Civil War Review

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After all these years, I have finally gotten a chance to read the famous Civil War arc. Due to the movie recently coming out, it makes sense that a lot of copies from the comic would be lying around. It certainly holds up as one of Marvel’s greatest events although you do lose a bit of the narrative by not reading any of the tie ins. I still say that big Marvel/DC events should be a little longer (10+ issues) but a lot still happens here and it is quite epic. This was back during Marvel’s prime and everyone is solidly in character although the ending is pretty iffy.

A few teenage heroes fail to stop a villain named Nitro and a school full of kids is blown up. Iron Man decides that heroes should no longer run rampant and agrees with SHIELD and the Government on the Registration Act. Heroes have to formally register and give out their secret identities if they want to continue operating. Moreover, the government will be making many more decisions when it comes to crime fighting. Captain America disagrees with this law and evades arrest by SHIELD. He gains some more sympathizers and the Civil War is now on!

Captain America’s side is definitely portrayed as the right one in this battle. The registration quickly starts to become rather extreme and SHIELD cannot be trusted. Iron Man’s side also begins to hire murdering villains as allies to round up the heroes. They even build a very morally iffy jail in the Negative Zone to contain the heroes and clone Thor. The tie ins typically chose sides as well so sometimes Captain America’s group would come across as a little iffy as well, but through it all they were the “heroes” this time.

The art is excellent and easily one of Marvel’s more impressive creations. The fight scenes are handled very well and do a good job of having a serious vibe to them while still feeling like comic book fights. It’s definitely fun to see all of the heroes on panel at once and the event does feel like a big crossover epic. I do miss some of these classic costumes like Cyclops, Captain America, and Spider-Man’s. Before the gimmicks, there were the original costumes and those are the ones that are present in Civil War.

Before going any further into the comic analysis, I can safely say that I am on Team Captain America as well. For starters, SHIELD can never be trusted. There are always Hydra agents in their ranks and as soon as this sensitive data is put on a database it will be hacked. Sharing their secret identities is very risky for the heroes families and friends. I know that Spider-Man discussed the situation with Mary Jane and Aunt May first, but it was definitely not a good decision on his part. He rectified this later on, but he has dozens of enemies and most of them would definitely wreck his life in the blink of an eye. Especially the local ones like Hammerhead and Kingpin who could easily make a move. If there was a way to make the whole process absolutely safe, then I would probably agree with Team Iron Man. Unfortunately, there isn’t and there never will be. That’s simply the nature of comic books.

Also, if you really think about it, this won’t stop a similar incident from occurring. Sure, the teen heroes wouldn’t be able to have a public livestream, but they could always do it in the sneak. Not to mention that there will always be heroes who won’t register. The only difference from now is that more heroes will be hunted like the mutants are. I’m sure the heroes wish that they could be in DC land where the heroes typically aren’t attacked quite as often. At the very least, the government seems to tolerate them.

Captain America’s a great leader as you would expect. He shows off his military tactics and does a good job of pressing the advantage on Iron Man’s team. His plan for Hulkling was also well done. As mentioned earlier, I did not agree with his final move though. Sure, there was a lot of property damage, but he basically deserted everyone who had been following him. He just left them to dry. People are going to get injured regardless and the heroes did try to evacuate the area. The humans probably just hid and decided to attack voluntarily. Just because the civilians are on Team Iron Man doesn’t mean that it is the right side. Cap ends up getting shot in a story shortly after this one so he may want to rethink the whole thing.

I do agree with his move to have Punisher leave the team though since he is a murderer. That being said, this is one of the cooler appearances from the Punisher. He took down 4 villains with ease and he played a big role in infiltrating the tower for the plans. He simply follows a more lethal methodology than Cap and isn’t going to change anytime soon. He doesn’t aim to be a hero, he just wants to destroy as many villains as possible. It’s what makes him fall to their level, but he is certainly a lot more likable than the average villain. Refusing to fight Cap was also an intense move that took character.

Iron Man is naturally not all that likable in this one. He does really try to bring Cap on his side, but there’s no way that it was going to work. Not to mention that Iron Man really tries to take charge immediately and that really defeats the chances of having a big debate about the whole thing. He comes across as rather trigger happy when Spider-Man decides to leave as well so the fight was really unavoidable. Iron Man definitely got lucky there too since he’s not quite ready to deal with Spider-Man just yet. If you were getting sympathetic to his side then no worries, SHIELD quickly steps in again and tries to destroy Spider-Man. They don’t really take prisoners at all and show a general disregard for the heroes.

Building the Thor clone was another big strike against his side. Iron Man’s not completely unreasonable though so don’t think that he is a downright bad character. He does a decent job of championing his side, but I feel like his mind is changed way too easily. All it takes is one lady spitting at him for Stark to take the whole thing seriously. I think he should be able to stay true to himself a little more strongly than that. Mr. Fantastic was fairly cool. I do consider him to be one of the more underrated Marvel characters at the moment, but he’ll change that soon enough. He can be a little inconsistent though. Despite the fact that Invisible Woman is on the other side, he does make sure that the government won’t arrest her regardless of the outcome. That’s the kind of move that I would hope to see from some of the others make, but they typically don’t have the guts.

Spider-Man looks great in this trade. This was back when people took him seriously and he’s treated like an adult hero who commands respect. He’s seen as no different from Cap, Iron Man, and the other big heroes which is as it should be. He can hold his own in a fight and certainly goes through the wringer. During the story arc he takes on about 5 fighters at once and defeats them all. He also seems to have had the edge against Cap and Iron Man as well. I was really glad to see him lose the Iron Spider armor though. It’s fine for once in a while, but I definitely prefer his traditional look. His portrayal was spot on. He made a mistake, but doesn’t hesitate to fix it.

I can’t take Namor seriously and still don’t like the guy. I don’t believe that his forces were the game changer that they were made out to be. By and large, Cap’s team was seriously outgunned though. Even by the end when the numbers were almost equal, the fighting forces were not. Iron Man’s team has the Sentry on it. Isn’t that basically game over since Thor and Hulk aren’t in the equation? Ms. Marvel is strong as well, but as far as I know she was on Tony’s side as well. If not, she could at least give Sentry a decent fight. Cap’s team was starting to have the upper hand by the end though and I won’t call plot hax on that considering just how many heroes were involved. There may have been some big shots that I am unaware of.

Maria Hill gets a pretty humiliating ending as Civil War comes to a close. She was particularly unreasonable throughout the arc so it makes sense that Iron Man should get the last laugh here. SHIELD is one of the main reasons why I couldn’t be on Iron Man’s side so it was good to see her demoted. It also looked good on Iron Man’s part since he had to notice that she was really jeopardizing the team’s chances at winning over the crowds. With her out of the way, Iron Man should be able to start making a positive difference. He may have been on the wrong side, but he can still make the best out of the situation.

There were certainly a lot of other characters involved in the story and I can safely say that they all looked rather good. I’m a little disappointed that the X-Men didn’t get involved, but it makes sense why they could not. They would join Cap’s side and then it would barely be a fight by that point since Iron Man’s side wouldn’t stand a chance. Just Cyclops and Emma Frost are intimidating enough, but the X-Men had legions of members at the time. Even if Iron Man’s side brought in every villain from the jail cells and threw in the Sentinels they wouldn’t be guaranteed of victory. They would guarantee themselves a bad rep and a lot of civilian casualties though.

Overall, Civil War was definitely a game changer for Marvel. Marvel always likes to say that each event is the biggest one yet and that it will change things. Sometimes that’s true and sometimes it isn’t, but Civil War was definitely a title that turned the tides. It made things rather rough for the heroes for quite some time. After all, the ending to this comic is pretty somber and it does start to lead into Dark Reign and Siege. Ultimately, Iron Man basically agrees that the Civil War was a bad idea. The sequel just started so it will be interesting to see how that one is. I actually think it should be fairly great, but I don’t see it possibly matching up to this one. This one was just a blast and I highly recommend it to all Marvel fans. It’s a very engaging story with fast pacing that never lets up. It’s the big character crossover that fans have always wanted much like the Secret Wars and Infinity Gauntlet arcs. The only difference was that this time it was heroes against heroes.

Overall 9/10

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Avengers Battle For Earth Review

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I’ve wanted to get this Avengers game for years. Ever since it first came out, the game has looked like a blast and a half. Alas, it just never quite made the cut when I was looking to buy games for Christmas or my Birthday. Well, the wait is over and the game has certainly lived up to my expectations. It’s great even if you can tell that it’s not exactly a AAA title of technical mastery. A sequel would have definitely been a blast.

The plot of the game is based on the Secret Invasion arc from the comics. Skrulls have taken over the planet through deception and the heroes have to weed the fakes out from among the real heroes. The best way to do that is to beat them all up and that’s exactly what the heroes do. Some villains even decide to join in by the end like Magneto, Loki, Venom, and Dr Doom. Together, these guys can’t lose to the Skrulls right!?

The main campaign for the game is fairly short. There are 40 battles and each battle is a best of 3. Each individual round can sometimes only take about 10-20 seconds while the later battle are harder. This is one of the only games that you can play and complete for the most part with your eyes closed. With the exception of the final level in each of the 5 areas (5 Areas with 8 levels each) all of the battles can be won by simply flicking the nunchuck’s control stick up. Do that and you’re guaranteed to win just about every fight. It’s probably one of the easiest games of all time.

