Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fantastic Four #587

This review is FULL of spoilers(and pretty long!), so be warned...

Review: We get this party started with Ben(who is still de-powered as a result of the potion he took a few issues back)and Johnny trying to force back the initial thrust of the Annihilation Wave that had begun to invade the Baxter Building via the Negative Zone portal in Reed's lab. It looks as if Ben, Johnny and the kids are going to be overrun until Valeria knocks Leech unconscious with a pipe, which halts his mutant power-dampening abilities, allowing Franklin to use his reality manipulating abilities to push the horde back into the portal. It turns out that Reed(and obviously Valeria)knew Franklin had been regaining his powers(although Franklin himself didn't)which is why Reed always had Leech hanging around Franklin. Valeria tells Ben and Johnny that the only way they could hold off Annihilus' forces was to head into the Negative Zone side of the portal and close it from there. With no recourse, Ben and Johnny take Franklin, Valeria and a few other powered kids into the Negative Zone to try to shut out the Annihilation Wave. Meanwhile, Sue discovers that Namor was mistaken and the ancient sect of Atlantians didn't want to kill her, but instead wanted her to lead them as their queen(!). Namor is infuriated by that, since he sees himself as the king of all the oceans, and refuses to accept this proclamation, even though this would halt the hostilities between the Atlantian sects. Sue backhands Namor to the ground(!!!)and tells him that from this point onward, the ancient Atlantians were under her protection, meaning Namor had best honor the non-aggression pact between the Atlantians. Namor responds to that affront by lusting after Sue... HA! Finally, Reed and a few denizens of Nu-World are trying to get as many people as possible off of the planet before Galactus destroys it. Reed learns that one woman(with a HUGE head)had managed to collect all of the minds of the people of Nu-World, meaning that by saving her they'd save collective minds of the people of Nu-World. Reed nearly makes it off the doomed planet before he is confronted by the Maestro, who demands to be taken off-world or he'd allow nobody to leave. With little time and no recourse, Reed agrees to take Maestro along with him. So now knowing Reed and Sue are safe, we head to the Negative Zone where Johnny, Ben and a few of the powered kids are picking off some of Annihilus' forces while Valeria and the smarter kids are trying to figure out a way to close down the portal. Unfortunately the main brunt of the Annihilation Wave(some million or so of Annihilus' forces)is practically upon the heroes, meaning they were out of time. The only thing left to do was for one person to remain behind and and manually close the gateway from the Negative Zone, even though that would mean sure death at the hands of Annihilus. Ben decides that he'll make the sacrifice since he wasn't going to let Johnny stay behind, but Johnny has other ideas and cheap shots Ben, tossing him through the portal, sealing himself in the Negative Zone and beginning the countdown to close the portal down. Needless to say, Ben is incensed, but there's nothing he can do. Johnny says his good-byes to Ben and turns to face the endless hordes approaching him while the portal slowly seals up. Before the portal closes off completely, Ben watches as Johnny is completely overrun, and this issue ends with Ben sitting with Franklin and Valeria in front of the now closed Negative Zone portal.

