For the Fantastic Four, what comes after stopping an invasion from below? Stopping one from above of course. Last Issue, the Fantastic Four Come onto the scene out of nowhere to save the Earth from the Mole Man, This time, it’s the Skrulls that is the threat.
Also in the time between the last issue and this, while not directly mentioned. it seems the Fantastic Four went public with whom they are. Perhaps due to causing so much havoc and confusion in their own rights before saving the day from an unknown threat? But I find this, undiscussed coming out of the Hero closet is key to the story. Read it, and you will see.
I feel the story for the 2nd issue of the Fantastic Four is slightly worse than the first issue. but I will get to why after a bit of a synopsis:
Our story begins with the unthinkable! our Hero’s one at a time committing a great crime. From damage to property, public & privet to Theft. Each hero uses their talents to prove to be a public menace. In my opinion this is not a huge stretch from the early pages in issue one when the yet unknown four each draw attention, and endanger themselves and the city just going to the meeting. but why they did not get punished for that but this time call down the full force of the government on them, I know not.
we the readers quickly learn that our hero’s are not truly to blame, but the Skrull are. the Skrull are an alien race of shape shifters whom have set forth to invade earth. but it is revealed that they know they must deal with the Fantastic Four first, so that they can’t stand in their way.
Thus, the 4 Skrull sent from orbit to frame our hero’s are successful. The Fantastic four are apprehended and imprisoned by the Army. This however, does not stop our hero’s and they proceed to stop the 4 impostors, clear their name, and Trick the Skrull into taking their Mother-ship and leaving earth.
How this all happens is in some ways impressive and cleaver, but others just made me go ‘yea right’. I found that the Fantastic Four job of impersonating the Skrull impostors went just a tad to easy. leading to a victory that feels like a convenient way out of an otherwise hopeless story. Furthermore how they dealt with the Skrulls left on earth? That alone seems even more flawed and disappointing.
So overall, the story was not bad, but not up to par with what I would have expected. It did have good points as well, such as the Fantastic Fours escape from prison.
I have little to say about the artwork of this issue, I feel that it was an average comic. However the large frame at the beginning of each section I thought was exceptionally done. That in conjunction with the cover and the bonus pin-up of The Thing at the end, all helped improve my judgement. I won’t call it Jack’s best work, but its was a good work just the same.
Originality & Continuity
I have little to say about this, this issue, but a few things to point out that I take some issue with.
Mars? Dr. Reed Richard’s flight in the first issue was to Mars? that is where Ben was piloting them? When reading the first issue and their origin, I found I got the feeling that it was just an early space flight. A trip to orbit at most. Mars feels like a large stretch to me. I am not saying that this detail brakes continuity as it was never stated otherwise in the first issue.
The second thing I take issue with is Hypnotism. can’t imprison the skrull so just simply hypnotize them. You will hear this from me again, I feel hypnotism is over used, in particularly in the comics from that time. Just make the bad guy forget. it does not matter what you’re making them forget, I feel its over used, and a bit of a cheep way out.
Characters & Development
Character development I feel was great. in this tale you see both Ben Grimm and Reed Richards undergo great development.
Reed feels responsible for what happened to them all. and thus is in his own way stepping up into the role of being responsible for them. Standing with them, and supporting them, as its his fault and responsibility for the Men and Monsters that they become.
Ben’s character develops by leaps and bounds. admitting to not only appearing like a monster but sometimes feeling like he is. The thing also shows his tendency to undergo mood swings rapidly, with violence and aggression as the solution of choice.
Ben’s trip though the cosmic rays in this issue however almost has the effect of reversing his condition, temporarily turning him into a human again. the art as well as the dialog do wonders for showing how he feels, and more so for how turning back into the thing affects him. It is quite a touching read though that section.
all in all, I feel the character development brings to the issue what it was truly missing. and makes up for the lack in story if not also for the missing originality.