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Friday, November 28, 2014

FANTASTICFOUR 262

FANTASTIC FOUR #262

MARVEL COMICS – @Marvel
WRITER/ARTIST: John Byrne
COLORS: Glynis Wein
LETTERS: Jim Novak
32pp, Color, .60¢ U.S., .75¢ CAN, .25p UK (January 1984)

Rated “T+”

The Trial of Reed Richards”

A high-ranking Marvel Comics person once said that most comic books published before 1992 were bad, although Marvel is thriving largely due to pre-1992 publications and creations. I know for a fact that one comic book series that was no-ways-bad was Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four comic book series with John Byrne as both writer and artist. After Byrne left the series in 1986, the Fantastic Four (sometimes referred to as “FF”) was never the same. There have only been a few brief runs since then in which the series has approached the quality of Byrne's work on this seminal Stan Lee-Jack Kirby creation.

For some reason, I recently remembered something called “Assistant Editors' Month.” Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter and Marvel's primary editorial staff had taken a month-long trip in the late summer of 1983, supposedly. This meant that the assistant editors were the acting-editors of Marvel's regular titles for at least one month. The result of this was that Marvel's superhero titles with the publication date of January 1984 would drift from the status quo, at least, a little bit. [I think the Avengers met David Letterman in their title.]

Because I have many issues of Byrne's run on Fantastic Four, I also happen to have the Assistant Editors Month issue, Fantastic Four #262. The conceit of that issue is that Marvel Comics exists in the same universe as the Fantastic Four. John Byrne, as current writer-artist of the Fantastic Four, often uses the adventures of the real Fantastic Four as the basis for his Fantastic Four comics.

As Fantastic Four #262 (“The Trial of Reed Richards”) begins, Byrne is having a telephone conversation with Michael Higgins, the assistant editor of the Fantastic Four comic book and the person currently in charge of getting the book finished while the regular editor is away. Higgins is pressing Byrne to deliver some pages, but Byrne is pressed against a deadline because he cannot get in contact with the Fantastic Four.

Lucky him, The Watcher appears and takes Byrne far into the cosmos. The Watcher says that Byrne, as the “chronicler” of the Fantastic Four's adventures, must bear witness to the trial of Reed Richards. Why is Reed, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic, on trial? He saved the life of the planet-devouring Galactus, and now, victims of Galactus – old, new, and ancient want to punish the man who kept Galactus living.

I had not read “The Trial of Reed Richards” in ages. I first heard of it from comic book fans who swore to me that it was a classic. It may be, but taken as part of the entirety of Byrne's run on the series, it is one good comic book among many.

Byrne has previously stated that some comic book writers, artists, editor, and publishers “don't get it,” meaning that they do not understand what made certain classic comic book creations work – what made them “classic.” In the case of the Fantastic Four, not only in the comic books, but also in the movies and in television appearances, the writers, artists, and creative types don't get it.

Many people focus in on the Fantastic Four as a team that is also a family, and Stan Lee has bolstered that every time he talks about creating the FF. They're right; the team is a family. Whatever pulpy roots and TV family examples inspired him, Lee did create a familiarity amongst the lead characters that was, at that time, new to comic books.

However, comic books are a graphics-based and visual storytelling medium, and in the hands of and by the pencil of Jack Kirby, Fantastic Four had a second distinctive and crucial feature or trait. This comic book was grand and big in its scope. The monsters were not just big like those that appeared in Marvel/Timely's monster comics; there was also something bigger behind FF's monsters and creatures. It might be tragedy, or a warning, or even a message. When the Mole Man appeared in Fantastic Four #1, he was not just a monster wrangler or boss of monsters; he was a leader and a protector. His mission wasn't mere destruction of the human world, but the grand notions of the survival and the prosperity of the creatures that lived below the human world.

Byrne's trial of Reed Richards isn't just a trippy trip through the cosmos. It is a simple story about existence, reality, and the natural order, but it was a story spun on a grand, cosmic scale. Like Lee and Kirby's Fantastic Four, Byrne's is not hard science fiction, but it embraces the sense of wonder about the great big unknown beyond the planet, beyond the stars, and beyond myriad dimensions.

