Review: Ultimate FF Vol. 2 – Doom; by Warren Ellis

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 2: DoomUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 2: Doom by Warren Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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More tardy Foursome Shallow Buddyreads!

Volume 2 picks up on the hunt for Victor Van Damme, and we discover that he’s had to construct himself a suit of armour to cover his decaying body. He’s based in a squatters area in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Before we get the first showdown before him and the Four, there’s some other stuff to take care of…first off: Warren Ellis is writing!
He’s got a different style than Bendis and Millar, less for the masses, a little more intelligent, but still highly enjoyable. (That isn’t a knock on Bendis or Millar either, I very much enjoy both men’s work).

But here we get explanations of scientific questions about the four that many of us would ask if we ever had the chance: Does Ben still use the potty? (Yes, but it’s not pretty) How strong is he? (7 Tons of psi per hand!) What happens to Reed’s organs when he shifts shapes? (Turns out he doesn’t HAVE any anymore, just some lung-like remnants that oxygenates the blood!)

Very cool stuff. I really liked it.
Victor builds a bunch of robot insects to attack the Baxter Building, which lets Reed know he’s still alive, and he’s got the codes that he changed before the test that changed them all. Reed wants it at all costs, but first, they need to survive the attack. We get to see Reed as the helpless one here, with Johnny and Ben fighting and strong, Sue strong in the use of her powers (and mind, she’s an internal biologist!) and pushes herself to the edge many times.

We also see some jokes about names, like the Human Matchbox, and the Asbestos Thing (Ben isn’t affected by heat in this version, and is also bulletproof (last volume)). We also get introduced to the Fantasti-car, which Reed built at 13, using info Tony Stark put on the internet and his own brain.
Ben and Johnny mock the everloving shit out of Reed, calling everything Fantasti-something. It’s a nice way to develop characters, and also keep Reed from being too high and mighty above everyone else, which was something I always found off-putting about Marvel U Reed a lot of the time.

Sue’s also no slouch intellectually, which I greatly enjoy!

This all leads to a breakout where the Four go after Victor, and we see a showdown, only broken up by the arrival of the Army, and then the realization that he’s got diplomatic immunity…as a Danish citizen…
However, we see a bit more anger and action from Reed here, so it’s a different direction, but I will for sure be following along with this one.


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Review: Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1 – The Fantastic; by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Millar

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The FantasticUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The Fantastic by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Better late than never…my library was just a little slow on the delivery, but I now have a stack of 9 FF volumes to get through for our Foursome Shallow Buddy Read…from LAST week…my bad…

Anyhow, here we go! Welcome to the Ultimate Marvel Universe, a place which varies slightly from the normal Marvel U, and which allows us to tell familiar stories with slight twists…

Here, Reed Richards is still a super smart kid, Ben Grimm is a big jock who defends Reed from bullies in exchange for help with Trigonometry homework, and Sue and Johnny Storm are kids of Dr. Storm, the head of the Baxter Building.
Reed’s father (Gary, not Nathaniel) here is a bit of a dick, mad that Reed breaks the blender and other devices…eventually, the Baxter Building program for super genius scientists recruits him at the Science Fair, and off he goes, but even there, there’s not much love from the family still (mom is OK, but dad isn’t).

Sue is a smart one here, Reed is in love from day one, and Victor (Van Damme, not Von Doom – though I hope it means he’s great at Kung Fu and does Volvo commercials!) is his main rival. Mole Man is a professor at the BB who’s fired for doing human DNA work and General Ross (Thunderbolt?) and Dr. Storm fire him for immoral work.

Johnny’s his usual self, a bit younger, and Ben just happens to come visit one day when they’re doing a big experiment…it goes wrong, and they all wake up in different places with variations of their powers (Earth – Ben, Air – Sue, Fire – Johnny, and Water – Reed (makes more sense than Elastic)) However, Victor is still missing…

There’s a Mole Man creature who shows up to attack the city, and Ben and Johnny dive right into ass-kickery, Reed a little less so…they then discover that Sue was found by Mole Man, and there’s some awkward shit there…

We’re left with the whereabouts of Victor still unknown and the army concerned about what the four have become, especially Ben…

So this is a great variation on the origin story, and a fun place to jump into a series that can alienate by being too high concept and science-y for some of us troglodytes, but it also corrects the blatant sexism of the early 60s FF when they weren’t quite sure how to deal with Sue…

I’m looking forward to continuing the series, and cannot wait to see how Victor will manifest himself. I’m also happy to see the comedy and action mix, courtesy of Bendis and Millar, who wrote this together! Now, onto Vol. 2!

This should have been the required read for Foursome Week…great fun read that’s not too fluffy or too heavy.


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