You can take a snooze while playing if you really want too. Granted, you can also use the Gamepad for similar results. Surprisingly, I found that the Wii Remote is much more effective in this game. Using special attacks is much quicker with that setup, which gives you a noticeable advantage in battle. For the remotes, you just have to flail around. For the gamepad, you have to draw the correct shape to use the attack. It’ll work out if you just main 2 characters and memorize the shapes, but if you’re playing around with a bunch of characters, you’ll be at a noticeable disadvantage. Such is the fate of Gamepad users this time around although I’ll admit that it may feel like more of an actual fighting game since you can just keep on swinging to victory with the Wii Remote.

The main reason why I used the Wii Remote in the first place was that using the Gamepad meant that you could only see the cutscenes on it. A work around is using the Wii Remote to shift the camera angle, but then you have to do that for every fight, which can get quite tedious. It’s an odd feature and one of the main hints that this isn’t your big budget 60$ Avengers game.

If fans were mad that Super Smash Bros had a few clone characters, they would be furious at this game. All of the characters are essentially clones. Sure, there are some cosmetic changes to the attacks, but every fighter basically has the same 5 moves along with a final smash. Some look better than others, but aside from the gestures being different (Or in different areas anyway as it cycles from around 5) you’re basically playing the same character the entire time. Hey, I said that it was fun, not that it was high budget!

The graphics are decently good, although this is where I may disagree with some of the reviews. The character models aren’t incredibly detailed and can come across as a little “free to play.” Certainly not what you’d consider Next Gen, but a lot of the attacks are very flashy and the character designs are all on point. The opening movie was a blast even if the graphics would not wow someone. The fights were neat to see and the animation certainly isn’t bad. It’s not great, but it works for me and I was satisfied with what I saw. Once again, I have to point out that all of the energy attacks look great.

The game also has an epic feeling to it. The story mode is actually really engaging. It’s a shame that there are only 11 big cutscenes in the whole game as the other levels just get a quick line of dialogue. Still, the cutscenes that we do get really show the importance of why comic panels can be good if used right and not as rather uninspired pages like in Mario Galaxy 2. The game’s ending also leads up to Siege/Dark Reign, which would have made for a very enjoyable sequel. Obviously, this game did not succeed nearly enough to warrant a sequel, but boy would I have enjoyed one!

The soundtrack’s a little forgettable, although it wasn’t bad. Mostly the themes are the kinds of music that you would expect from a game that doesn’t want to spend a lot in that area. Luckily, the presentation before the fights is always good as each character has a quick introduction and the 2 vs 2 format works well. It pops out at you and the matches feel really official. I wouldn’t mind Super Smash Bros taking a cue from that and having a similar introduction for 2 on 2 battles someday. It could be optional of course so it wouldn’t always slow a match down.

I can’t say that there is a whole lot of replay value though. You can finish Story Mode in under 2 hours and probably much quicker than that if you’re good at spamming the nunchuk control stick. Once you’ve beaten the game, you can play Arcade Mode, Challenges, or Trials to unlock costumes and character panels to use as your avatar. The unfortunate part is that there is a lot of on disc DLC like Street Fighter X Tekken. Some of these things you have to buy on the E Shop and others are related to UPlay. I’m not sure if UPlay is even up and running anymore, but either way it’s always unfortunate. I’m cool with DLC, but don’t clutter the mission select with it. As a result, my Game Completion% looks a lot smaller than it should because the DLC is actually counted. Boooo. There’s really no reason to play the game again unless you want to have a good multiplayer match.

Naturally, that’s the big hook of the game. The multiplayer is a lot of fun and even if it is a total button masher, it’s the kind of fighting game that is easy to play and you can have a lot of rounds in it without getting bored. It’s like a discount version of Marvel vs Capcom 3. Certainly not as good as that game when it comes to gameplay, replay value, graphics, or soundtrack, but it’s good for Wii U fans who want a piece of the action. The character roster is also quite good with non Avengers like Dr. Doom, Venom, Spider Man, and the Phoenix. It may just be me, but I feel like Phoenix is the strongest fighter in the game, although Black Widow has the best charge attack. You can easily defeat a foe just by spamming her slide attack. It’s quick and packs a punch.

Overall, Battle For Earth is a game that’s worth your investment. The price isn’t all that high nowadays anyway and you’ll be surprised at how well done the gameplay is. Considering that the game must have had a limited budget, it’s actually very exciting. There’s voice acting for all of the characters, the avatar pictures are cool, and the character roster is solid. Not to mention that the opening scene was a blast as well. The whole game had an epic feel to it, yet you can still tell that a higher budget would have improved the game immensely. I can only imagine how much fun a sequel would have been. Naturally, this game is best if you have someone to play it with you, but if not there’s still enough here to satisfy you with the single player experience.

Overall 8/10

Fantastic Four (2015) Review

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This film was certainly underwhelmed a whole lot of people. It’s very hard to find any positive reviews of it online as I’ve only seen one myself. (Though tomatoes should have a few more) IRL I’ve only met 2 others who really liked it at the moment so things aren’t looking too good for the film. It was essentially doomed before it ever came out critically, but I thought that the trailers showed potential. This wouldn’t be the next Avengers, but it would be a good film and I was right on the money with that hunch!

Well, this is essentially the origin story of the team so the plot is self explanatory. Reed Richards is a super genius and one day he manages to build a teleporter. The government quickly recruits him so that they can travel to another dimension to use that planet’s resources to keep Earth alive for a little while longer and maybe even colonize it. The leader’s daughter has been helping with the project for a while and the guy’s son is pulled onto the project so that he can earn his car back after getting it banged up in a street race. Finally, Reed flexes his intellectual muscles and gets his old friend onto the team roster in time for the big experiment. Unfortunately, the heroes got too curious as they messed with the environment of the other dimension (Mostly Dr Doom’s fault) and they each got fantastic powers. Can they use them to save the world now!?

In that regard, the film plays out like you would expect. You definitely don’t want to go into this film expecting a lot of action as it’s more of a slice of life origin adventure. As long as you like the characters and atmosphere, then you’ll be okay. It’s certainly not as good as the MCU backdrop or the ASM series, but a steady improvement over the X-Men series. I was interested the whole time and the characters became likable/charismatic right away so it was fine to just see them talk and hang out even if Reed Richards was really miscast, which can be distracting.

The writing is one of the film’s weaknesses though. The language isn’t terrible, but it still comes at you a little more often than you would like. I always have to shake my head at this since older films never had this problem. I just hope that the English language doesn’t continue to deteriorate or we’re going to need more main characters to be like Mario, rarely talking except for a choice line or two. That being said, I don’t have a problem with the writing in terms of the plot or what happens in the film, just the language aspect.

In terms of the movie dialogue, I’d say that it was reasonable. Nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either. There’s certainly a lot of foreshadowing to get you ready for things that will happen later on in the film. Wondering if Dr Doom is here? The film name drops him right away for long time fans. Fantastic Four even essentially tells you how the film’s going to end with a what if scenario that someone insults Reed with a few times. One can make a comparison to Ant Man here as when Pym explained that nobody’s ever come back from shrinking to the Microverse, that felt like a bit of a dare to the viewers and Scott. Of course, those things tend to really come to you in hindsight as while you’re watching the film, you aren’t typically thinking about them much. I personally prefer to just enjoy the banter and action so I don’t pay too much attention to the hidden meanings of the dialogue unless it’s just that epic of a line.

Reed is the main character of course and he’s a nice guy. I’m just saddened by the fact that the film miscast one of the easiest characters to portray. I feel like almost anyone could do it, but the actor has to be older. It’s why I loved the scene where the film trolled everyone by having Reed pretend that he was older via shape shifting. If he had looked like that the entire film, I would have been thrilled! Reed shows how he is a natural born leader when the going gets tough and we can expect him to continue to use his powers in innovative ways in the sequel. I am glad that Reed has a very tough personality here. In the generic intimidation scene where Dr Doom tries to tell Reed to get away from Sue, Reed just interrupts him to say that he already finished the project ages ago and was going to go take a nap. That was certainly a hype moment and I’m glad that he didn’t just slink away like you would see in most movies.

Ben Grimm’s backstory appeared briefly here and I’m glad that it was so short since his plot could have hurt the film had it gone on any longer. Besides that, I didn’t care to see him as a kid, I wanted to see his superhero form! The Thing costume from the older films was considerably better than this depiction, but I could say the same for every other character so that’s not saying too much. He looks decent although he should have had the traditional pants. I think he gives up on Reed a little too easily and also loses sight of himself without a whole lot of help so he’s not the strongest of the characters in terms of strength of will. He started to destroy a lot of people without hesitation. He’ll likely be more like the happy go lucky Thing we’re used too in future films…hopefully.

Sue was a good heroine and actually defied all of the stereotypical roles as she did not randomly fall in love with Reed for no inexplicable reason. I can’t tell you how glad I was at this as I was expecting a Man of Steel type ending, which would have been very wince worthy. Her subtle insults at Reed were also pretty good like when she tried to ignore him by putting her headphones back on or telling him that his little science experiment almost cost people billions of dollars by taking out the electricity over the east coast. She certainly gave him a tough time and that’s how it should be since he was the new guy on the block. She never overdid it though and they still get along.

Johnny was always going to be an interesting character to watch because of how the film decided to culturally change him. His core personality is essentially intact. He’s still a hot head who has a lot of fun with his powers, he’ll just have slightly different mannerisms and slang words to fit his new character. He’s handled well for the most part and I’m glad that he masters his powers with ease. He doesn’t help with the whole language issue from the film, but none of them really do so it’s not exclusive to him. I did think that it was a little odd how his car almost went out at the beginning of the race since he’s supposed to be a really good mechanic, but I’ll just assume that it was a lucky break for the opponents. I feel like his role was a lot smaller than the other 3, but he’ll likely have his chance to shine next time.

Finally, we have Dr. Doom. You can’t help, but chuckle when you first see him since it seems like the film was intentionally trying to make him look bad. If they were going for a Mandarin level twist, they certainly achieved that! Of course, it would have had more effect if his first scene was his last one. Still, it was neat when he ultimately got his powers, but as a character, he’s not great. He flirts with Sue quite a bit and that always hurt him for me. What I do like about him is the whole anti government personality as that’s always very humorous.

He asks the tough questions and makes the heroes wonder about their mission. After all, it is inevitable that we will wreck that dimension like this one so should we really allow people to go there? He doesn’t think so and that’s why he ultimately grabs his power. He’s certainly a villain, but at least he has a goal that I can sympathize with. If he takes out the Earth, then the other dimension will be safe from those attackers and Doom can live with the world in unity. In this version, that’s how he gets his powers, which are quite impressive.

He’s essentially got telekinesis so he can move rocks around or blow people’s heads up by concentrating. It’s a little overpowered though as the heroes shouldn’t really have a chance against that. The one thing that they have going for them is that they seem to be immune to having their heads blown up. In theory, this is because the ooze that gave them their powers made them immune to that ability or just strengthened their bodies enough to withstand it. The film never gives an explanation, but that makes the most sense. Even then, Dr. Doom probably should have taken the win as he mostly just stood there and allowed the heroes to gain ground. He wouldn’t win many Super Smash battles against Sheik is he stayed on the defensive for so long!

As for the fight scenes, they’re quite good even though they’re short. Reed taking down the gunmen in the forest was pretty epic. It’s too bad that he couldn’t have really fought the Thing as that would have made for a good matchup. At that point in time, The Thing would certainly have the edge, but with a little prep time, Reed could definitely turn the tables. The final fight scene is definitely very epic as the backdrop is like something out of a video game with Dr Doom being the final boss. It’s very short though, which really hurts the fight scene and I would have liked the heroes to have used their powers more. Specifically Human Torch as he was taken out for most of the fight thanks to the rocks at Doom’s disposal. The way that Thing was taken out was a little anticlimactic and I’m calling plot hax on the Invisible Woman, but it just goes to show that they wouldn’t be quite as deadly without Mr Fantastic!

Surprisingly, the film got pretty violent in one action scene. It was like something out of a horror movie as the colors became very dark and the lights started to flicker. Dr. Doom just went around blowing people up without a care in the world and it reminded me of the walls in the Arkham games. I think that could have been toned down a little as it was unnecessary. It was an interesting tribute to the horror films out there, but I’ve never been a fan of them so I could do without that.

Unfortunately, there’s not much of a soundtrack here. That’s too bad as it always adds an extra pop to a film. The visuals were great so mixing that up with some fast paced techno music or something would have been pretty intense. Even some fast music for the dialogue would have been fun. The film just felt strangely silent a lot of the time. It really helps to capture the slice of life feel, but at the expense of that action feel we wanted. Oh yeah, it should be noted that there’s no animal violence here as the anime test trial was successful so the Ape lived. That was probably one of the best moments in the film.

So, time to compare this to the first two films! I do think that the first two win because the actual Fantastic Four as well as Dr Doom were better than their modern versions. I remember the writing being better and I also preferred the costumes/actors. Beating those films was always going to be tough though and I never expected it to top those. Still, Dr Doom can now continue to say that he has been the main villain in every single Fantastic Four film. That series certainly liked him as an opponent.

The ending of the film also gives the franchise a lot of hope. The next film would deal with the Fantastic Four actually being established and finally having their own Baxter Building. It would likely feel more like the comic book version than even the original films. The FF are respected by the government and they’re essentially rich now. There are just so many possibilities! I do think that it was a little unoriginal to steal Avengers Age of Ultron’s final line though. It’s a cool concept, but stealing it just isn’t right.

Overall, Fantastic Four was a solid movie. It’s definitely going to end up being a very underrated one. The score is incredibly low at the moment and now conspiracy theorists can speculate on whether Disney is destroying all other attempts to make non Disney owned Marvel films. If X-Men Apocalypse is critically panned (I could see it getting under a 50 for various reasons, but nowhere near FF level) then things will start to get dicey. Those kind of theories are always pretty epic to hear about, but sometimes it’s just a matter of everyone disliking a film or a big reviewer kicking things off and then the others jump on the train. “Wait…was this hype?” Yes..yes it was. I definitely hope that this movie ends up getting a sequel, but like The Amazing Spiderman, we may have just lost what could have been a beautiful franchise. The bright side is that now Mr. Fantastic can get recast. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, I definitely recommend checking this movie out. It’s got good characters, and some solid action scenes! It’s also fairly short so the pacing is quite fast and it may not be in theaters for long so you’re going to want to hurry and view it before the time is past.

Overall 7/10

Fantastic Four Volume 4 The End Is Fourever Review

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It’s time to look at the end of an era for the Fantastic Four. They’ve had some really great runs over the years like the Hickman epic and the classic run. A lot of things have happened over the years and now the plots can all wrap up. The collection ends on a high note and things wrap up nicely without feeling forced or rushed. We even get some fun guest stars!

The Fantastic Four has been split apart recently. The kids were kidnapped by the Wizard, Mr Fantastic was kidnapped by a guy who wants to be known as the Peace Man or something like that. The Human Torch doesn’t have his powers anymore and the Thing has just barely gotten away from prison. As you can see, they aren’t really ready to stop a worldwide invasion by aliens, but they decide to give it a whirl anyway. They’ve made plenty of friends over the years and they’ll need all of them if they want to win this battle.

This collection is essentially nonstop action, which is really rare for the Fantastic Four series. The alien insects are everywhere so we get cameos from several Avengers. The Avengers don’t look so good once again, but it’s mainly SHIELD that starts things off on a rocky note as they decide to attack the Hulk. Everyone eventually gets over the mix-up, but it did give us a nice excuse for a quick fight scene, which is always a solid way to kick things off. The Fantastic Four’s group definitely would have won had the battle kept going since they had the Hulk on their side and Invisible Woman could have handled the rest of the group.

The art is quite good as you would expect from the Fantastic Four series. The fight scenes are vibrant and colorful while the dialogue scenes flow naturally. This is certainly an easy comic to read as a result and I had a fun time blasting through it. The final issues also celebrate its 75th anniversary so we get a few short stories and one issue where we see what all of the other heroes were doing when the Fantastic Four first formed. That was fun and there were certainly a lot of guest stars so the comic really tried not to leave anyone out.

The comic also had some really good writing and it was an interesting read from start to finish. Mr Fantastic got his props as he was able to foil most of the villain’s plan on his own and also broke free from the trap. He is Mr Fantastic after all and while some of Marvel’s other geniuses like Tony Stark typically get more publicity, I’d consider Mr Fantastic to easily be the smartest man in the Marvel Universe. I wouldn’t take anyone against him in a battle of wits and he’s still my favorite member of the Fantastic Four. He was portrayed perfectly here!

The Thing looked good and he was certainly willing to jump into the fray right away. He’s a character who’s had his ups and downs, but I’m glad to say that this would be more of an up for him. The Human Torch looks nice and heroic. The comic still plays up his flirty side a bit, which is regrettable, but he doesn’t go totally overboard in the past so the writer did a decent job with him compared to past incarnations. Invisible Woman continues to show why she is a threat in any fight since her force abilities are really effective against all fighters. There’s a twist about why she has been using her powers more freely lately, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they are still her powers. Once she gets used to them a little more, she’ll be back to being a big threat in the Marvel universe.

The villains aren’t very high profile, but they’re not bad either. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Psycho Man, but his abilities are decent I suppose. I much preferred the peace guy who did escape so that’ll be a plot to delve into in the future I suppose. He’s quite smart even though he was duped by one of the other villains. I actually liked him as a villain since he seems to be a good match for Mr. Fantastic.

The subplot with the kids wasn’t bad as the kid made the right call and showed everyone that he’s not a true villain deep down. I don’t think that he should have played along from the beginning to be honest, but it all worked out in the end. The plot was not quite as interesting as any of the others, but at least it gave the kids some closure so maybe they won’t be needed in future arcs. I still don’t really like how Valeria is portrayed to be as smart, if not smarter than Mr Fantastic. That’s still a little iffy if you ask me.

I do appreciate the fact that the comic mentions why most of the Avengers aren’t around to help. Since the invasion is taking place across the whole planet, they have to protect the other countries that have less superheroes. This is a great reason for them not being around and I wish that more comics would acknowledge this. New York has all of the big threats so I’m glad that some stuck around, but the other countries have far less superheroes so they could definitely use the help.