Supposedly, sales of the Fantastic Four comic book has been floundering for years, and the series is reportedly headed for cancellation. Whatever the politics behind that cancellation, the Fantastic Four has been a shadow of its former glory for decades, for the most part. No one has done the Fantastic Four like Byrne did it since he did it. I am glad I thought of reading Fantastic Four #262 because it was part of the “Assistant Editors' Month” gimmick. Thank goodness for back issues, trades paperbacks, and Artist Editions that we can still read the new classic that was John Byrne's Fantastic Four, after the original classic FF of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

A

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: WAYWARD #4

WAYWARD #4
IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

STORY: Jim Zub – @jimzub
ART: Steve Cummings – @stekichikun
COLORS: Josh Perez and Tamra Bonvillain – @dyemooch and @TBonvillain
LETTERS: Marshall Dillon – @MarshallDillon
COVER: Steve Cummings and Ross A. Campbell
VARIANT COVER: Philip Tan
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S.

Arriving in comic book stores today, Wednesday, November 26, 2014, is the fourth issue of Wayward.  This is the fascinating new fantasy comic book series from writer Jim Zub (Skullkickers) and penciller Steve Cummings and published by Image Comics.  Wayward focuses on Rori Lane, a half-Irish/half-Japanese teen girl.  Rori is trying to start a new life in Japan with her mother, Sanae, only to find herself connected to the magic and ancient creatures that lurk in the shadows of Tokyo.

As Wayward #4 (“Chapter Four”) opens, Rori is trying to keep doing the mundane things in life (like attending school), even after experiencing so much of the supernatural.  She gathers her “gang” of fellow supernatural types:  Ayane, Shirai, and Nikaido for a supernatural pow-wow.  Their meeting is centered around answering the question, “What does each of us know about the supernatural?”  In the decommissioned subway tunnels beneath Ueno Park, Rori finds the kind of answers that are really just more questions.

The ComicBookBin received the advanced review PDF copy of Wayward #4 that writer Jim Zub sent to reviewers.  It's much appreciated, but do I feel obligated to give Wayward a good review because Zub gives me a chance to read one of my favorite comic books a little early?  Actually, I feel obligated to break into Zub's house or into the Image Comics offices, whichever one allows me to read future issues of Wayward now.

Seriously, I like Wayward... a lot.  Instead of comparing it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I compare it to Harry Potter in the following way.  Potter was essentially a series of mystery novels, in which the hero and his allies traveled to unknown, but fantastic places; they dealt with a growing cast of characters, each character having shifting alliances and secretive motivations.  The endgame was not just to discover a villain, but to also unravel a far-reaching conspiracy that was born in the past and could determine the future, as well as the fate of countless people.

Wayward offers a mystery that is as unknown as it is alluring.  Like Rori following the glowing threads that guide (or lead) her, we don't know where this mystery will take us, but let's follow!  Rori is not so much Buffy fighting monsters as she is like Harry Potter guiding us into a fantastic labyrinth of conspiracies and old secrets.  Let's keep going Wayward.

A

[Wayward #4 contains the engrossing essay, “Tokyo Underground,” by Zack Davisson (@ZackDavisson), with art by Steve Cummings.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for November 26, 2014

