Monday, June 30, 2003

Fantastic Four #70 / #499 - A Review

Written by: Mark Waid
Penciled by: Mike Wieringo
Inked by: Lary Stucker
Colored by: Paul Mounts
Lettered by: Rus Wooton
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Mark Waid made headlines on all the comic news sites earlier last week when he announced that he had been fired from writing Fantastic Four, in favor of a new direction to be written by Marvel President Bill Jemas himself. Marvel Editorial immediately sent out their own announcement, claiming that Jemas was not going to be writing Fantastic Four and that the “wacky inventor with super-villain” concept Waid said they wanted was actually going to be used for another title.

Now, I’m not going to take sides on this argument one way or the other. It’s impossible for me, the common shlub on the street, to know who said what or what was planned and what may have been changed at the last minute to make whoever look good. But there is one thing I do know after having ready this, the penultimate chapter of Mark Waid’s “Unthinkable” story arc. And that one thing is this; we must do whatever we can to keep Mr. Waid on this title!

Honestly, the only reason I ever picked up this book in the first place was because of Mark Waid. I’ve been a fan of his work since his original run on “The Flash”. I followed him through “JLA”, read every mini-series he ever penned (including the classics “JLA: Year One” and “Kingdom Come”) and stopped reading Ruse when the title wound up in the less-capable hands of Scott Beatty.

I know that I am far from alone in this, being one of many Mark Waid fans in my circle of comic-reading friends. I know that the sales on this book have gone up at my personal shop since Waid took over the title. And as I recall correctly, the Title’s spot on the Diamond Top 300 list has been going up steadily the past few months as word of mouth over “Unthinkable” has spread.

Do I credit Mark Waid’s writing for this rise in the book’s popularity? Well, he does have a huge fan following and has brought back a sense of surprise the title lacked before. But Waid hasn’t done it alone. The title is served just as well by its’ art team. Mike Wieringo’s pencils have never looked better, even when he and Waid did “The Flash” back in the day.

You may have noticed, readers, that I haven’t said much about the story of the book itself. This is an intentional act on my part, as I am so confident that you… yes, YOU… will like this book, I can trust the book to sell itself when you hold it in your hot little hands in the store. That, and all those who miss this issue and the exciting conclusion in Fantastic Four #500 next month shall suffer the wrath of Doom! And you wouldn’t want that now, would you?

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