Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fantastic Four Annual #32

I somehow avoided any of the publicity about this Fantastic Four Annual, and that's fine - it reminded me of the good old days, before the Internet told us the endings to stories before they began.

I have occasionally bemoaned the fact that annuals these days are not the "big deal" they were when they first started appearing in the '60s - but thankfully, this issue is an exception.

It's not that it's a big story as much as the fact that it's a darned good story with amazing artwork.

The story is provided by Joe Ahearne, and it surrounds an event that we might have expected to happen a long time ago - a young woman shows up at the Baxter Building claiming to be pregnant - and that Johnny Storm is the father.

What follows is an intelligent examination of how that happened (pause here for "birds and the bees" joke), and whether the woman is telling the truth. That calls for an investigation into a possible plot by an old foe, a couple of "Fantastic Voyages" and quite a few interesting twists along the way. Best of all, the character voices are all "spot on," something not every writer can manage.

The issue also features amazing art by Bryan Hitch. As good as his work on the regular title was, this is even better, with delightful splashes (I love the first page, even though it has no members of the FF on it), incredible layouts and great character bits. Oh, and a powerful "Clobbering Time" page, too.

All is all, an annual that's a cut above the rest, and one of the best I've read in years. Which isn't as good a compliment as it should be, but what can you do?

This one is highly recommended!

Grade: A


Bobby Nash said...

Different stroke, I guess. I had the complete opposite reaction to this issue. After I finished reading it my first thought was, "what the hell was that?"

Chuck said...

Bobby, it was definitely out of the ordinary. I almost winced when they revealed that the girl was pregnant - and I immediately thought, "Oh no, this issue is going to be some kind of big debate on abortion." Instead it went in a different direction, and I appreciated that it didn't go for the obvious or get up on its soapbox. It's an odd story, but I liked it - probably because it managed to surprise me.

Bobby Nash said...

Yeah. Definitely an odd one.

Ed Catto said...

I was surprised to see it on the stands too..I picked it up and put it back. More a function of just having too big a stack already. But after reading your review- I think I'll get it after all!

Chuck said...

Ed, Better check out Bobby's comments before you buy - this issue isn't universally loved!