Tag Archives: fantastic four

Preview: Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four #1

Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four #1

(W) Dan Slott (A) Sean Izaakse (CA) R. B. Silva
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 09, 2020
SRP: $3.99

• The fate of all future Kree/Skrull Wars is placed in the hands of… Reed Richards and his family, the Fantastic Four.
• This is NO standard issue of a Marvel Comic, True Believer. Two MAJOR TURNING POINTS for THE ENTIRE MARVEL UNIVERSE will take place here!
• Also in this issue… The Profiteer returns, but is she here for revenge… or justice? And a special appearance by the most ominous cosmic character of them all, The Unseen!

Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four #1

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Catch-up with FF and Exclusive Black Widow

Greetings, humans! I’m still playing COVID-catch-up and there’s more ground to cover, especially when new Legends, Black Series, and more are primed to hit in the very near future. First, some shopping details . . .

The Land of Pre-Orders: The Marvel Legends Stepford Cuckoos, previously a Walgreens exclusive, are now up for a January pre-order at Big Bad Toy Store. A number of new McFarlane Toys DCU figures just went up for pre-order at various outlets. I just received my ML Moon Knight from Walgreens that I pre-ordered four months ago, review pending. Backing is now closed for the enormously successful HasLabs ML Sentinel. A whole slew of Star Wars Black Series and Vintage Series figures just got posted across channels as well. Budget mightily, my friends.

Walmart Exclusive Marvel Legends Black Widow: God, how I loathe Walmart, Target, and Walgreens exclusives. I can’t think of ANYONE in the fan community that likes the mechanisms. Sure, some of the figures are great, but at this point, Hasbro is risking alienating fans when they have their own perfectly fine delivery system with Hasbro Pulse. I have ZERO complaints about my numerous Pulse orders. I have nothing BUT complaints about every exclusive I’ve obtained (or tried and failed to obtain) from the other outlets. I pre-ordered this particular figure from Walmart, had it cancelled, tried again, had it failed, and finally said f— it and got it on eBay for several more bucks that I wanted to pay.

The main reason that I wanted this Black Widow is that it’s finally doing Natasha in the Frank Miller design that she also wore during her ‘90s tenure in the Avengers as team leader. I really enjoyed a lot of those stories, and since I do shelves based on decades or particular line-ups, this was a must-have for me. Overall, the figure is great. The sculpt is solid, the jacket is well-done, and the hair is perfect. I also enjoy the various accessory pieces for the Widow’s Sting/Bite bracelets, particularly the “smoking gun” versions. I’m lukewarm on the jetpack, but it’s just one in a solid bunch of value-adds. I like the figure a lot, but I wish that it would have come from Pulse or a dependable exclusive partner, like Entertainment Earth.

Marvel Legends Fantastic Four Super-Skrull BAF assortment

Ah, the Super-Skrull. Previously done one time in the somewhat hard-to-find now FF waves that were ML adjacent, he became a much requested figure over time. His presence as the BAF in this group was the tipping point for me, as someone that has a couple of solid runs of FF figures. Let’s cover the six individual figures, and then Super-Skrull.

Mister Fantastic: The new FF figures take their visual inspiration from the art of the terrific Sara Pichelli, who began her run on the team with the new #1 in 2018. I really like her darker take on the costumes and other elements. The latest figures themselves have a lot of carryover from the Walgreens wave of a couple of years ago (which were MUCH easier to find), but there are enough new bits to make them a separate entity. My favorite thing about Reed here is that they finally gave us a bearded Reed. I think that the stretchy fingers are a little bit, well, silly, but it’s a new twist on stretching accessories, so I can dig it.

Invisible Woman: The figure itself feels a bit slight, almost too thin. However, the head sculpt is great and there’s a tremendous accessory in terms of the invisible shield. Honestly, I’m struck  by how much the figure just looks like Sue. I might prefer the Walgreens version to this one; overall it’s good figure that is just overshadowed by other pieces in the line.

