Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fantastic Four #558 Review

Written by Mark Millar
Art by Bryan Hitch

Wow, I was not expecting this issue to be this much fun. I'd wager this was the best issue of the Millar / Hitch run. It just felt like there was story on every page compared to the previous four issues, which were quick reads and felt like a lot of decompression was being used.

As you can see by the cover, someone put a beating on Dr Doom and he's come seeking Reed Richards help. Unfortunately, only Thing is on hand to help him and, before he can do anything, Doom's pursuers are on them.

They consist of three super powered individuals, one looking like Colossus, another looking similar to Human Torch and a female that can project nightmares into a persons mind. It is later revealed they are the new Defenders team, along with several other characters, including Johnny's new / ex-girlfriend.

While the female was busy incapacitating Doom, Thing tries to stop them and ends up being beat down by the Colossus lookalike and then blasted out of the building, and through several others, by the Torch knock off. He didn't use fire based powers, despite looking like the Torch, so I'm not sure what his deal is.

I'd wager this was the best issue of the Millar / Hitch run.  
During the aftermath, Reed visits the Raft and is told how Dr Doom was "freed" after being captured in a recent Mighty Avengers story. Seems the three Defenders broke in, captured Doom and left in about 36 seconds flat. Doom eventually escaped from them and that's how he came to the Baxter Building.

On the Fantastic Four nanny side of things, their new nanny has a chat with Valeria and we find out Valeria is nearly a Reed Richards level intellect and has been hiding her expanding mind over the past three months as her calculations show it would cause a huge rift between Reed and Franklin with all the attention on her. The nanny reveals she knows all about Valeria's abilities and the scene cut away before it revealed who the nanny really was, butValeria knows who it is. Maybe Agatha Harkness?

The issue ends with the focus on the Defenders at their base, the captive Dr Doom strung up and completely motionless. This is where the biggest shock came as the Defenders all defer to, I assume, their leader, Dr Bruce Banner, who looks like the super smart Hulk from when Banner was in control of the Hulk persona. Is it the Hulk from this week's 1985 issue? 1985 is supposed to tie-in to this somehow. There was no mention of the mysterious Wyncham character in this issue, so I'm at a loss to explain this, but it was a great ending to this issue.

Verdict - Must Read. If skipped the first arc of Millar's FF run, you might want to take a look at this one. As much fun as those first four issues were, they pale in comparison to this one. Pretty much has all things you'd want in an FF comic - family focus, high concept adventures, interesting villains and Dr Doom to boot.

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