After the nonstop action for most of the collection, I didn’t mind the short stories at the end. The camping story with Mr Fantastic and Valeria was fun and we got to see that Mr Fantastic did have fun enjoying nature when he wasn’t busy inventing things. The Thing’s was a little sad for him with the ending, but it shows that he’s always ready to help. I’m not sure if short stories would have worked as well if they had been the whole collection, but they still would have been fun to read in a different way when compared to the action. Both techniques work when the writing is good enough. The fact that we had fake versions of the Avengers was also awesome since it gave us an excuse to see Thor and Iron Man take on the Fantastic Four. Scarlet Witch even fights her doppleganger. The villains aren’t really a threat here and it’s really just to show you all of the friends that the Fantastic Four have made over the years. Trust me, they’ve made quite a lot of them!

Overall, This was a really fun volume. Whether you’ve read the previous ones or not, it’s easy to jump right into the action. A lot of things happened to set up the situation, but it’s easy to understand what the situation is and what the heroes have to do to stop the invasion. It’s too bad that most of the Avengers are busy, but the Fantastic Four are always more than a match for any adversary. The team is essentially a blank slate now so they can really do whatever they feel like doing now. It’s a great way to hand over the comic to a new creative team since there are no big subplots unfolding at the moment. This was a good run and an epic end to it so I recommend this collection to all Marvel fans.

Overall 8/10

Fantastic Four Volume 2 Original Sin Review

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It’s time to look at one of the more modern Fantastic Four series. Yup, not the Future Foundation, and not the fake Fantastic Four, but the real deals. Nowadays, they simply aren’t as big as the X Men or Avengers so they barely have any titles. Hopefully the new film will fix that…maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it. Also, as one of the only Original Sin tie ins that I’ve read, it’s nice to get into the event.

The Fantastic Four are in a real pickle. The Human Torch has lost his powers and a court has decreed that the Fantastic Four must surrender custody of their kids over to Shield. Moreover, the heroes must leave their home and leave all of their belongings there. Anything that is deemed to not be a threat will be given back to them at some point. Then, the whole “Original Sin” debacle happens and the Thing finds out that Reed Richards and Johnny Storm have kept a secret from him for quite a while so he gets framed for murder and sent to prison….it’s been a tough week.

As you can see, things are at an all time low for the heroes. What can they really do at this point? Reed takes this opportunity to take a job over at this futuristic island. He can now work in peace and try to make the world a better place. Admittedly, this plot seems a little boring at the moment, but I’m assuming that it will go somewhere. I’m also assuming that the other workers are all evil, but maybe I’m just a little paranoid. Invisible Woman is heading off to Latveria to visit Valorie, the only kid who wasn’t taken my Shield. After all, they wouldn’t dare attack Doom’s country right? Human Torch is coping by listening to music and partying..basically ruining his reputation even more.

As for the Thing, he’s stuck in Jail so it’s not like he can really do anything about this whole affair. Unfortunately, it’s one of those corrupt jails with a villain in charge. She Thing decided to turn into a villain and she runs the joint now. Power inhibitors have taken away everyone’s powers aside from hers. Since she’s motivated to hurt Thing by an unknown assailant, she is in charge of making things painful for him during his stay. Hopefully the other heroes bust him out soon since this is probably the most annoying subplot. Why do the heroes never try to find out what is going on in these jails? Thing better get out of their soon before the plot starts to drag on in a bad way.

Speaking of which, these events are all part of a villain’s plan. That seems to be the case anyway as the court proceedings were all rather fishy. The orders apparently came from somewhere above the Avenger’s clearance as well as Shield’s. And….the heroes don’t really have a problem with this. It’s rather sad. Then, a super villain group is tasked with attacking Reed Richards and they are getting paid for this. Luckily, Reed is saved by the Scarlet Witch in the big cliff hanger, but you have to hope that the Avengers are looking into this matter. Finally, Thing’s subplot is being totally orchestrated by the villain. I’m expecting it to be someone like the Thinker, but we shall see. Either way, he certainly has the upper hand at this point.

Back to the Avengers, this makes them look really bad as per usual. Once again, they’re shown to be lackeys to the government. Reed was actually glad to see them at first because he thought they were there to help the Fantastic Four with the current situation. Nope, they were there to make sure that the FF didn’t try to enter their home. This wasn’t a peaceful mission either, as the Avengers made sure to bring in all of their heavy hitters. They weren’t nice about it either as they immediately pointed their blasters at the FF. Sue Richards wouldn’t have any of that and she managed to put up a pretty good fight. She blew the Avengers away with a force blast and proved that she could control Thor’s hammer. She may have even been able to defeat them if the original Human Torch hadn’t intervened. Sue decided to call off the attack, but the comic does show why she is certainly one of the stronger fighters around. The Avengers should watch their backs and try to be likable heroes again. I really hope the films never go this route in terms of character development.

As for the original Human Torch, he seems like a decent character. I definitely find him a little suspicious as he seems too good to be true, but maybe he really does want to help. Maybe. Either way, he’s kept his end of the bargain so far as he saved the life of one of the Future Foundation members. Shield was planning to destroy him of course, but they are Shield. Maria Hill made the hero call this time, hopefully she can continue to take the high road and ignore the orders coming in from a shady source. Since when does Shield actually take orders from the government anyway? They’ve always got their own agenda and seem to just do what they want whenever they want.

One aspect of the comic that can be a little humorous is how the heroes love to state the official names for all of the characters. An example of this is when Scarlet Witch appears. In similar words, Reed says “My Gosh, it’s Wanda Maximoff……THE SCARLET WITCH!” and it’s a rather grand introduction, but it will make you wonder why Reed had to recite the whole thing. This happens with the Sandman as well and other villains/heroes throughout the comic. I guess it’s a good way for the readers to keep track of who’s who, but the human identities don’t matter all that much so we may as well just mention the super names right? Although I’ve gotten in the habit of calling Mr Fantastic, Reed Richards instead of his super hero name.

The art for the comic is certainly good. I’d say that it’s a step up from All New X Men. I definitely can’t wait until the Fantastic Four are back in their classic blue uniforms, but the red ones aren’t bad. The action scenes certainly stand out and all of the characters models appear to be accurate. This is certainly another good example of what good artwork looks like and I have no qualms with it.

As for the Original Sin that the Thing found out about, I seriously think that he is overreacting. He wishes that Reed and Johnny had gone to him and admitted that it was Johnny’s fault for him not being cured. First of all, I don’t see why that would make a difference. The Thing would have pouted for a while, but then gotten over it. It would be like bringing up a past mistake. The Thing knows that it didn’t work, he just doesn’t know why it didn’t work. If Reed later on made up some phony reason for why it didn’t work, then that would be another story. As it is, they probably just didn’t bring it up again. A lot of Reed’s attempts failed back in the day so why should this one be any different? The Thing takes the whole thing way too hard and I thought that he had mostly accepted his powers by now. Maybe someday he will, but it seems like an issue that he will never get over at this point.

Overall, This was a good volume of Fantastic Four. It’s rather light on the action as it is just focusing on how bad the circumstances are for the Fantastic Four. Hopefully it picks up for them soon since the villain really has the upper hand here. It’s a clever scheme, but my imagination can only hold out for so long before I start to wonder why nobody has figured out that they are being framed. I also hope that the Thing gets out of prison soon since that plot can certainly drag on. The art is solid and you’ll get to see how the FF vs Avengers fight could play out in a movie. I recommend this comic to anyone who wants to see an example of how unified the Marvel universe is now. It is always fun to see how many fighters are in NYC. There isn’t as much popcorn fun as the average comic, but I’m sure that the fights will be intensifying in future volumes. Hopefully the Human Torch gets his powers back soon as well!

Overall 6/10

Fantastic Four World’s Greatest Heroes Review


Looks like it’s time to review one of the Marvel cartoons that fell under the radar. The Fantastic Four have had several shows, but they’ve never had the same amount of success as the Avengers or the X Men. I’ve seen episodes from two of the other series, but this is the first one where I got to watch the whole series from start to finish. It’s a decent show, but it makes many mistakes, which keeps it from being known as one of the better cartoons. You can certainly see why it was cancelled, but it’s still a good title to check out.

There aren’t any large story arcs in the show. There are plots that continue like villains who go in and out of jail and Dr Doom’s never ending plans to destroy the Fantastic Four once and for all, but nothing to really talk about in the plot selection. A lot of episodes are stand alone fights with the various villains. We also have the Kree subplot as they start to get pretty fed up with the group of heroes. The Fantastic Four antagonize just about everyone that they meet so they have a lot of enemies. Naturally, Dr Doom is at the top of the list.

There are 26 episodes, which is a decent episode count for a series. It’s not a whole lot when you compare it to the other Fantastic Four shows, but cracking the 20 episode barrier is always something to be proud of. That being said, the show was just not as high quality as we have come to expect back in the time that it aired. One of the main problems is actually the animation.

It’s some of the worst animation that I have ever seen for a superhero cartoon. We can make the case that the CGI Spiderman series looked worse, but it was CGI so that’s to be expected. The character designs here are just pretty off putting and the colors can get very chaotic. The show loves to make everything look red or green or blue depending on how the animators are feeling that day. It’s not very pleasing to the eyes and they just seem to be having too much fun trying to make the show unique. Focusing on the fight scenes would have been a better way to have kept the series afloat. I could not get used to this animation no matter how many episodes I saw.

The soundtrack is certainly better, but it’s still not very good. There’s one classic theme that plays whenever they are about to fight and it’s a pretty decent theme for the Fantastic Four. The problem is that the soundtrack is very limited so you’ll be hearing the same theme in just about every episode and typically more than once. It’s a good theme, but (almost) any theme will get old after a number of times. We need variety!

