Death Of The Comic Reviews!
Well, not really. But one of the books up is the infamous death issue of Fantastic Four, which of course has already been spoiled in the mainstream media.
Fantastic Four #587
Kind of SPOILER alert! (Unless you haven’t been on the internet in the past day)
Ah it’s here, the “final” issue of Fantastic Four, in which one member of Marvel’s “first family” will kick the bucket. Jonathan Hickman’s storyline did start about a year ago, and while I’ve only read the issues in the “Three” storyline, I have to say, this was a pretty well done “death” issue. I put “death” in quotes because its a comic book, and the character who dies will most likely be back in 1-2 years, depending on the release of the Fantastic Four reboot movie. Not to mention that Marvel allowed the mainstream media to spoil the death of the character yesterday, so a lot of the drama and suspense is kind of gone.
Despite of this, the death is extremely well done, and the reaction by the one member who was with him was great too. We see the conclusion of all of the main plots of the story, from Mr. Fantastic trying to save an alternate-reality planet from Galactus, The Thing and Human Torch fighting a horde of Annihulus bugs in the Negative Zone, and Invisible Woman trying to prevent a civil war in Atlantis. In fact, of all of the stories, hers was actually my favorite, and I loved the moment where she finally makes her point known to Namor and the king of the other Atlanteans.
Hickman’s script hits all of the right points, and along with Steve Epting’s stellar pencils, make the final moments of the story really incredible, and extremely emotional as well. The splash page revolving around the doomed character is an incredibly stunning visual, but to me it’s the following pages that stick with me the most. Those final, wordless panels contain as big of an emotional punch as the character’s final stand in the face of ultimate destruction. Bravo Hickman and Epting, and R.I.P. Johnny Storm.
Action Comics #897
From the moment Lex Luthor’s march across the DC Universe to acquire a Black Lantern ring began, I was holding out for one specific character to cross his path: The Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime is my absolute favorite villain, and I was chomping at the bit wondering how writer Paul Cornell would handle him. After reading this issue, I can say that it not only lived up to my expectations, but exceeded them.
This issue finds Lex arriving at Arkham Asylum, actively seeking out the Joker. Apparently one of the Black Orbs that Luthor has been searching for is contained in the Joker’s cell, and Lex is looking for answers. While this issue isn’t one that contains a lot of action, it gives us some phenomenal interplay between the villains of DC’s biggest heroes. The brilliant thing here is the way Cornell highlights the extreme differences between these two very dangerous villains. The Joker is never predictable, and Luthor knows that. But even HE has no idea the things that The Joker knows, especially since the black orb “talks” to him. Hands down the best moment of the issue is when Luthor threatens Mr. J by saying “Has it occured to you that if you were found dead in here everyone would be delighted?”, to which The Joker brilliantly rebuffs: “No…the bat would come after you”, prompting Luthor to drop him. Even though Luthor wants to kill The Joker, he knows that it would cause more problems for him (like dealing with Batman). Joker knows this and uses it to his advantage. There’s also a great Dr. Who reference regarding one of Luthor’s assistants as well.
If there’s one drawback, some of the panels by Pete Woods are a little strange. For some reason, it seemed like his Joker had a fake twirly mustache. At first I thought it was a hair or something on the page, but it in fact is a line drawn to emphasize Joker’s grin. While I get the reason for it being there, it’s still a little distracting. Despite this small hiccup, this issue delivered on all fronts, and is the highlight of the “Black Ring” story arc so far. I pray to the comic gods that Mr. Cornell is given the chance to write The Joker again, since this portrayal was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.