DC COMICS

APR140278    ABSOLUTE BATMAN HAUNTED KNIGHT HC    $99.99
AUG140356    AMERICAN VAMPIRE TP VOL 06 (MR)    $14.99
SEP140201    AQUAMAN #36    $2.99
SEP140262    ARKHAM MANOR #2    $2.99
AUG140330    BATMAN & ROBIN TP VOL 04 REQUIEM FOR DAMON (N52)    $16.99
SEP140292    BATMAN 66 #17    $2.99
SEP140293    BATMAN BEYOND UNIVERSE #16    $3.99
SEP140246    BATMAN ETERNAL #34    $2.99
SEP140302    BATMAN ETERNAL TP VOL 01  (N52)    $39.99
AUG140335    BATWOMAN TP VOL 05 WEBS (N52)    $19.99
SEP140342    BODIES #5 (MR)    $3.99
SEP140266    CATWOMAN #36    $2.99
AUG140332    CATWOMAN TP VOL 05 RACE OF THIEVES (N52)    $17.99
SEP140344    DEAD BOY DETECTIVES #11    $2.99
SEP140195    DEATHSTROKE #2    $2.99
SEP140206    EARTH 2 WORLDS END #8    $2.99
SEP140198    FLASH #36    $2.99
SEP140178    GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT #1    $2.99
SEP140300    HE MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #19    $2.99
AUG140369    HINTERKIND TP VOL 02 (MR)    $14.99
SEP140209    INFINITY MAN AND THE FOREVER PEOPLE #5    $2.99
JUL140254    JSA OMNIBUS HC VOL 02    $150.00
SEP140193    JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #36    $3.99
AUG140331    JUSTICE LEAGUE TRINITY WAR TP    $19.99
SEP140220    NEW 52 FUTURES END #30 (WEEKLY)    $2.99
JUN140309    PUNK ROCK JESUS DELUXE EDITION HC (MR)    $39.99
SEP140279    RED LANTERNS #36 (GODHEAD)    $2.99
SEP140216    SECRET ORIGINS #7    $4.99
SEP140221    STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES GI ZOMBIE #4    $2.99
SEP140226    SUPERMAN #36    $3.99
SEP140230    SUPERMAN #36 COMBO PACK    $4.99
JUL140246    TRINITY OF SIN PANDORA TP VOL 02 (N52)    $16.99
SEP140349    UNWRITTEN VOL 2 APOCALYPSE #11 (MR)    $3.99

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES

JUN140316    BATMAN ANIMATED BAS CATWOMAN AF    $24.95
JUN140323    BATMAN ARKHAM ASYLUM POISON IVY STATUE    $124.95
JUL140300    DARK KNIGHT RETURNS CALL TO ARMS STATUE YEAR OT HORSE ED    $399.95
JUN140321    DC COMICS NEW 52 STARGIRL AF    $24.95
MAY140432    DC COMICS SUPER HEROES FLASH BUST    $49.95
JUN140325    JUSTICE LEAGUE WAR CYBORG AF    $19.95

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for November 26, 2014

MARVEL COMICS
SEP140873    ALL NEW GHOST RIDER #9    $3.99
SEP140882    ALL NEW INVADERS #12    $3.99
SEP140930    ALL NEW INVADERS TP VOL 02 ORIGINAL SIN    $16.99
SEP140927    AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TP 01.1 LEARNING TO CRAWL    $17.99
SEP140908    AMAZING X-MEN #13    $3.99
SEP140796    CAPTAIN AMERICA AND MIGHTY AVENGERS #2 AXIS    $3.99
SEP140924    CAPTAIN AMERICA EPIC COLLECTION TP CAPTAIN LIVES AGAIN    $34.99
SEP140905    CYCLOPS #7    $3.99
SEP140932    DEADPOOL TP VOL 06 ORIGINAL SIN    $17.99
SEP148139    DEATH OF WOLVERINE #4 2ND PTG MCNIVEN VAR    $4.99
SEP140846    DEATH OF WOLVERINE LOGAN LEGACY #5    $3.99
SEP140862    DEATHLOK #2    $3.99
SEP148182    EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #2 3RD PTG RODRIGUEZ VAR    $3.99
SEP148140    EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #5 2ND PTG WYATT VAR    $3.99
SEP140926    INHUMAN TP VOL 01 GENESIS    $17.99
SEP140910    MARVEL UNIVERSE ULT SPIDER-MAN WEB WARRIORS #1    $3.99
SEP140922    MMW GOLDEN AGE ALL WINNERS TP VOL 02    $29.99
SEP140820    NEW AVENGERS #27 TRO    $3.99
SEP140888    NEW WARRIORS #12    $3.99
SEP140785    NOVA #24 AXIS    $3.99
SEP140941    OZ TP ROAD TO OZ    $17.99
SEP140914    PAINKILLER JANE 22 BRIDES TP (MR)    $17.99
SEP148141    ROCKET RACCOON #2 3RD PTG YOUNG VAR    $3.99
AUG140898    SAVAGE WOLVERINE PREM HC VOL 04 BEST THERE IS    $24.99
SEP140842    SCARLET SPIDERS #1 SV    $3.99
SEP140874    SECRET AVENGERS #10    $3.99
SEP140839    SPIDER-MAN 2099 #6 SV    $3.99
SEP140844    SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #17    $3.99
SEP140806    SUPERIOR IRON MAN #2 AXIS    $3.99
SEP140783    WOLVERINE AND X-MEN #12 AXIS    $3.99
SEP140937    WOLVERINE BY AARON COMPLETE COLLECTION TP VOL 04    $34.99


IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for November 26, 2014

IDW PUBLISHING
SEP140395    ANGRY BIRDS TRANSFORMERS #1    $3.99
SEP140426    EDWARD SCISSORHANDS #2    $3.99
SEP140460    GI JOE (2014) #3    $3.99
SEP140480    GODZILLA RULERS OF THE EARTH #18    $3.99
SEP140467    JUDGE DREDD #25    $3.99
AUG140513    NELVANA NORTHERN LIGHTS HC    $39.99
SEP140400    SAMURAI JACK #14    $3.99
SEP140431    SHADOW SHOW #1    $3.99
SEP140416    SKYLANDERS #2    $3.99
SEP140418    TMNT GHOSTBUSTERS #2    $3.99
SEP140421    TMNT ONGOING #40    $3.99
SEP140392    TRANSFORMERS DRIFT EMPIRE OF STONE #1    $3.99
SEP140393    TRANSFORMERS DRIFT EMPIRE OF STONE #1 BLANK SUBSCRIPT    $3.99
SEP140382    TRANSFORMERS MORE THAN MEETS EYE #35 DAYS OF DECEPTION    $3.99
AUG140454    TRANSFORMERS VS GI JOE #4    $3.99
SEP140455    X-FILES YEAR ZERO #5    $3.99

Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for November 26, 2014

DARK HORSE COMICS
SEP140063    ALIENS FIRE AND STONE #3    $3.50
JUN140039    ARKWRIGHT INTEGRAL HC    $59.99
JUL140111    AXE COP TP VOL 06 AMERICAN CHOPPERS    $12.99
JUL140086    BAD BLOOD TP    $17.99
SEP140096    BALTIMORE WOLF AND THE APOSTLE #2    $3.50
SEP140043    CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT #17    $2.99
JUL140080    CHRONICLES OF CONAN TP VOL 28 BLOOD & ICE    $19.99
SEP140099    COLDER BAD SEED #2    $3.99
SEP140082    CONAN THE AVENGER #8    $3.50
SEP140080    ELFQUEST FINAL QUEST #6    $3.50
SEP140028    FATHERS DAY #2    $3.99
JUL140129    GRINDHOUSE MIDNIGHT TP VOL 02 BRIDE BLOOD FLESH DOLL    $17.99
SEP140061    HALO ESCALATION #12    $3.99
JUL140121    HELLBOY WEIRD TALES HC    $24.99
JUL140133    MANARA BORGIAS HC (MR)    $59.99
SEP140029    MASSIVE #29    $3.50
SEP140030    MIND MGMT #28    $3.99
SEP140031    POP #4    $3.99
JUL140142    SATOSHI KON OPUS TP    $19.99
SEP140032    SUNDOWNERS #4    $3.50
JUL140132    TALES OF IMPERFECT FUTURE HC    $17.99
JUL140063    TERMINATOR SALVATION FINAL BATTLE TP VOL 01    $19.99
SEP140062    TOMB RAIDER #10    $3.50
OCT140090    USAGI YOJIMBO SENSO #5    $3.99
JUL140065    VANDROID TP    $17.99
JUL140102    WHITE SUITS TP    $17.99