Thoughts: Well that's that. I was predicting it would be Johnny to give his life at the conclusion of this storyline, and sure enough, he was indeed the FFer to go. With that said, it didn't lessen the impact of Johnny's death. I've got to admit, I was a bit misty-eyed after finishing this issue, which is a sure sign of a VERY well-written comic. But let's take a look at the other members of the FF before I get into Johnny's situation any more deeply. Reed was warned by Galactus a few issues back that Galactus was aware that Franklin had regained his powers, and now that Franklin had actively USED those powers, you have to think that Galactus is going to be less than pleased. On top of that, Reed was forced to bring the Maestro(the evil, older version of the Hulk)back to Earth with him, yet another bad sign. Meanwhile, Sue is now the leader of a sect of Atlantians, which will almost definitely lead to Namor hitting on her more than usual. You have to wonder if she'll throw herself into her new Atlantian duties upon learning of the death of her little brother and avoid the surface world altogether. And then there's Ben, who always had a older/younger brother relationship with Johnny, and was helpless to save Johnny in the end. You have to wonder what kind of affect that will have on Ben's psyche. So that's the remaining members of the FF... What about Johnny? Well, since this is comic books, the moment I closed this issue I immediately began to wonder how Marvel would bring the Torch back. Jonathan Hickman actually left a number of options on the table... First off, we didn't actually SEE Johnny die. He was mobbed by the forces of Annihilus, but it's not like we saw him torn to pieces of eaten or anything, meaning Annihilus could capture Johnny and leave a fake skeleton or something behind for the FF to find. Why would Annihilus do this? Who knows, he's a bug-creature, I can't figure out how he thinks! Next up is the vague conversation between Valeria and Dr. Doom a few issues back. Who's to say that Valeria doesn't have some sort of agreement in place with Doom to save Johnny with one of Doom's time machines provided she assists Doom regain his intellect. Finally, Franklin once created an ENTIRE world after the Onslaught crossover to protect the heroes who “died” after that x-over. With his ability to alter reality, who's to say Franklin doesn't toy with reality itself and resurrect his uncle? Or let's go WAY out on a limb and look at the FF Annual from 2010. In that issue Johnny is tricked into knocking up a woman, and the story ends with the woman deciding to throw herself into the timestream to stay hidden from the FF's various enemies(or something along those lines). How about little Johnny Jr emerges from the timestream and takes the place of his deceased father on the FF? That would bring some new blood on to the team while still keeping a strong connection to the Torch himself. And that's just four ideas that came to mind immediately after reading this issue. I'm sure a writer with the skills of Hickman has like 25 different scenarios to bring Johnny back to life/replace him. Personally, I see one of the first three scenarios I mentioned taking place(Johnny coming back to life), with my money on the Valeria/Doom scenario. So the only real question left is this; how long before Johnny comes back? I say the over/under for Johnny's return is 12 months. Start placing your bets now!

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10....


  1. I REALLY wanted to pick this one up because I've heard good things about Hickman's run and also for the obvious reason, but I'm not going to jump in with no idea what's going on. Definitely sounds TPB worthy though.

  2. I actually JUST started buying the FF comics again right before this current storyline took place. I'd been an FF fan for pretty much my whole life, but after Mark Millar's lousy run, I dropped the title for about a year. When I started hearing about how well Hickman was doing, and about the Three storyline, I figured it was about time to get back on board.

  3. I finally got this in the mail and read it, which means I can read your review and comment!

    You did an excellent job of summing up this issue X! I especially appreciated your thoughts about what could be next. I think that the scene between Val/Doom is huge for whatever's coming up next, especially given Doom's use of magic and connection to the villainous side of the Marvel Universe.

    I think Johnny will be physically (aka "technically") dead, but existing in a place outside of reality. Much in the way Captain America "died" without actually being dead, or how Thor came back not too long ago. Franklin putting Johnny in an alternate dimension or even recreating him is a huge possibility too.

    I'll ramble on more once I make my video, but I was left a little cold by the ending. Maybe I'm just that heartless.

  4. Man Kello, what did you have that rush delivered to you?! :P

    Thanks for the kind words. I totally agree about the Valeria/Doom thing, that HAS to lead to something big, and it was largely ignored throughout this storyline, meaning it must be building up. As for Franklin, I don't see why he CAN'T simply return Johnny to life. I mean as much as we try to forget, just think back to Heroes Reborn. That was all Franklin. Unless Reed prevents Franklin from abusing his powers like that, thus driving a wedge between himself and Sue, who could simply head back to Atlantis.

    As for the ending, I thought it was really well done. It was the type of scene that didn't need any words. Ben had just lost his "kid brother" while the kids lost their uncle. I thought the closing scene was really powerful.

    Oh man, no written review? I was looking forward to the MEGA, GALA, Kello-tacular FF #587 post! :D