Those two factors hurt the show, but what hurt it even more is the overall cast. The Fantastic Four are known to argue and fight a whole lot, but they take it to a whole new level here. They are constantly talking and there is never a quiet scene in the entire show. Human Torch is like a music box that you just can’t close and he’s always on screen. The others love to contribute as well and the villains play their part. It wouldn’t be a problem if the lines were good, but that’s rarely the case. I’d definitely compare it to Avengers Assemble since just about every line here is supposed to be witty and make you smile. The scary part is that Avengers Assemble actually does a better job with this, but it could just be that I like the characters a little more there. Let’s look at the characters in more detail.

Mr Fantastic is easily the best character in the show. It’s not even close and I also liked the voice that was chosen for him. He really sounds like he’s full of himself and that’s the Reed Richards that I know. He’s always got a plan at the ready and he doesn’t back down. I’ve never seen an incarnation of Mr Fantastic that I did not like and I’m glad to see that this hasn’t changed so far. His powers still aren’t great for combat, but he definitely has his moments.

The Invisible Woman is not bad, but she definitely gives Mr Fantastic a lot of grief during the series. She blames him for the Human Torch’s disappearance at one point, which was fairly unreasonable. One thing that helps to counter this is that she’s easily the strongest member of the team. When she uses her powers effectively, there are few fighters who can really stop her and almost none of those are main FF characters. She runs the business side of the Baxter Building so she tends to talk to the various inhabitants a little more than the others. This means that she has to keep up a pleasant facade from time to time, but the other members know that she is always ready to fight. Sue Storm is probably the only member who can talk back to one of their meaner neighbors.

I’m definitely not a huge Thing fan and he doesn’t do himself any favors here. He’s a pretty nice guy as he just wants to watch his ball games in peace. Unfortunately, the Human Torch will never let that happen so they get into constant arguments. His side plot with Alisha can also drag on a lot since it never goes anywhere. I think there’s no real excuse for the heroes not to cure her blindness and she should also move somewhere that’s a little safer from the Puppet Master. Alisha’s not a bad character, but she’s always been one of my least favorite heroines. She simply doesn’t have a whole lot of character and she naturally doesn’t get any fight scenes. The Thing is the power hitter of the Fantastic Four, but you’d be surprised at how often he still manages to lose fights. The Mole Men’s minions are able to take him down and that was during a rage moment. This certainly isn’t Ben Grimm’s best collection of moments, but the show did adapt his character pretty faithfully. I’ll give the writers some props there.

The Human Torch is unfortunately the most annoying character of the group. For every good line that he has, he’ll have 10 wince worthy ones. The reason for this is the fact that he never stops talking. He continue going on and on until he’s knocked out by a villain. It’s nice to see his confidence and he does pretty well during some of the events, but this version of Johnny Storm is just a little too exaggerated. Naturally, he is given a rather high pitched voice to make him look even worse when he is knocked out. His fire abilities are definitely useful and I would argue that he could defeat the Thing, but there are also a lot of ways around his fire that make him a risky ally to have. He’s typically fun to watch, but he goes overboard way too often to be a really likable character this time.

The Skrulls naturally get to appear and the writers must have really disliked them. They are shown to have little to no actual intelligence. They are very obvious in their attempts to gather intel on the Fantastic Four and they are brushed aside rather easily once the fighting begins. They have never been the toughest of enemies, but they are typically intelligence. They are masters of espionage after all so they wouldn’t make the rookie mistakes that they exhibit in their appearances. It was a pretty good episode though, but their portrayal should have been a little better.

Namor makes a quick appearance in the show and naturally he is rivals with Mr Fantastic. They are constantly getting into arguments and trying to one up the other. Namor is not as bad as you would expect since he is typically a very unlikable character for me. He still shows some of those traits, but the focus is more on him being a leader than on his other qualities. That helps him a lot and he makes for a good guest star. It’s unfortunate for him that he has to ask the surface dwellers for assistance, but the Fantastic Four are always happy to oblige. I was more than satisfied with his portrayal.
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Hulk looks pretty good here in his beast form and as Bruce Banner. It’s sad for Bruce since he’s always so close to getting a cure until things just don’t go his way. Considering how smart Reed is, you’d assume that he’d be able to cure him easily. The Hulk’s design isn’t very good, but he definitely looks tough. It’s safe to say that the Thing was completely outmatched in their skirmish and that’s how all of their fights should end up. Bruce Banner gets the short end of the stick as per usual, but his personality was pretty good and he was a likable guest star.

Ronan appears a few times and he has actually defected from the Kree this time. In the comics, that is pretty rare although I don’t necessarily mind the change. It means that he is now free to do as he pleases and he naturally challenges the Fantastic Four. His skill with his hammer is formidable and he has a nice fight against the Human Torch. I’ve never found him to be an incredibly powerful fighter, but against the Fantastic Four I would definitely give him some decent odds in a fight. He’s around the Thing’s level in strength here, if not a little weaker. He gave us one of the better episodes here in the form of a sort of Olympics competition against the Fantastic Four, which was pretty cool. He was definitely one of the better villains in the series.

The Mole Man is probably my least favorite villain in the series. He can’t fight and his design is pretty hard to look at. None of his plans should have any reasonable chance to succeed considering how weak his forces are. Unfortunately, he is one of the more popular Fantastic Four villains so he gets to appear several times. You end up feeling bad for his minions since they’ll never get to see the sun. He has to rely on his wit and cunning to win his fights since his staff can only get him so far. It’s always wince worthy to see him defeat the Fantastic Four.

The Impossible Man is one of those characters that I never like. His reality warping abilities are something that I never want to see in a show so a character whose whole gimmick is related to that is naturally not my kind of character. He mostly just comes to troll the heroes until they trick him into leaving. His episodes are typically more annoying than entertaining. Ant Man made a surprise guest star appearance in this show considering that he typically doesn’t get to be a guest star anywhere. His portrayal was pretty good and he definitely seems to know what he’s doing. There’s not all that much to say about him, but it would be nice to see him fight someday. Fighting minions doesn’t really count, he needs to take on a super villain!

Ironman gets to appear, which is pretty cool. Tony Stark’s portrayal is pretty great since he acts pretty fearless even as the Fantastic Four begin to threaten him. As Iron Man, he definitely proves to be an impressive fighter as you would expect. His armor does get hacked once again, but it is by Dr Doom so it’s pretty excusable. I liked the armor design here, which is a plus and he was definitely one of (if not) the best guest stars on the show. It’s too bad that he didn’t get to return since that would have been pretty cool.

The Super Skrull naturally gets to appear, which is good since he’s a very iconic Fantastic Four villain. I always liked the idea of a guy who had all of their individual abilities and he does not disappoint. He puts up a pretty decent fight and what he makes up for in personality, he makes up for in attitude. He’s never been a very deep character anyway so I hadn’t been expecting all that much. Still, he was a pretty cool villain thanks to his battles and appearance.
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The Puppet Master is similar to the Mole Man in that he can’t really fight. He actually has a very overpowered ability, which enables him to control anyone that he has made a statue out of. Techncially, nobody can really counter such a technique so he cannot lose. Plot hax ensues and they get out of his plot, but it’s one of those cases where the writers just made him a little too good. That happens sometimes I suppose, but it’s why you’ve always got to be careful. Even with that ability, he’s just not likable. He’s a really old guy who’s out for vengeance…not a very original story.

She Hulk gets a guest star role and she shows why she is about as strong as the Thing. She is mainly here to remind us why the Thing is so important to the team, but she’s still pretty likable. She was always a pretty good replacement member on the team and she doesn’t rub it in. She’s a team player, but she’s naturally here for the money. It would have been cool for her to have had a real fight with the Thing, but maybe next time. I was just glad to have another guest star.

Terminus is the final villain in the series and it was an interesting decision to end with him. He’s incredibly powerful, but also incredibly slow, which helps to even it out. The heroes quickly despair when they see him until they remember that Reed will think of a plan. So, all of the pressure rests on Reed and it’s thanks to his quick thinking that the heroes survive. Terminus is pretty gullible and I can’t say that I like him, but I do like the idea of a giant mech running around New York. He makes for a good villain.

The Frightful Four appear as a foil to the Fantastic Four. They pretend to be heroes for a while, but we naturally don’t buy that for long. It’s one of the better episodes as they try to humiliate the Fantastic Four on TV until they eventually begin to fight. Mr Fantastic really lets loose and he gets a pretty epic line to end the episode. The members of the Frightful Four are decent. The Wizard is pretty smart after all, but they are rather simple villains. They’re around, but they aren’t on screen long enough to become likable. They make for good villains and that’s about all that you can say for them.

Diablo is a one shot character, but it’s cool to see him try to convince everyone that magic is real. He’s a villain who is hard to take seriously since his powers don’t have many offensive capabilities, but he really tries and that’s the important thing. He definitely isn’t a very interesting villain, but he only appeared once so it wasn’t a real problem. Annihilius is more interesting and I’m not even a fan of the guy. Annihilius also gets to appear in one of the episodes and things aren’t going well for him when his weapon is stolen. Let’s just say that a team up may be in order unless he can snatch the scepter back on his own. He’s not mindless per say, but he’s not one of the Fantastic Four’s more intelligent villains either. He’s a monster who will defend his territory and I guess that will have to be good enough for us. On the bright side, his design is pretty good.

