Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fantastic Four 555


Readers of "a lay of the land" will remember that this blog is a fan of the Millar-Hitch combo, on such works as Ultimates and Fantastic Four. Millar is a writer who loves to throw the big ideas at the reader and throw the big toys around, while Hitch's detailed and realistic art allow for the "widescreen" action style. It's all very big dumb and explosion-y.

In Fantastic Four 555, it's part two of the four part "World's Greatest" arc. We begin with a flashback to when Alyssa and Reed are dating and attending the University of Vienna. I suppose it's a character moment for Alyssa or something. From there, we move to the present and get some background info on the Nu-World idea, how it's a life-size replica of Earth down to even the graffiti. The world will die in ten years and it's irreversible, apparently. Reed is introduced to C.A.P., a law and order robot that will protect the new Earth because weapons will be outlawed. Once Reed is back at the Baxter Building, Ben sees him and tries to tell him about his date, which went well, but Reed is too distracted and attempts to leave. Ben accuses Alyssa of messing with Reed's head as she always does, but Reed pays this no attention. We switch perspectives to Johnny, who's late for rehearsal for his band, but on the way, he tries to stop a sexy female super villain and ends up doing it in the rubble of a building. Meanwhile, C.A.P. has escaped from his cell or whatever and is hunting down real-world soldiers, who carry guns and are therefore, in C.A.P.'s programming, outlaws. Some American soldiers in Alaska meet up with C.A.P. and the issue ends on a cliffhanger.

In comparison to the first issue, this one had some forward momentum on plot. We're finally introduced to the antagonist, and the major conflict is laid out. Millar has now spent two issues detailing each of the Fantastic Four's individual plots, so now the next issue should be more plot-driven. Again, Millar is throwing out the big ideas, for example, on Nu-World, there's a computerized bank that will monitor the world's economy and keep it balanced for a 1000 years. There's more ideas, too, as per usual. It's all very interesting.

Hitch's pencils continue to be scratchy and overly rendered for humans, but absolutely perfect for anything other than people. His work on Nu-World is absolutely stunning and detailed. I think using Marvel comics, we could put New York City back together brick by brick. Just kidding: this ain't
Ulysses. In terms of human faces, all of Hitch's women look the same. It's irritating. His Thing appears pretty detailed and hulking, though, so that's good. I'm a big fan of the Human Torch. He looks like a man on fire, but not in that liquid-y fire way like Kirby's Human Torch, or that mid-nineties lined Human Torch. It's excellent.

I continue to be pleased and entertained by Millar and Hitch on Fantastic Four and I look forward to the next issue.

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