Fantastic Four #536


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Fantastic Four #536


  • Words: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Art: Mike McKone
  • Inks: Andy Lanning, Kev Walker, Cam Smith, & Kris Justice
  • Colors: Paul Monts
  • Story Title: The Hammer Falls
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 29, 2006

The Road to Civil War hits the Fantastic Four along with Thor’s Hammer Mjoljnir. But does his hammer necessarily signal his return, or someone else’s?

Reed Richards is used to going from crazy situation to crazy situation. Yet now he finds himself pulled in more directions than even he’s used to, for as he returns from the meeting detailed in the New Avengers: Illuminati Special, a call comes through on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s super secret line to the Baxter Building. Seems there is a battle raging in Oklahoma, as the government has failed to keep a certain item’s location secret for more than six months and they need the FF to come help them. Not knowing what to expect they find themselves running into a lot of long unseen people from their past or at least the remnants of them.

We are firmly planted on the road to Civil War and this book has that in full display. Meanwhile, on the interior, it seems as if the only reason the book even has any connection to Civil War is to sell more copies of New Avengers: Illuminati. (Oddly enough though, there is a segment from that book put in here and they somehow forgot to put in Reed’s best line of the book that would have tied in here.) Other than that short portion in the beginning though, there are no other discernable ties to Civil War, which is good for people that wanted to stay away from the upcoming event because it means they won’t miss what turns into a pretty good superhero book.

It didn’t take J.M.S. long to get a good feel for the stars of this book and his quality work continues. From Reed’s scientist-like discussion to Ben’s overlying humor, his dialogue (aside from a cheesy line or two like "FLAME OFF!") is perfect. He’s even got the relationships going just like everyone thinks they should be and has managed to already put the FF through some fun little adventures. It all continues here as he gets to reach out into the Marvel Universe and play with some figures that haven’t been seen in some time that the fans have been very curious about. And wisely he leaves enough things unanswered to keep us all very curiously awaiting the next issue.

Recently some of my biggest complaints about Marvel books have been their "look." It felt like they were moving farther and farther away from the look of a more classic superhero book as they brought in more and more artists who worked different styles. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with varying art styles, perhaps I’m just something of a traditionalist in that I like my superhero books to look like, well, superhero books. So for me, the work on this book was (hopefully) a sign of things to come. Mike McKone’s work is clear and energetic. His action scenes are vibrant; character designs are fluid; and his large scenes are sights to behold. Best of all, the colors have moved from muted and dark to bright and bursting from the page.

It makes sense for Marvel’s flagship team to be involved with their newest big event; thankfully this issue makes me believe that they won’t stop having great stories because of it.

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