The Unmitigated Radness of Walt Simonson's Fantastic Four
Last night, I mentioned that I didn't quite get everything done that I wanted to during my break from the ISB, but one of the things I did manage do was finally finish reading a run I've been working on for almost a year: Walt Simonson's Fantastic Four.
It is, in a word, awesome.
With less than twenty issues--and the occasional Danny Fingeroth or Len Kaminski fill-in--it's significantly shorter than Simonson's classic run on Thor (or as we know it around here, the pinnacle of comic book achievement), but what it lacks in length it makes up for in sheer over-the-top fun.
The whole shebang kicks off during Acts of Vengeance, but since every halfway decent Marvel villain was busy getting beaten to death with a stick by Daredevil or something, Reed and company get stuck with what you could charitably call the "lesser" strata of villainy. And honestly, the Beetle and the Shocker might give Spider-Man a good fight every now and then, but when you've got a standing Tuesday afternoon appointment to keep Annihilus from destroying the galaxy, they're not much more than a speed bump on the way to breakfast.
And as a special bonus, the whole thing takes place during a congressional hearing where Reed Richards testifies against the formation of a National Super-Hero Registration Act. So there's that.
Anyway, once that's all taken care of, things pretty much go back to normal. And by "normal," I mean that the FF utilize Reed's Radical Dodecahedron (last seen 286 issues before as the Radical Cube) to travel through time to stop the universe from being destroyed twenty years in the future, which involves hopping on a rocket sled and, in one of the most unbelieveably face-rocking moments in Marvel history, hooking Thor's hammer up to Iron Man's armor and blasting their way out of a Black Hole created by a mind-controlled Galactus. And really, that's what Marvel comics are all about.
At this point, you may well be asking yourself just who could possibly put a hoodoo on Galactus so powerful that his ever-present hunger drives him to eat the universe. The answer, of course, is this guy:
THE BLACK CELESTIAL!
Because apparently, "The Evil Blue and Gold Celestial" was already taken. Anyway, there's pretty much only one way to deal with a problem like that in the world of Walt Simonson comics, and it all pretty much boils down to this:
And that's only halfway through the run.
So how does Simonson follow up a battle with the Black Celestial and a hunger-mad Galactus with the fate of the entire universe hanging in the balance?
Prepare yourself for intense freaking out, and don't say I didn't warn you:
They go to an alternate universe where President Dan Quayle is about to unleash nuclear war on a Soviet Union led by an immortal thirty-foot tall genocidal half-robot Josef Stalin manufactured by the Disney Corporation.
And after that? Dinosaurs. And after that? Walt Simonson scripts and Art Adams draws as the New Fantastic Four--Spider-Man, Wolverine, the Hulk, and Ghost Rider--take on monsters, the Mole Man, and a shipload of Skrulls in a story that not only parodies sales-pumping guest stars, but redefines the term "all-out action."
Trust me: If you've been living without them, you haven't really been living.
"Welcome to the Soviet Union, Mr. Fantastic! As the most dangerous, you shall be the first to die!"
Bonus points if you say it to your boss.