Overview

Fantastic Four #542

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Fantastic Four #542

Credits

  • Words: Dwayne McDuffie
  • Art: Mike McKone
  • Inks: Andy Lanning & Cam Smith
  • Colors: VC?s Rus Wooton
  • Story Title: We Used to go to Hyperspace Just for Donuts
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 17, 2007

First there was civil war, then Sue and Johnny joined with Cap, and Ben became an expatriate. Now we see why it all happened.

In this mostly action-free issue, Marvel’s First Family falls apart a little more. Johnny Storm and Reed Richards having a cup of coffee together shouldn’t be strange, but in this post-civil war era Marvel Universe, it is. This interaction, at the beginning, in issue #542 is stilted and filled with anxiety. Later on when the Mad Thinker validates, in a way only the Mad Thinker can, Reed’s ideas, we see Sue’s reaction and take a deep breath, not knowing who to feel sad for. And when Johnny and Ben have a quick conversation with no quips, jibes, or gripes the end is in sight.

Dwayne McDuffie, a man whose writing credits are numerous, acclaimed, and, quite frankly, awesome, has taken over the reigns of Fantastic Four at a pretty bad time. Nonetheless, he weaves his way through the mess that is Civil War and posits a jaded, broken team in the mix of something the author might consider "silly" (see a certain column at www.slushfactory.com about St. Elsewhere). Furthermore, he does it with ease. He seems to naturally know how each individual character would react to this situation: Sue with her heart, Reed with his brain, Johnny with his mouth, and Ben with his gut.

Mike McKone’s pencils only add to the great characterization currently running through this book. His strokes are fluid; his paneling is precise. No line is wasted, every inch of shading seems thought out clearly, even modeled. His backgrounds, which are as simple as his character work, flows with the story, letting the readers know that it is there, but in this instance, with this particular tale, the locations hardly matter as much as the people.

This is probably why McDuffie and McKone are so impressive together. They have taken away the bigger-than-life threats and awe-inspiring locals, and focused on the tragic disintegration of the family. They have done it with grim respect, trying to answer fans’ questions of why. Why is Reed acting out of character? Why did Ben just leave? What is going on?

Will you like the answers to those questions? I can’t say. I did, I do. In fact, after reading this issue I only have two concerns. As of yet we haven’t seen how the children are getting through Civil War, and there is that matter a few issues back involving a certain hammer and a certain doctor that I don’t believe has been addressed yet . . .

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