Monday, December 22, 2003

Fantasic Four #508

Written by: Mark Waid
Penciled by: Howard Porter
Inked by: Norm Rapmund
Cover by: Tony Harris & Tom Feister
Colored by: Avakib Styduis
Lettered by: Russ Wooton
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics


That is all I can say about this comic. At the very least, that is all I can say about the details of it.

That leaves me only the circumstances leading up to this book to discuss. Thankfully, this is as full and fantastic a topic as the story itself.

This was meant to be the last issue of Fantastic Four that Mark Waid would write, before an eleventh hour renouncement of the editorial decision that would have removed him from the book. Whether it was the result of fan outrage, media criticism or someone actually looking at the sales numbers since Waid took over the book and realizing that the book was doing a lot better than before Issue 60, cannot be said. What can be said, however, is that we are all damn lucky and there should be much rejoicing in comic shops around the world.

The seeds for this having been a last issue are all there, despite the story ending on a cliffhanger that holds the fate of the entire team and two lives in particular in the balance. Everything is changed in an instant, with things in a state of stability, if not calmness. And again, I must give thanks that despite all the complications that it will be Mark Waid who will be writing the solutions to the problems raises in this issue rather than anyone else. I am on the edge of my seat wondering how this will be resolved and find myself uncharacteristically dumbfounded as to ideas as to just HOW this corner will be written out of.

The art is equally wow-derful. Porter does some of his best work ever here, with all the exaggerated distortions common to his JLA work gone. Still, when exaggerations are necessary such as in depicting The Thing or in the scarred half-face of Mr. Fantastic, Porter is able to stretch (no pun intended) the boundaries of realistic artwork. Tony Harris does an excellent job on the cover and I have to wonder why, with all the covers he has been doing for Marvel of late (He also recently did the covers for Amazing Spider-Man and Kingpin), that nobody has assigned him to a title? I can only assume that he wishes to remain a free agent or that Marvel is showing the same judgment that made them think of dropping Waid from this title.
And that will, I promise, be the last word from me on the subject of Waid and Marvel’s firing. Promise.

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