This week in the Comic Roundup we review the first chapter of The Death of Spider-Man, check out the new direction for the FF and revisit our childhood with G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero.
By Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting
When I reviewed the first collection of Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four, I finished by saying that the new direction had potential, but it just wasn’t there yet for me. Now that the first part of his master plan for the Fantastic Four has finished, I’m still waiting to be impressed. The whole “death” of the Human Torch and bagged issue were so 1992 and screamed of gimmicks and cheap theatrics. Do things improve with the launch of the newly retitled FF? Well…
With the passing of Johnny Storm, the Fantastic Four have morphed into the Future Foundation and added Spider-Man their ranks. I’ll give Hickman this; it’s a dramatic new direction, something that other writers have been unable or unwilling to do. Unfortunately, the book still has the same problems for me; the dialogue sounds wooden and the characters show almost no emotion. The book is just missing… something. And while Epting is a more than competent artist, his style just does not fit a book like FF. The title needs an Alan Davis or John Byrne to make the characters really shine.
If you have enjoyed Hickman’s Fantastic Four run so far, FF will give you more of the same. Unfortunately, for those of us who have been less than impressed by the book, that is really not such a good thing.
Final Grade: C
G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #164
By Larry Hama and S.L. Gallant
In my neighborhood growing up, you were either a G.I.Joe fan or a Transformers fan. Me, I was a G.I.Joe fan and the highlight of my month was when the new issue of the Marvel G.I.Joe series hit the local pharmacy spinner rack. I still have my (almost) complete run and would never part with them. Now while the Devil’s Due and, later, IDW revivals were fun, they were missing one crucial component: Larry Hama. Well, last May, IDW announced Hama was finally returning to G.I.Joe and picking up right where he left off. How does the comic hold up? Beautifully.
Much like how Hama wrote the old Marvel series, there are no arcs or series within a series. This is one continuing soap opera with guns and ninjas. In #164, Cobra attacks the new Pit and we get a Snake-Eyes/Storm Shadow fight to boot. Reading this issue, it’s like I’m 12 years old again. Hama has lost none of his affinity for the cast and what makes a good G.I.Joe comic book. The pencils by Gallant are nothing special, but the art was never the selling point of G.I.Joe; Hama was.