reed's lab, he and Sue are having a romantic, Reed-cooked dinner, to celebrate 256 months since he first saw Sue: four to the fourth power. Super-geeky, but still sweet. Possibly less sweet is his admission that fruit pies and Sue are his two great weaknesses; boy, I could see that being taken wrong. Since their first meeting was a little over 21 years ago, you have to remember Reed's a bit older than Sue, and she was pretty young when they met. I was going to say ick, but I'm a bit older than my wife, and every once in a while she'll point out that she was playing with My Pretty Pony while I was drinking my body weight in college. Yeah, ick.

This was another charming, fun, and sharp Karl Kesel FF fill-in, this time I think he was the interim writer between Loeb/Pachelo and the Waid/Wieringo runs. (Adam Warren did a couple in there as well.) If Millar and Hitch are going to be taking over the book, Marvel could do worse than to get a couple of Kesel issues ready and keep the book on a monthly schedule. Why do I say these things that I know damn well won't happen? Rrr. Anyhow, Fantastic Four #55/484, "An Evening Out!" Written and inked by Karl Kesel, pencils by Stuart Immonen.

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