History Note: Hickman’s run can get really confusing at times, so I’m going to do a little bit note each issue about a character. Today’s is on Maximus the Mad. (He looks like a space version of Luke Cage to me in this issue, also starting to run out of people for this)
Powers:He has a superior intellect over most of his Inhuman brethren, as well as telepathic powers gifted to him by the Terrigan Mists. He can create short term amnesia and numb the effects of pain in the mind, but due to mental instability, his powers are very limited.
Fantastic Fact: He was voiced by Mark Hamil in the 1994 Fantastic Four cartoon.
Importance to Fantastic Four: Once a villain against both the Fantastic Four and his brother Black Bolt, since Black Bolt’s return, Maximus has returned to join Black Bolt’s council as his Science adviser and helped design Attilian’s war machines.
Writer: Johnathan Hickman
Artist: Barry Kitson
Inks: Barry Kitson
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: Mark Choi & Morry Hollowell
Editor: Tom Breevort, Lauren Sankovitch, John Denning
Forever the same: Johnny Storm’s Annihilation Wave is being badly defeated by the Kree, despite the Inhumans intervention. At the same time, Earth is being destroyed by the debris from the Annihilation Wave being destroyed. As a last measure, Reed and Sue summon Galactus to the playing field, who is angry they summoned him for the wrong reason. While the Kree is planning on destroying the Inhumans for good, Galactus destroys the Kree Armada. The Supremor orders the Kree to fight to the last man in order to destroy the Inhumans, but then the Celestials arrive and Galactus reveals this is why he is needed; Galactus vs. the Mad Celestials for the fate of Earth.
Flame On: Barry Kitson, how I love thee. His art is on fire this issue, where he inks himself according to an absence of inkers on the title page. His backgrounds are breath taking, his characters (both up close and in the background) are rendered nicely, and his portrayal of the Fantastic Four’s powers are fun and creative, especially Reed’s. And his rendition of Galactus? Badass is probably the only term that could describe it. He really manages to pick up the slack of Hickman’s script in this issue, maybe more so than ever before and I’m really glad he gets to draw next issue’s battle between Galactus and the Mad Celestials.
Rock Solid: Galactus steals the show in this issue centered on his chess piece moving on to the playing field. Cryptic, but not to the point of annoyance, he sets up potential for Reed to ultimately save the day. (My money is still on Franklin though) