FANTASTIC FOUR #1 by Kate (and Dan)

Kate (and Dan) are driving through some godforsaken place going to some indiscriminate locale for some unknown reason. When suddenly, Fate takes a hand…

K: ::hands to face:: Goodness gracious, Dan! What has happened to the sky?!

D: ::puffs pipe in a gentlemanly fashion:: Keep calm, my darling. There’s no need to panic. It’s only… rain.

K: But it has come on so suddenly. So UNEXPECTEDLY!  Who knows what consequence it may bring?

D: We must stay the course. We are almost through this unholy atmospheric anomaly.

K: ::swoons:: Oh, Dan!

And thus, our brave explorers reached the other side of the unexpected. They continued on to many other “adventures”. But what if they hadn’t been driving through rain and had instead been flying through space in a rocket? And flown through cosmic rays? What then…

K: ::looks up and answers narrator:: What if we had flown through cosmic radiation? We would get all melty and die. Fact. Do you know the only thing that has ever survived a trip to the stars? Well, I’ll tell you. Ham the Chimp in 1961. He made it to space and back ok.

D: Astronauts do it all the time.

K: That’s none of our business. But if you’re referring to space travel? Only chimps can travel in space! ONLY CHIMPS NAMED HAM!!

D: You’re really starting to worry me. Here read this. It’s the story of Marvel’s First Family, The Fantastic Four, and what happened after they came back from space. Spoilers: there’s no monkey.

K: CHIMP!

Kate reads THE FALL OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR, PART 1.

K: Getting covered in space goo did not serve the Richards family nor their friend Ben very well. They supposedly got super powers from the cosmic rays, but now Reed Richards is all stretchy, sometimes you can’t see Sue Storm when she’s standing next to you, Johnny Storm’s pants are on fire, and Ben Grim…well, he’s just all kinds of messed up. Oh my, I wonder what kind of powers Ham the Chimp got when he went into space?

D: You’re missing the point of the Fantastic Four’s superpowers. Reed is Mr. Fantastic…

K: Kind of a cocky alter ego name. Someone sure thinks a lot of himself.

D: …Sue is the Invisible Woman, which explains why you can’t see her. Johnny’s “pants are on fire” because he is the Human Torch. Being on fire is kind of his thing. And Ben is made up of rocks and is known as The Thing. The Fantastic Four use their newfound super powers to fight ne’er-do-wells and protect earth. This time they’re preventing Fin Fang Foom from destroying New York. As you do.

K: ::karate chops the air:: I loved that dog from the Hanna-Barbara cartoons!

D: You hate Hanna-Barbara and you’re thinking of Hong Kong Phooey. Fin Fang Foom is an alien dragon. The Fantastic Four have battled him before, but this time something is different with the alien. Reed knows that something is off and he can’t put his malleable finger on it.

K: He should probably do more science to figure that out. He’s kind of a smarty-pants like that.

After The Four take down Fin Fang Foom, they all go their separate ways.  Reed and Sue go home to the Baxter Building where Sue longs for her estranged daughter.

D: Did I ever you about the time Dr. Doom launched the Baxter Building into Space?

K: Yes. Multiple times. Anyway, while Mr. Fantastic and his lady are having a quiet night in their Earth bound home, Ben goes to see his lady friend. It looks like they were together and then not and now maybe back together. Meanwhile, Johnny “Pants on Fire” Storm is out signing his Standard Rich and Famous Contract. He shows up, does superhero stuff, and gets paid. They’re all kind of distracted. Who’s watching the Earth?

D: No one. That’s when bad things happen. Turn your back for a minute and denizens of the negative zone bust lose and we all gotta tune in next month.

K: I have to admit, I really liked this comic. I know that Fantastic Four #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby launched the Marvel Age…

D: That’s the sexiest thing you’ve ever said.

K: … but that’s a lot of comics under the bridge. James Robinson does a flat-out fantastic job of packing a ton of story into a very accessible issue. I wasn’t lost at all. Every character has a clear and distinct voice. This is some good funny book writtin’.

D: Leonard Kirk may not have been a household name before, but now that he’s doing the art chores on a high-profile book like this, the man will be a star. Clear, confidant pencils that don’t distract from the action. Kirk conveys Sue’s sorrow at the beginning of the book in heartbreaking fashion. The double page spread of Fin Fang Foom marching through Manhattan is fit for framing!

::Kate gets out of the car::

While the FF’s new uniforms may not be my cup of cosmic rays, they certainly don’t distract from my enjoyment of the story at all.

Kate? Kate, where’d you go?

::Kate is walking down a lonely road with a bundle tied to a stick over her shoulder, and hand-in-hand with a chimp. The chimp is holding a sign that reads “SPACE OR BUST!” ::