Wednesday Comic Reviews: FF 4 And Amazing Spider-Man 662

FF continues its journey into the creation of a superhero comic book tesseract, infinitely complex and folded in on itself.

We have Reed Richards teaming up with his greatest enemies to defeat three other ruthless Reed Richards. It’s a game of quintuple bluff, with so many protagonists (and possible antagonists) all with their own agendas, overlapping on this one point. Everyone is playing each other, everyone has their own opinions on each others actions and we begin with… slicing sandwiches for the kids. And Spider-Man.

This continues, issue by issue, to be a beautifully sculpted comic book, as the snake eats itself and it’s hard to find a way in, each aspect of the book seems to balance on another, holding each other up, put impossible to stand with a missing piece. Barry Kitson adds some much needed emotion to the characters here, Mad Thinker especially as a troubled, conflicted planner, Diablo stepping back as an amused observer. Meanwhile the families of the FF, the children and child-like creatures that run around the corridors have their own dynamics in pushing the story through.

I love this book. Even at twenty pages.

I usually love Amazing Spider-Man as well, but the wit and wisdom usually associated with this title seems to be missing a beat. The first story by previous-Avengers Academy writer Christos Gage continues Spider-Man’s eduction of said students in the field and up against a Psycho-Man, a villain perfectly pitched for this adolescent group. But the story seems to be as simplistic as the art style from Reilly Brown and while this is probably closer to classic Spider-Man of a previous decade, it doesn’t have their character complexities, and this  comes off as glib.

Dan Slott’s chapter is ephemeral, building up to Infested, again giving us a small slice in the life of someone who has woken up with Spider powers in a split narrative format with Spider-Man, which works very effectively for its two pages, and looks gorgeous to boot, Rios creating flames rolling round and around.

Fran Tieri’s story however is beautifully told until the very last panels where it becomes an example of overegging the pudding, the final panel is a reveal that we’ve already seen with a handing over of a business card. It’s just too much, that turns a light story of redemption, with an engagingly light art style from Javier Rodriguez to match, into one pulled down by the leadiness of its own construction. Very much the opposite of the way that FF does things; its a thud that lets down the rest of the story.

But as an anthology, while it has ups and downs, one can jump from one story to another and you get a lot for your $3.99. Though I’m happier to pay more per page for FF in this case.

Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics in London. Currently hosting a Paul Duffield exhibition, watch for their Slovenian Comix gallery from the 12th of June and a signing by Klaus Janson on the 15th June.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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