Ultimately, the show definitely had some fun guest stars. It also had some pretty fun episodes like the olympic games and the one with the Frightful Four. From the 26 episodes, I’m sure that at least half of them are pretty good. There were just other episodes that were not so good and ones that were only decent. The problem is that some episodes can toe the line where they almost feel a little boring. It’s partially thanks to the intros as a lot of the episodes begin rather similarly with the Human Torch and Thing fighting. It can just be hard to really get into the feel of the episode, which hurts its chances. The series definitely has no real replay value since you will never care to watch it again. Other big shows like Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Justice League don’t have that problem since you really want to watch them again. That’s probably due to the fact that this show has no good fights. It’s just the way that it was made, but you never feel the blows here. The lack of a plot only serves to amplify this and your first time around will likely be your last.

As far as Marvel cartoons go, this one still does beat Hulk Agents of Smash though so that’s a consolation win. It’s still not a bad show either since I would have given it a quick 4 in that case. It has its pros and cons and they basically cancel out in the long run. Watching an episode shouldn’t be considered as 20 minutes wasted, but it won’t leave you as fulfilled as other shows. Compared to most western shows at the moment, this would probably seem like an all star in comparison. Compared to most Marvel tunes, then it definitely seems to be under average.

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Overall, The Fantastic Four were never the World’s Greatest Heroes so the title may have already started firing off some warning bells. The characters can be pretty annoying and it’s really hard to get invested into some of the episodes. They just aren’t very entertaining and the sub par animation does not help its case. That being said, we still do get a lot of fight scenes and we have a decent amount of guest stars. Some episodes are certainly better than others and at its best, the show can still be good. It’s just not very consistent and you are always playing with fire here. I recommend checking this show out if you’ve always wanted to see a new Fantastic Four cartoon, but otherwise I recommend watching the classic 90’s series instead. It’s a more accurate representation of the team and the comics that spawned them. On the bright side, you’ll get to see the Hulk duke it out with the Thing in this show!

Overall 5/10

Secret Wars Review

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Secret Wars was Marvel’s first really big arc and they really knew how to make it exciting. There was never an arc quite like this nor shall there ever be again. It was a one of a kind deal and even if similar plots come out, you cannot hope to pass the sheer originality of this event. I think that Civil War may be my favorite Marvel arc, but I have not technically read all of it so this is officially my favorite Marvel event arc. It’s just brilliant and it’s probably one of the best comics that I have ever read. So much happened in these issues and you can tell that they really put a lot of effort into it.

Marvel is planning a new Secret Wars arc coming soon since they have had fun revisiting old arcs. The new version sounds pretty fun as well, but it looks to be pretty rushed. This one had a lot of characters, but they made sure that a good amount of them got some proper screentime. The new arc is following the “Bigger is Better” motto a little too seriously as the number of fighters has been multiplied several times over. Considering that there can only be so many issues in the main series, we’re not really going to get to see most of the fights. I still do have hopes for it to be one of the best Marvel arcs ever though. All right, time to go back to the plot for this arc!

A lot of heroes had been going through their days like any other when a mysterious spaceship appeared. Some of the heroes fearlessly go into it while others are pretty cautious and carefully set foot inside. It doesn’t matter how you go in though because you end up being trapped either way. The X-Men, Avengers, Spider Man, and the Fantastic Four minus Sue Storm end up on the other side. That’s some serious firepower, but an essentially equally powerful group of villains also arrives. They include Dr Doom, Ultron, Galactus, (Starting to seem a little unfair right?) The Lizard, Magneto, and more. A mysterious being known as the Beyonder has brought them here to engage in the ultimate battle of life and death. Good vs Evil! The winning side will naturally be the correct side and everyone is stuck in this dimension until the war is over. Make no mistake…this is War! Both sides begin to choose their captains and a strategic battle of territories begin with these characters.

The plot begins to shift as the story arc goes on though. It’s originally a big war, but eventually the war is over. Unfortunately, one player deviates from the script and gains unimaginable power. This means that everyone will have to stop this person, but that’ll be tough when he can literally do anything. It’s going to take the will to survive (Which actually comes into play) and some actual power if the heroes want to get out of this alive. Hopefully the rest of the heroes are able to do all right for themselves over on Earth without their power hitters….hopefully!

One of the fun things about this arc is the fact that most of the characters have barely worked with the others if they even have at all! The X-Men are distrusted by most of the other heroes and they don’t do a whole lot here to improve their image. Other teams like the Fantastic Four and the Avengers get along pretty flawlessly. After all, there’s nothing suspect about Mr Fantastic and his crew right?

Mr Fantastic does look pretty good by the way. His role isn’t huge, but he’s acknowledged as a very smart individual even if he does let himself get pushed around by Captain America for a while. He’s just a little too selfless for his own good at times. (He also continues to outshine the Hulk, which is great) The Thing actually doesn’t mention how much he wants to be human that much here, but he can shift between forms for some reason so I guess it’s just not much of an issue at the moment. The Thing is always ready to fight and he was one of the first heroes to suggest that they go after She Hulk so he definitely gets some credit there.

Spider Man dons his black suit for the first time and that is something that is probably not as well known as it should be. He looks pretty great as you would expect and he dodges just about every attack that is shot at him. This is the dependable Spider Man that we used to know and we hope that he returns someday. He’s always in control of the situation. She Hulk is with the group, but she likes to fight solo, which can be dangerous. She runs off to face a few of the villains and that plan really doesn’t work out that well for her. She was outnumbered 5-1 and all 5 of the villains possessed super strength. I’m sure that the Hulk would have handled those odds, but while the She Hulk is strong, she’s not quite at Hulk’s level.

The Hulk has a rivalry with Mr Fantastic in this volume and he’s pretty obsessed over it. Bruce is in complete control for the arc so his strength is very limited, but it means that we can see him brag a lot. He seriously won’t stop and you can tell that he does not want to be here. It’s really hard to fight alongside him since you can’t trust anything that he does. He is very quick to go against his comrades although he would never go as far as to join the enemies. He’s simply a thorn in everyone’s path. I liked the fact that Bruce insults everyone whenever he finds the time, (Which is often) but it can also make you just want him to be taken back home at times.

Captain America looks pretty controversial to say the least and he may actually remind you of his portrayal in AVX. He really seems to have a thing against the X-Men and his decision to stay at base instead of saving She Hulk from imminent destruction was pretty awful. That’s simply not the heroic move to make and the other heroes should have just barreled past them. It’s lucky that reinforcements came when they did since that could have been pretty ugly. Captain America ultimately makes some good calls as well, but he’s too much of an army general. He’s willing to face heavy casualties in order to win the war and that’s unacceptable for a hero.

This took place before Ultron got the hype and recognition that he has currently earned in the comics. He’s still feared as a powerful Avengers villain, but that’s about it. That’s all right…Ultron doesn’t need any fancy titles to strike fear into the hearts of many. I like the fact that he just turns on the villains and decides that he can take them all on at once. He even goes after Galactus at one point, which was pretty great. Let’s just say that Ultron really doesn’t fear any being!

I appreciate that Galactus is not willing to play the Beyonder’s games, but he looks pretty bad as a result. What scene would really shock the crowds? Having Galactus be bested by a guy with an 80’s haircut! So, Galactus is beaten pretty badly by the Beyonder and it can be tough for his fans to bear. I feel their pain since that was definitely a humbling moment for this galactic fighter. He looks good aside from that though and he’s definitely portrayed as one of the strongest characters around.

Molecule Man is one of those villains that I disliked from the very beginning. He’s never been a cool character no matter which continuity tried to make him tough. He gets a whole lot of hype here and the writers even try to make you feel bad for him. That definitely didn’t work on me though and I never liked it when a character is able to just do whatever he wants. It’s bad writing since there’s no stopping him! That’s not what I expect to see from my comic book villains! He starts to buy into the whole romance thing after a while, which helps him start to change his ways. It’s still pretty cheesy though.

Klaw’s role is pretty intriguing since he basically lost his mind after he made it aboard Galactus’ ship. It actually managed to improve his character though since he’s pretty likable. There are a few scenes where you may become suspicious of him since he has a lot of shifty looks, but it may have just been the art. That being said, you almost feel bad for Dr Doom in a few scenes because he really trusted the sound master. Just know that when you have a villain like Klaw, whose deadliness is only matched by his insanity..things are going to be very tough for those around him. It’s good to see this villain getting the respect that he deserves.

Cyclops is a part of the disfunctional X-Men group (At least in this series) so he gets a lot of inner monologue. He’s unhappy about the direction that the team has been heading in and he feels like Professor X is just not the best choice as the leader. He plans on quitting the team once this is all over since they have started to lose their morals. It’s good to see that Cyclops has kept his and while he’s a far cry from the Cyclops of the modern comics, he’s pretty great here. Cyclops is one of the few characters who has managed to be a great character through just about every comic era. He doesn’t see a lot of action here, but he’s always around just in case.

Wolverine looks pretty true to form. He has more experience than over 90% of the other heroes…maybe even all of them. He knows what it’s like to be in a war so he’s not taking any prisoners this time around. While you would think that he might get along with Captain America, that turns out to be impossible. Captain America seems to have a thing against mutants and that makes Wolverine turn against him. There’s a really rushed page at the end that quickly has them settle their differences, but it makes you think about how things have changed. This Wolverine was not the kind of guy who would become the principal of a school or the guy who would betray mutantkind for the Avengers. Too bad he couldn’t always be this good right? It’s hard to think of him as a hero, but he’s a capable ally to have around.

Storm wants to be leader of the X-Men and she actually was for a while until Professor X stepped in. Storm tried to reclaim her position, but Professor X threatened to take control of her mind so that he could force her into being a subordinate. She quickly backed off after that, but another layer of trust was definitely lost from the team. She is certainly not in a good mode for the arc, but she doesn’t do a lot after that. Like the rest of the X-Men, she’s mostly just along for the ride.

Professor X looks very bad in this collection although that can be a good thing if you ever wanted to see what it would be like if he was a little more sinister. He decides to form an alliance with Magneto since mutants should stick together, but he decided not to inform the other teams that Magneto had possibly reformed. (Not really) He wipes away some of Spiderman’s memories, which is extremely unheroic to the point where I would say that he completely descended into the realm of evil. It was all so Spiderman couldn’t rat them out about meeting with Magneto and betraying the heroes so at least the wall crawler was doing the right thing. Prof X makes a truce with the heroes so that they wouldn’t have to fight, but things definitely got very tense for a while there. I like the X-Men, but Professor X was very unreasonable the entire time. You were almost waiting for him to be dethroned. I’m sure that the X-Men had him step down once the arc was over.

Magneto decides to part ways with the rest of the villains since his goals are pretty different. He wants to survive this and he also wants the other mutants to survive. Unfortunately, he then kidnaps the Wasp, which is a pretty big blow to his reputation. The other heroes were definitely not going to trust him after that and it’s disappointing that some romance ensued. Magneto should keep his mind on the mission and this is a mistake that is pretty inexcusable for anyone. Magneto had some kind of plan that was lost in the shuffle, but this was certainly not his best appearance. I expect more from the Master of Magnetism!

The Beyonder is all powerful, but I’m sure that you’ve heard that tune before. He’s like the One Above All and he’s a pretty awful character through and through. You’ll probably cheer when Dr Doom unleashes his ultimate plan. I’ve already seen the Beyonder in other comics so I disliked him before his appearance here, but he did nothing to change that opinion. He let his guard down at a pretty bad moment and you have to wonder what the point of the whole war was. It’s basically just for his entertainment and that’s not very fulfilling for the heroes. I’m sure that he could be a good character in theory…but it could take a while for him to reach that level.

Dr Doom has a pretty big role in this arc and he looks pretty good. He has a plan from the start and he never loses hope in it even after he is utterly crushed and humiliated by the Beyonder on several occasions. His determination eventually pays off and you actually feel pretty happy for him. I thought that he was one of the best villains to be found here and he even gives the heroes a chance to walk away. They would never do such a thing…but you have to admire the fact that he gave them a choice right? He gets a sad ending, but I suppose that we could expect nothing else.

War Machine is here instead of Iron Man, but he is impersonating the famous hero. Sadly, this means that he spends a lot of time tarnishing the golden avenger’s name. He seems to take offense at every little thing and he flirts way too much. Iron Man didn’t do that back in the old days so it really makes him look bad. War Machine may be in a better armor, but he’s still all talk and he never really backs it up. Luckily, we have Thor so two out of the three big Avengers are present for the arc. He has a subplot where he goes off to talk in another dimension with Enchantress at one point, but he definitely makes an impact when he goes back into the war. He takes on a decent amount of villains at the same time and he doesn’t back down from attacking Doom’s lair. Thor is typically with the group when they fight so his role isn’t huge, but everyone had to get their screentime. At least he got one solo fight against the group.

The art is pretty solid and it’s really classic. As such, all of the pages were done by hand so you are certain to find some funny facial expressions of off proportions on the characters once in a while. That being said, you have to imagine just how tricky it would have been to color all of these guys in and how much work it would have been. We can’t deny that computers make drawing more efficient and precise nowadays, but the unpredictable of the old comics is one of the reasons why the art looks so good. It’s pleasing on the eye and it’s very easy to follow the action. I would definitely be content for all Marvel comics to have this style of art although I also love the art in X Sanction and that’s a completely different style. So, diversification is always a good thing.

The ending of the arc definitely has more than a little plot hax since one character conveniently gets everyone to the revival chambers after they were all dead. There is a twist and someone wanted them to win, but it’s still a little dicey. When you have invincible beings…I guess that’s just what you have to do though right? It was interesting to see new characters just pop up once in a while though like the two girls that we found in the village. Apparently a whole town/village ended up getting thrown in the portal as well even though we don’t get to see the civilians all that much.

Overall, The Secret Wars will never be forgotten. It was the first large scale arc of its kind and it paved the way for many more fun adventures in both the Marvel and DC comics. I definitely liked the war scenario the most from the arcs inside of this story, but the climax was definitely pretty grand. This is a collection that I highly recommend to all comic readers. It’s simply a must read and it has certainly aged well. Adapting this into an animated film would certainly be pretty fun to watch. Where else can you see so many characters interact on screen? It’s amazing how the writers manage to cram in so many subplots without them feeling all that rushed. A lot of them will be concluded in different comic series as it is. Yeah…this arc will likely not be surpassed by Marvel and even DC will have a tough time trying to take this one out. It was just about perfect!

Overall 9/10

Inhumans The Origin of the Inhumans Review

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The Inhumans have been getting a pretty big push over at Marvel so it’s a pretty good time to check out some of their first comics. It’s mostly Fantastic Four adventures where the Inhumans just happen to be present, but I’ll take it. I’ve always found the Inhumans to be rather unnecessary, but maybe this collection could change my mind…maybe! It was a pretty good collection, but it was just lacking something.

Naturally, there are a lot of plots within this collection, but most of them are stand alone stories. We see the Frightful Four arrive to challenge the Fantastic Four on more than one occasion. Medusa is one of their members, which leads to inevitable battles with the Inhumans. (Johnny’s friendship with Crystal also complicates matters) The final part of the collection is dedicated to mini adventures with the Inhumans during the Thor comics. Thor’s part is cut out unfortunately and the stakes are noticably lower, but they’re decently fun short stories.

It should be noted that the Fantastic Four comics are typically pretty solid. They don’t tend to be quite as interesting as the other big hitters like Spider-Man, the X Men, or the Avengers, but their adventures can be pretty fun. What limits them is their small roster of 4 and the fact that they typically don’t open their ranks up to the public. So, you know what to expect in each issue and the actual story will need to be interesting to help you not mind the lack of character development. Well, this collection gives three of the members some character development due to some intriguing circumstances that change them so it’s an interesting time for the Inhumans to appear.

Mr Fantastic’s personality has definitely changed a lot during his encounters with Invisible Woman. He is typically the intelligent leader that we’ve all come to know, but he can be very testy with her. “Not now woman” is the kind of line that you can expect to hear from him. I know that this used to be something that was generally accepted back in the day, but I’m certainly glad that people don’t talk like that nowadays! There are two main reasons as to why Reed and Sue’s relationship is so strained. Reed Richards doesn’t see her as a Fantastic Four member anymore as he can only look at her as his wife and Sue keeps trying too hard to be helpful while also pulling pranks on Reed to get him to notice her. This doesn’t go very well for either of them, which causes a lot of arguments.

Both of them are to blame depending on the circumstances. Sue pretended to be dead at one point to get back at Reed and she also continues to bring up their honey moon when Reed is more worried about Johnny’s troubles and what’s going to happen to them. It doesn’t really seem like the time to think about those things. On the other hand, Reed tends to blow up at just about anything that Sue says and he continues to treat her as an underling. His orders are basically absolute and they must be followed!

Despite this, Mr Fantastic and Invisible Woman are still pretty close throughout the collection. They have their differences, but they start to work through them in their final appearances in this collection. They finally manage to go on the honey moon and they are able to keep their personal lives separate from the superhero biz. Once things are back to normal, they’re back to being good characters.

Mr Fantastic is still one of my favorite Marvel characters and he gets a lot of action in this collection. “Now you see why they call me Mr Fantastic!” is one of his big lines as he charges into powerful foes. He never backs down and he’s a very sensible leader. I dare say that he’s better at leading a team than Captain America or Cyclops! Invisible Woman is also closer to mastering her abilities in this batch and they come in handy many times. She shields the Fantastic Four from large explosions, tidal waves, and many other things. Being able to make her teammates invisible is very handy for just about any mission and her force abilities can affect any foe. She may not have realized that she’s potentially the most dangerous member of the team yet, but she’s definitely getting there.

