Thursday, August 5, 2004

Ultimate Fantastic Four #9 - A Review

Written by: Warren Ellis
Penciled by: Stuart Immonen
Inked by: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Warren Ellis is famous for his outspoken views. Among these - and I am paraphrasing because there is no way I could ever get away with quoting the full passage from his manifesto in a family publication like this -is that superhero comics are a fungus, smothering the non-superhero comics in the industry. Well, I can’t speak for every superhero book on the market but judging by the way Mr. Ellis writes a superhero book, he’s spot on about some books sucking the life out of the genre.

Ellis took over this title two issues ago and is taking over Iron Man in a few months, despite announcement of an apparently premature retirement from comic book writing. Perhaps he realized that while there is a good deal of prestige in complaining about how horrible things are to an army of drooling sycophants on your blog, there is very little money in it. Or maybe this is all part of some cunning plan to bring The House of Ideas collapsing down like The House of Usher?

Either way, unless he is purposely trying to write some crude parody of the Fantastic Four as a joke, this book is as empty and pointless as the books Ellis has built a career on scorning. Signs of the old master who wrote Transmetroplitan are still here, such as the techno-babble Reed Richards effortlessly rattles off or the scene some issues before where the exact sciences governing the insides of a man who can stretch every cell of his body are discussed. And then we get the clumsy and disgustingly childish moments, such as a discussion about how Ben Grimm goes to the bathroom. Sadly for Brodie Bruce, we do not get an answer on if The Thing still has a thing.

At least the art is nice, with Immonen and Von Grawbadger doing the Fantastic Four justice visually. The various effects of super powers are well displayed and the image of thousands of robotic metal insects actually DOES look like thousands of insects instead of just a bunch of dots. Still, their work does seem like putting a fresh coat of paint on a car on cinderblocks: it looks nice, but it still doesn’t run.

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