Human Torch: The “human” Johnny instead of a fully “Flame On!” Johnny was a good idea, as where the various flame accessories. The hands were well-considered, and the trails of fire look great in a display. It’s hard to give an action figure a cocky attitude, but they managed to do that with the face sculpt. I found this to be really strong work.

The Thing: The big guy is massive. The body is pretty much the same as the Walgreens version, but I do really like the grumpy face. This is a full-on “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” take on Ben that I really enjoy. I think that the rocky surface detail work and the paint wash are really well done, adding some nuance where he could have just been a big, orange, well, thing. I also find the figure to be more poseable that I expected, given its size.

Savage She-Hulk: This is the modern take on the “Savage” She-Hulk that we began to see regularly with the Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness run of Avengers that began in 2018. Of course, Shulkie has a distinguished history with the FF, too. I like this figure more than I expected to, but it’s just not a favorite for me. I like the hair effects, but it feels like the design team trended a little more “sexy” on the body than the slightly more “muscly” look we see in McGuinness’s art.

Doctor Doom: Doom is great, full-stop. I like everything about this take on Doom, and he was the other tipping-point for me to get this wave. The mask and the visible eyes are perfect. Also, the clutching hand is key, in my opinion. Everything about this figure just nails DOOM for me. The cape is very well-done, and the notion of including two different heads with different interpretations of the hooded look is right on. This is peak Doom.

Super-Skrull: No pun intended, but this is one fantastic BAF. I went with the smiling head because, damn, that’s a great expression. I love that we got two arm options; I went with both powered arms. This is a much better treatment than the worst take, and worthy of a long-serving, and fan-favorite, character. This is one of the times that I see the figure and just think, “That’s it; that’s the character.” It’s not a HUGE build-a-figure, but’s it’s an incredibly well-considered use of the BAF idea, and the extra limbs and head are icing. It’s a strong and sensible use of the slot, and it just looks great. Like I said, this was the main driver in me getting the set, and I am not disappointed.

That’s all for now, kids. I’ll be back extremely soon with take on the ML Age of Apocalypse assortment, as well as the Walgreens Exclusive Moon Knight. We’ve got new Star Wars coming in soon, as well as that X-Force/Strong Guy line-up. Thanks for reading.

Preview: Fantastic Four #23

Fantastic Four #23

(W) Dan Slott (A) Paco Medina (CA) Nick Bradshaw
Rated T
In Shops: Sep 02, 2020
SRP: $3.99

• The ultimate Omni-Wave Projector – built by Valeria Richards, powered Franklin Richards. In their hands, it could lay waste to the Empyre…
• …but what if it fell into the hands of the Celestial Assassins? A tipping point in the Empyre saga! A fight that Spider-Man and Wolverine can’t afford to lose! And two lives that that will be forever changed!

Fantastic Four #23

Marvel Teams Up with Fortnite for September and October Variants

The worlds of Marvel and the Island collide in Nexus War in Fortnite Chapter 2 – Season 4! This new season will feature your favorite Marvel heroes crossing over with the amazing world of the Fortnite via character skins, weapons, comics – and a new series of stunning variant covers releasing this September and October!

Some of the industry’s top artists including Joe Quesada, Ed McGuinness, Sara Pichelli, Russell Dauterman, and more will showcase Fortnite favorites like Blaze and Carbide side by side with the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the X-Men! Check out the complete list of the Fortnite variant covers coming your way:

