Thursday, April 07, 2011

"I'm afraid I have some bad news....You're dead"

It's Random Comic Review time folks, so buckle in, pop the popcorn, and enjoy.....

Today's random comic for review is the Universe X: Fantastic Four Special by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross, with art by Brent Anderson and Will Blyberg.

If you haven't read the whole Jim Kruger/Alex Ross Earth X trilogy, then you should do yourself a favor and pick these stories up now. They're available in trade paperback, collected all nice and neat so you can sit back and read the whole future of the Marvel Universe epic. Like most comic fans, I enjoy a good story about the future of characters we all know and love, especially about the supposed futures of both the DC and Marvel universes. Alex Ross with Mark Waid created the dark future of the DC Universe in Kingdom Come, and many wondered what his vision of the Marvel Universe would look like. Well, long story short, Wizard Magazine asked the same question and hired Ross to draw his version of "Kingdom Come" for Marvel. With Jim Krueger, we got that answer, and out of those two came Earth X. Earth X showcased how things would look 20 years later into the future for the Marvel Universe, and man did it look different! The Avengers were dead, The Red Skull was a 13 year-old boy with powerful mind control powers, Spider-Man was long retired, and Thor was turned into a girl.Oh yeah, and all of humanity became mutated with super-powers. So what happened? Well you can read Earth X to find out, or wiki it like I do to find stuff out, and you find out why. Universe X is the sequel to Earth X, where Reed Richards is trying to cure the the no longer human race and Captain Marvel is building up to stop Death. 

We start off with  X-51 the Machine Man(the new Watcher of the MU) talking to Galactus(who's really Franklin Richards) who's trying to figure out why Black Bolt called out to him, calling for Franklin. Galactus doesn't know he's really Franklin, because if he did, then he couldn't save the universe from the threat of the Celestials. Trust me if you read Earth X this will all make sense. Galactus wants to know all about Franklin, so the Watcher runs down the FF's origin and their early adventures. It's here that we learn, at least in the writer's minds, that Reed brought Susan along with him to that fateful test flight as a test. To see if she was loyal enough to follow him whereever he went, and that basically if she hadn't there wouldn't have been a Fantastic Four. A nice way at looking things if you ask me. I know that the Earth X trilogy isn't canon, and is considered to have happened in a parallel universe, but it should be. That's how true to the characters Ross and Krueger are. Anyway, we are then shown Castle Doom, where the rest of the FF live. Again read Earth X and you'll find out why, but basically Reed's shutdown and flipped his shit since Sue and Johnny died because of Dr. Doom and Namor respecively. He then takes to dressing up in  Doom's armor(Doom dies in the same explosion that kills Sue) and lives in his castle. At this point in the whole saga, Captain Marvel's been reborn as a child of both Adam Warlock and Her(Adam's created ideal mate). He's sent to live with Namor since humanity, or mutantity, is worried about a new child being born since their were no new child births after humanity mutated. No one would think to look at Namor, since as Reed puts it "He was hidden with the one person I would least likely be though to ally with, the man who killed Susan's brother."

We're then shown why Namor's been mentally-unbalanced and how Dr.Doom took advantage of that. The Thing is sent to Namor's realm to retrieve Marvel afer Marvel told Reed to come get him in a dream. The Thing fights Namor, dispite being told not to by Reed, but in a scene you have to read, Namor saves the Thing's life by giving him mouth-to-mouth. We're then shown the realm of the dead, where all the dead heroes and villains are. That's where Sue and Johnny are, and that's also where Captain Marvel resides. he can exist in the land of the living and the dead. Captain Marvel and Dr. Strange's astral self are there, and Cap'n Marvel says he'll return Sue to Reed because it's important to his overall plans. Marvel picks Johnny Storm to convince Sue they're dead(the dead heroes and villains don't know they're dead, and that everyone else is) but she wouldn't believe him. Not unless he were to get Dr.Doom to come and appologize to her for all the evil he's done. Johhny goes and does just that, and after a brief battle, convinces Doom that they are all indeed dead and not alive. Somehow this, along with a restored face, convinces Doom to change his ways and goes to Sue and appologizes for being such an evil dick.
This part in the story really stretches things, as Doom is so arrogent and prideful I sincerely doubt even if he was killed that he'd pull a 180 and change his ways. That's not Victor Von Doom. Aside from all that though the story progresses with the Watcher explaining Franklin Richard's powers and why he was the way he was. He then shows Galactus what Franklin's fate, but becomes all confused when he's shown Franklin's death during The Days of Future Past storyline. Galactus walks off pissed that the watcher wasted his time, leaving a very confused watcher behind.

Meanwhile Sue's brought back to life via Reed's arm, The Thing's wife Alicia Grimm, and Adam Warlock's soul gem. It's a pretty neat idea on how to bring someone back, so I highly implore you to buy this issue just to see that whole process happen.  Reed and Sue share a tearful reunion, as we finally go back to the moon where the previous watcher/Galactus story played out. The new watcher goes to the blind old Watcher, Uatu, to find out why he saw Franklin dying when he knows he's really alive as Galactus. The issue ends with Uatu promising to explain everything, which then leads into Universe X issue 1.

Not bad huh?

Universe X: FF is a pretty good read in my opinion, as this issue portrays the FF's origin and history in a new perspective; Jim Kruger and Alex Ross's perspective that is. Especially shedding new light on Reed and Sue's relationship, why Namor acts the way he does, and why Utau the Watcher isn't exactly a good guy like we thought.

 This special came out between Universe X#0 and #1, respectively, and sets things up for future issues of the Universe X series.  In general I like this potential future for the MU much more than some others, and really, really wish Marvel had let this future become canon. It's that damn good! Trust me, the way Ross and Kruger explain away "what really happened" or the "true motivations" of certain characters, you have to admit it makes more sense when put in this new light.  Again, this is how the future should have been since more than likely, we'll never see the actual aging of these beloved MU characters in real life.

See folks, dispite the lack of love for Firestorm, Alex Ross isn't all that bad of a guy after all.....

1 comment:

googum said...

I have a little box with all the Earth/Universe/Paradise X stuff; that I re-read every couple years or so when I have a lotta time. It's an interesting read, even if it's not perfect. Darn...I don't think I have the time now!

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