Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I never did participate in First Comic Week. I wrote a silly rambling entry that I never typed, much less posted. It's too early for that kind of nostalgia. But today? Well, I'll get to my normal little blurb reviews in a few days, (after I've read the rest of my week's pile), but Four #30 warrants some special attention. (There are spoilers a few paragraphs down, though nothing earth-shattering.)

My first real foray into the fantastical comic-book world of capes and cowls was the first trade paperback of Ultimate Fantastic Four. It was Book of the Month at my LCS around the time the movie came out. I'd been planning to see the movie, but gave in to that "read the book before seeing the film" curiousity. And I was hooked. That's what really drew me into this whole genre.

But if Ultimate Fantastic Four was Sue's ill-advised jab at Ben's fragile male ego, Marvel Knights 4 was the Pocket Rocket that launched me into the world of the Superhero. Specifically, it was #21, a stand-alone that focuses on Sue's relationship with Reed and features a few of Sue's close friends, one of whom is She-Hulk, a character that has quickly grown to be one of my favorites and a focus for my new comic-accumulating habit. Point is, Bendis and Millar drew me in with the first trade of the Ultimate version, but Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa kept me in with his light, family-focused take on the Earth-616 version of the Four.

Today, with the 30th issue, Four (nee Marvel Knights 4) concludes, tying up some loose ends as the team holds an Open House at the Baxter Building. (Pay no attention to the solicitation text. It does not apply.) The Inhumans make an appearance, reassuring Susan that the Inhuman children encountered earlier in the series are well. Rebellious, but well. Alicia Masters comes to the Open House, too, though her insane, "practically invalid" stepfather stays home with a lump of harmless, non-radioactive clay. Namor shows up to talk to Reed, and for once compliments Sue without shamelessly hitting on her. Dr. Strange even comes with the Salem Seven. The Poppupians do not seem to be around, though, which is probably for the best.

The book opens with Susan wondering if the public doesn't only perceive the family as a group of "action-adventure stars." Maybe their public does, but that's not all they are, and that's what this series has been about. The family. And on the family-oriented front, things are incredibly normal. Susan loves Reed. Johny plays yet another prank on Ben. Ben and Johnny squabble. Reed considers the Infinite Possibilities. It's nothing unexpected, and it's comforting.

Really, not a lot happens in this book, but it is a sweet little goodbye issue for a sweet little series. I think I'm going to miss it.

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