  • AVENGERS #36 Fortnite Variant by Sara Pichelli
  • FANTASTIC FOUR #24 Fortnite Variant by Giuseppe Camuncoli
  • SAVAGE AVENGERS #12 Fortnite Variant by Adam Kubert
  • MARAUDERS #13 Fortnite Variant by Russell Dauterman
  • THOR #8 Fortnite Variant by Olivier Coipel
  • VENOM #29 Fortnite Variant Aaron Kuder
  • X-FORCE #13 Fortnite Variant Joshua Cassara
  • AVENGERS #37 Fortnite Variant by Mark Brooks
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA #24 Fortnite Variant by Ed McGuinness
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL #22 Fortnite Variant by Iban Coello
  • GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #7 Fortnite Variant by Javier Garron
  • IRON MAN #2 Fortnite Variant by Marco Checchetto
  • X-MEN #13 Fortnite Variant by Joe Quesada

Set in Marvel Comics continuity, the events of NEXUS WAR take place between the panels of THOR #4, which released this past March. To learn more, don’t miss a special 10-page Fortnite/Thor crossover story written by Donny Cates and drawn by Greg Land in FANTASTIC FOUR #24, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled in Marvel comics to catch hints of where these characters go – and return from – next!

Review: Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1

Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1

The combination of Mark Waid and Neal Adams together on a comic alone is something that catches my interest. While Waid has tackled the Fantastic Four before, Fantastic Four: Antithesis is the first time Adams has taken on Marvel’s first family. Unfortunately, Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 doesn’t quite excite enough to match the build up of these two titans teaming up on a series.

Much of Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 is a set up for what and when this take on the Fantastic Four takes place. It’s a “retro” story in that it’s quite some time ago when Franklin and Valeria are young kids. And the fact it takes place some time ago is possibly the most intriguing part of it.

After a battle with Annihilus the team is faced with a threat of an object hurtling to Earth and specifically New York City. The team has to spring to action to save the city and from there, it’s a mystery that gets the series really moving.

There’s nothing terribly bad with Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 but there’s also nothing terribly exciting either. Waid’s writing is reminiscent to his past runs on the series with a “classic” feel to the team. His style for the series has more in common with runs from the 80s and earlier than in recent years.

Adams art, with ink by Mark Farmer and color by Laura Martin, is fine as well. The character features that “Adams” style and he gives some sweeping visuals that bring excitement to Waid’s story. But, like the story itself, the visual again feel a bit like a throwback. The art is a bit better than recent outings from Adams with DC but it’s definitely not the Adams of the past.

Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 is just fine. After the first issue, the comic feels like it’d be a much better read as a graphic novel than monthly release. There’s a throwback quality to it that’s fun and having a story that doesn’t feel like it immediately impacts the modern Marvel continuity is nice. It’s that standalone that’s not quite one. It comes off as a shelved script that Waid didn’t work into his run on the series.

While not bad, Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 is one for the hardcore Waid and Adams fans.

Story: Mark Waid, Neal Adams Art: Neal Adams
Ink: Mark Farmer Color: Laura Martin Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation:

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Enter the Phoenix with These Variant Covers in November

“I AM PHOENIX!” Those immortal words will take on new life this December when Jason Aaron and Javier Garron’s next great Avengers epic, “Enter the Phoenix,” begins. To anticipate the return of the cosmic chaos-bringer, your favorite Marvel characters will be reborn as Phoenix hosts this November in astonishing variant covers by some of the industry’s top artists including Salvador Larroca, Kris Anka, and Aaron Kuder. Captain America, Black Panther, and She-Hulk are no longer the heroes you knew as they bond with the Phoenix Force to spread rebirth—or destruction—throughout the Marvel Universe. In the end, only one will be chosen to wield this terrifying and great power when the Phoenix Force chooses a new host.

Find out more when “Enter the Phoenix” begins this December but in the meantime, check out the Phoenix Variant covers listed below and keep your eyes peeled for more coming your way in November!


Preview: Fantastic Four #22

Fantastic Four #22

(W) Dan Slott (A) Paco Medina (CA) Nick Bradshaw
Rated T
In Shops: Aug 05, 2020
SRP: $3.99

The return of the new Fantastic Four?!
• The events of EMPYRE threaten all life on Earth and the future balance of power throughout the cosmos!
• And the secret mission that the FF have placed into Valeria and Franklin’s hands requires some big-league help!

