Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Fantastic Four: Acts of Vengeance

Fantastic Four 334 - 336 

The best thing you could say about these issues is that they are mildly humorous.

The late 1980's were a bad time for non-Mutant Marvel titles. All the energy and creativitiy of the company was pumped into the X-Franchise, much to the detriment of Marvel's mainstay titles, like Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America and, well, Fantastic Four.

These three issues give a snapshot of that process. They were part of an uninspired crossover, Acts of Vengeance. In it, villains from one title would turn up in another. I don't remember (or perhaps don't care to remember) exactly why. Sometimes, the results could be good (the Mandarin turning up in Uncanny X-Men). Most often, it was an exercises in pure pointlessness.

Reading these, you feel that Walt Simonson, the writer, was demonstrating his utter contempt for Acts of Vengeance. At least a dozen minor criminals (such as the Beetle, the Vanisher and Thunderball) attack the FF, and are despatched with laughable ease. At one point Apocalypse, who would have given the FF a good fight, flies over Washington, but there is no interaction with the FF. Why he was there at all is a mystery.

What makes this whole story worse is that the whole story is set at a Congressional Inquiry, where they are deliberating whether or not to pass a bill which would make superpowered beings register with the government. This was a long and meandering storyline from the X-Men which promised little and delivered less. Why were the FF involved? No idea.

So poor Walt Simonson was left to write a Fantastic Four story involving two crossovers with no relevance to the FF. What resulted was three issues of clownish sub-villains and pointless mutant jabbering which outlived its welcome by, say, two issues and fifteen pages.


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