The Human Torch can be a little annoying in this batch. This is during the time where he became distracted by Crystal and she was the only person that he would talk about. He kept on trying to shatter the barrier during a mini arc that felt like it would drag on forever with his college roommate. Teleporting from place to place was a decent plan, but it didn’t really work out very well. Reed Richards kept commenting that the Human Torch was finally a man because of this, but I wouldn’t say that the situation made the Human Torch more manly at all. He still pitched in to help whenever the need arose, but the Thing still does most of the work. Most of the villains have some excuse for why the Human Torch can’t burn them and it can be pretty sad for the guy. Technically, the Human Torch is still a pretty dangerous fighter, but he just tends to be out of his league. This was not his best appearance to say the least. (And he insulted Lockjaw, which isn’t cool)

The Thing is definitely in character since he’s constantly insulting himself and reminding the team that he is a monster. He definitely doesn’t like how he looks, but it could be a whole lot worse. Power wise, this could be the Thing’s most impressive outing. He’s able to defeat Black Bolt in a fist fight and he was also holding his own against Gorgon and Dragon Man. Whenever a strong opponent appears, you can bet that the Thing will be the last one standing. His personality can be a little too mopey for me, but he also has his moments where he can be likable so it really depends. It’s always good to see how determined he is and the Thing never goes down quickly. I like different aspects of his character while I don’t care for others. At least I can say that he’s a complex character!
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Black Bolt is the legendary leader of the Inhumans and you can be sure that he’ll get a huge role in the upcoming Inhumans film. I’m not really a fan of the character and I blame the recent Fantastic Four run where things got cosmic and epic. The overall arc was great and I really enjoyed the series, but it contained all of the worst traits from Black Bolt. He was very proud and full of himself the whole time and he acted more like a villain than a hero. “It’s because he’s King” but that’s not a good enough excuse. Kings have to make the tough calls sometimes, but other characters have handled their royalty better. (Yu-Gi-Oh for example)

Luckily, this is before that era and maybe it was just that series since Black Bolt looked good in Infinity. (From what I saw) Black Bolt is a pretty heroic leader in these comics. Of course, most leaders were pretty heroic back in these days, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Black Bolt is pretty likable here. He risks life and limb to help the Inhumans escape their (basically anyway) prison. He’s also acknowledged as one of the stronger fighters and he’s likely the strongest fighter here aside from the Thing and maybe Gorgon. (He could take out the Thing and Gorgon if he yelled though) I definitely have no qualms with him here and maybe this is a good sign for the fearless leader.

The elemental master Crystal gets a large role and hers is probably the largest aside from Medusa. I can’t say that her role was too great though. She was a little more reasonable than the Human Torch, but she gets a little too caught up in the romance of it all. She should be trying to help her comrades find an island to stay at while the humans go away. Heading for Johnny does allow her to save Mr Fantastic and play a critical role in several other dangerous situations though, so there is always a good silver lining. Unfortunately, Crystal doesn’t really get to fight that much here, but we do see that she at least has the potential to be very powerful.

Medusa gets the largest role from all of the Inhumans (arguably I suppose), but it’s mainly because her first few appearances come before the Inhumans appear. Before the Inhumans were invented appeared, she was a member of the Frightful Four and she challenged the Fantastic Four with these allies. She always met with defeat, but the Frightful Four did give the Fantastic Four a run for their money on quite a few occasions. She eventually started to change into a nicer person and then the Inhumans arrived to claim her. By that point, any shred of toughness was basically gone since an arranged marriage was coming. Luckily, the Fantastic Four don’t let this kind of thing slide and that’s how they jumped in to fight the Inhumans. I think Medusa could have put up more of a fight when she was taken and I can’t really accept how she went from total villain to possible hero so quickly. As such, I can’t say that I’m a big fan of hers. She was better as a villain.

Maximus is the most popular Inhumans villain, but he doesn’t really have that much strength. He doesn’t even really have a super power, which is always a disadvantage in this kind of comic. He goes insane for most of the collection and his only cohesive thoughts aren’t that good. He’s as petty as a villain can be and I doubt that anyone will be rooting for him at any point. He wants to be King, but he doesn’t even know what to do when he is King. He had his chances, but he was doomed from the start. I will admit that it was a little annoying to see the Inhumans following him at the beginning of the collection. They must have thought that they had joined the Shiar for a second there! Trust me, you won’t miss Maximus when his appearances are over!

Gorgon is another Inhuman who had a decently large role in this volume and he was easily one of the better members. That’s not saying a whole lot and I definitely wouldn’t be putting him in any Top 10 Marvel character lists anytime soon, but his abilities are definitely impressive. With a single stomp he can take out a city and that probably makes him the second strongest Inhuman behind Black Bolt. His fight against the Thing was intense and it’s a shame that he didn’t really get to use his abilities after that comic. I suppose that the fights would be over a little too quickly if he got to fight.

Karnak knows advanced martial art skills and he can find the weak point in any object. Essentially, this means that the writers can have him break whatever he wants whenever he wants. He’s not very likable though and I dare say that he’s the worst member of the Inhumans. He’s seriously out of his league in every fight because he’s still a human physically. Having advanced martial arts is cool, but I’m sure that Ironfist or Spiderman could still outfight him.

Triton is the water member of the group and he’s not that powerful physically, but he’s good underwater. (Who would have guessed right?) He does have a key moment where he ends up saving Reed Richards, but he mostly spends the collection getting knocked out or just being a non factor in the fights. He’s a pretty bland character compared to the others, but I would still say that he is better than Karnak.
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Blastaar is only around for a quick issue, but he is definitely a formidable opponent. He gets a whole lot of feats during his trip in the negative zone and even the Sandman is intimidated by him. The Sandman was decently good in this collection since he fears no one and he talks tough to the end, but I still prefer him in later issues. Paste Pot Pete and the Wizard are so forgettable that I don’t even need to mention them. (The Wizard will always be one of my least favorite FF villains. At least Paste Pot Pete is good in the Spiderman series.) Blastaar really gives the Fantastic Four a tough time and it’s similar to Darkseid in that the heroes seem to be outmatched. (When Superman isn’t around of course) It makes for a solid stand alone comic.

Dragon Man and Black Panther get small roles as they aid the Fantastic Four. Dragon Man is in over his head as he faces Gorgon, but his heart’s in the right place. He’s pretty heroic and he thinks that Crystal is in danger so he attacks. He definitely gets the short end of the stick here though and his ending is downright tragic. You really feel bad for the poor guy. The Black Panther gets to appear briefly for his daily page filled with hype and his wise words of wisdom. He attacks the Inhumans and he naturally overwhelms them until Black Bolt arrives. Black Panther implies that Black Bolt would give him a good fight, which made me smirk a little. I have nothing against Black Panther, but if I had to name a character that I felt was the most overhyped in Marvel…he may actually be at the top of the list! He’s still a good character though and he ends up helping out in the big battle.

Most of the villains in this collection were pretty good, but Psycho Man was definitely not one of them. I’ve always found him to be pretty dull and his arc in a recent Spiderman collection was one of the only downers to be found. He relies on his minions to fight and he really has no distinct characteristics. I really hope that he never appears in the cinematic universe and he should be fazed out. He’s just too weak to be a real threat to the Fantastic Four.

Ronan is one of the final villains to appear in this collection. I still can’t say that I find him to be too impressive in the comics, but that’s mostly because he wasn’t established as Thor level until the more modern days. That’s not to say that he doesn’t get his props here though. It’s safe to say that he could also take the Fantastic Four down depending on the circumstances and it’s heavily implied that he is much stronger than the Sentry 459. (Who gave the Fantastic Four a beating)

The Sentry 459 was a solid guardian and he actually got some character development. He technically feels no emotions, but he sure acted like he had them in his flashback with the Inhumans. He doesn’t bare any ill will towards the heroes, but they invaded his island so they have to pay the price. He’s pretty impressive looking and I wish that EMH had kept this design. (Although he still looked cool there) For a one shot villain, he makes for a nice opponent.

The artwork for the comics is pretty good. It’s what you would expect from the classic Marvel days and I always enjoyed this style. It has its advantages and while it may not look quite as sleek as some of the newer comics from the current days, you can’t underestimate the fact that it was a lot of work. No fancy computers back in those days so they drew the comics as best as they could. A good amount of work was put in and you can tell from the backgrounds and the emotions of the characters.

The fight scenes in this volume are pretty solid. They involve more strategy than the other teams because the Fantastic Four aren’t quite as powerful as the Avengers or the X Men. That being said, the Thing is always ready to slug it out and he has three really good fights against Gorgon, Black Bolt, and Dragon Man. He fights several others as well and he puts up an admirable fight against the Psycho Man. The rest of the team also get their share of action and Reed really tries to show just how powerful he can be by thinking of advanced tricks that he can perform with his stretching abilities. The action scenes definitely hold up well against the other comic book brawls that you may be used too.

There really aren’t any negatives in this collection. I guess you could say that the romance was a bit much and it could start to drag on, but it’s not as bad as it would have been if it was a modern comic. One thing that keeps this comic from getting a higher score is that there was no story that really blew me away. The fights were great and we got several story arcs, but there weren’t any moments that would make me take a step back or go high five my dog. The team fight between the Frightful Four and the Fantastic Four as well as Black Bolt vs Thing would be the highlights for the collection though. The short stories about the Inhumans were definitely a little lacking in excitement since nothing really happened in those. I would say that this could be a negative, but the mini comics are so short that they can’t really hurt and the collection Did have well over 300 pages in it so it can afford to have some moments that didn’t have action.

Overall, This was a solid collection of Marvel comics. It was really a Fantastic Four collection, but I suppose that the Inhuman mini comics as the end help it live up to the title. They don’t even appear for the first few comics, which was intriguing. I definitely recommend this to any Marvel fan who wants to be introduced to the Inhumans. If you’re a Fantastic Four fan, then you’ll definitely like this one as well. This bundle definitely has some fun issues and it’ll never get boring since the writing was really good back in those days. You won’t regret picking this title up and it takes a while to finish the volume since it’s so long. Length is always an important part of any media! This may be the last Fantastic Four adventure that I read for a while so I tried to make this one count!

Overall 7/10