Fantastic Four #22

Review: Jack Kirby – The Epic Life of the King of Comics

Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics

Coming off his work on Fantastic Four Grand Design as judging by his art style and themes in comics like Super Powers, Godland, and American Barbarian, cartoonist Tom Scioli is an excellent choice to write, draw, color, and letter a graphic biography of Jack Kirby, who co-created Captain America, Hulk, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, New Gods, and characters too numerous to mention. In Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics, Scioli tells the story of Kirby’s life using a first-person narrative device drawing on a backlog of interviews and magazine articles about him while occasionally shifting the narrator to his beloved wife, Roz Kirby, and his collaborator/rival/general pain in the ass, Stan Lee to show their sides of Kirby’s life.

The main takeaway I got from Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics was that his life and vivid imagination were almost always linked, and Scioli shows this by drawing Kirby wide-eyed, almost like Astro Boy compared to his more realistic portrayals of the characters around him. There ends up being a big, emotional payoff to this technique, and it’s interesting to see Scioli’s art style shift with the time that Kirby was living in from the classic adventure and humor strips that took him away from gloomy New York to the power and pain of his war days where he escaped death so many times. This is followed up by the chameleon days of the 1950s where Kirby and Joe Simon tried to keep up with the latest trends in the industry like crime and Westerns and even invented a new one: romance, the 1960s where Kirby turned monsters into superheroes and created pop culture icons, the 1970s where he was freed from dialogue balloon fillers-in and could create a new mythology that was both epic and personal.

Finally, the story concludes in Kirby’s twilight years where he finally got things like health insurance and paid days off to take a trip to Israel with Roz and spend more time with his family while working in animation, getting royalties for his New Gods characters, and getting his greatest paycheck yet when the Image Comics founders inked some of his old, unpublished art to create Phantom Force. After Kirby’s death, Scioli does away with his usual six panel grid and uses smaller screens with photorealistic drawings of everything from Frank Miller eulogizing him to photorealistic style panels of stills from movies from 2000’s X-Men to the upcoming Eternals and New Gods, which draw almost solely from his vision.

But for every great idea or creation, there’s a reversal with Jack Kirby spending as much time in heated arguments in offices and occasionally court rooms as at the drawing board creating stories and worlds. However, Tom Scioli spends plenty of time showing Jack Kirby in the act of penciling or plotting comics drawing on everything from a documentary about Easter Island to the personality differences between conniving Stan Lee and affable Larry Lieber (Who was huge fan of Kirby’s Captain America as a kid) to develop the first bad guys in Journey into Mystery (And later, Thor.) as well as the relationship between Thor, Loki, and Odin. From early pages where Kirby is sprawled out with the full color Sunday comics section on his building’s fire escape, Scioli portrays him as sponge for stories and pop culture of all kinds, especially mythology and speculative fiction.

Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics

Instead of being a nerd and hoarding comics or toys in his room, Kirby combined these rich stories with his experiences as a member of a youth gang in New York or as a soldier in World War II to create stories that are both relatable and full of wonder even if a few like Stuntman and True Divorce Stories didn’t get made or got less hype than Captain America or Fantastic Four. Every movie, conversation, or story told to him became fodder for Kirby’s own work, and those around him realize this before him. For example, in the 1970s, DC Comics wanted him to do a horror story in the vein of Swamp Thing, which wasn’t his favorite genre, so after a pep talk from his assistants Mark Evanier and Steve Sherman, he created Etrigan the Demon by riffing off a scene in Prince Valiant where the protagonist disguises himself as one. Scioli’s grid darts from inspiration or conversation to penciled page and then success. (Or sometimes failure) However, that success is undercut by the exploitation that is a running theme throughout the comic, and it’s almost cathartic when the Ruby-Spears animators treat Kirby reverently as he works on the Thundarr the Barbarian cartoon.

