FF #8: The tricky thing (sorry, that was totally unintentional) about picking a standout moment from reading a bunch of comics every week is that I try to defy my own expectations. And while, I loved sequences from Daredevil, Hawkeye and some of the other comics that came out last Wednesday — more on those in a coming Panel Discussion — this part of Matt Fraction and Mike Allred's alt-Fantastic Four book won out by making me laugh out loud unexpectedly. Why? Because it memorializes a terrible Hanna-Barbera carton that nobody should ever remember.
That 'Thing ring' line comes Fred & Barney Meet the Thing, a woeful animated series that featured neither the Flintstones' friends or the rest of the Fantastic Four. For some damn reason, it had as its star a teenage version of Ben Grimm who ran around as a human until it was time to do something super. Who knows why this thing existed? I have no idea why Fraction and Allred decided to integrate in FF but I'm glad they did. The thought that said integration brings to mind is that the idea that everything counts in the long, twisting lives of serially published superhero characters. It's all raw ore for something awesome to be forged in the future. Nothing need be wasted.
The rest of the issue testifies to that, too. This is, after all, a series about lesser-light characters substituting for Marvel's first family. Alex Power, who debuted in the wonderful and weird Power Pack kids' comic, back in the '80s, finds himself up against Doctor Doom. The Moloids have moved from nameless cannon fodder to creatures with thoughts, feelings and surprising revelations. Lost things can find their way to a higher realisation, in the right moments and in the right hands. That's what this new iteration of FF seems to be all about.
Lazarus #1: When we look at the monarchy-based societies of the past, we do so through the blurry lens of history, dazzled sometimes by the finery and mythology built up around the royal families. So, the best thing about writer Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's new Image Comics series is the fact that it shows how wretched near-future feudalism would be.
The creators don't show much of the world Lazarus happens in, but they tease us with enough to make want to know more. Seed vaults filled with food whose abundance we take for granted. Merciless rule by the super-rich where innocents sacrifice themselves to appease those same super-rich. And, yeah, a woman who somehow can get up after being mortally wounded and apparently dead for two minutes. In lesser hands, this stuff would be middling. But Rucka and Lark — along with Fatale writer Ed Brubaker — worked together on the beloved DC Comics police procedural Gotham Central. I'll follow then anywhere, even if that destination is a just-around-the-corner glimpse into the future that makes me a little queasy.
What about you? What sequences or covers from this week's comics made your eyeballs happy? Share ‘em in the comments below.