Tom Scioli’s most visually compelling sequences in Jack Kirby are the portrayal of his war days where he acted as a scout going through enemy territory and using his talents that he previously lent to Captain America or Boy Commandos to maps of Nazi positions. There’s the uncertainty of the early days of training in Georgia and hiding out in buildings in France before being immediately drawn into combat during the heady post D-Day battles. Scioli’s bright or neutral palette goes dark or red as he realizes that his unit is basically on a suicide mission, and this tension continues to Kirby’s days as a scout with lots of lots of scarlet when he kills Nazis with a knife taken from an SS officer. It’s not dynamic and powerful like Jack Kirby’s superhero action stories; it’s just war. Kirby was just fighting to stay alive for another day and get home to see his wife, Roz. The most searing scene of all is when Kirby helps liberate a concentration camp, and Scioli draws a survivor like a living skeleton.

Kirby’s resistance towards fascism from basically telling the German American Bund that he would beat their asses if they showed up at Timely’s (Later Marvel) offices before World War II to his actions during the war and finally through some of his comics like Nick Fury and The Losers, which were based on his military service and the Fourth World saga, which was about freedom and resisting tyranny on a larger more epic level that would influence later creators like George Lucas. (Jack and Roz Kirby watching Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back together in theaters is one of the comic’s most smile inducing moments.) These Star Wars sequences are one of many ways that Tom Scioli looks at the bigger picture of the comics industry, pop culture, and current events to add background color and context to Jack Kirby’s life and work. For example, a depiction of JFK’s assassination immediately bleeds into Mr. Fantastic lying as if dead on the ground as part of Kirby’s big Hulk vs Thing epic in Fantastic Four. He immediately turned his emotions about this tragic event into great art.

Look Inside The Epic Life of the King of Comics and See the Early ...

In a more of an inside baseball way (And honestly, the comics industry of the Golden and Silver Ages is begging to be turned into a Mad Men-esque prestige TV show.), Tom Scioli traces the relationships between Jack Kirby and various comics industry figures over the years. Obviously, Stan Lee takes up most of the space, but there are also some smaller moments like Kirby having a friendly relationship with Bob Kane as yet another freelancer for the Eisner/Iger studio to seeing him as arrogant and obnoxious or the tension between him and his various inkers like Vince Colletta (Who showed his DC pages to Marvel staffers), Mike Royer (Who drew Big Barda like Cher and got chewed out), and Joe Sinnott (Who shows up for one panel with Kirby and a Thing cosplayer). Tom Scioli is interested in both the art and commerce side of making comics, and it shines through the loving touches he gives to both Kirby at his drawing table and Kirby in a shouting match with Stan Lee about credits on their books. His prose is zippy, and Jack Kirby’s dry as a bone humor comes out in his dialogue.

Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics is a carefully crafted, appreciative feast of a biographical comic. Tom Scioli cites his sources in the back but focuses more on trying to get in the mind of Jack Kirby and think about how he would react to everything from his parents’ deaths to another guy trying to date Roz or even Stan Lee trying to slyly steal his Mister Miracle concept art to use in Fantastic Four. With Kirby’s expressive eyes as a kind of spirit guide, the book is a heartbreaking, yet empowering experience, and by the end of the book, I thought that not only would this website not exist without Jack Kirby, that I probably wouldn’t either. And now I’m off to actually finish his Fourth World saga!

Story: Tom Scioli Art: Tom Scioli
Story: 9.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Purchase: AmazonKindle

SDCC 2020: Constantine and the Fantastic Four come to Mezco’s One:12 Collective

During their Saturday reveals, Mezco Toyz has shown off the upcoming Constantine figure as part of their One:12 Collective line.

Also revealed, the Fantastic Four! Yes, Marvel‘s first family is also getting the One:12 Collective treatmet. No figures have been shown but this is a set of figures that have been requested for some time. Can Doctor Doom be far behind?

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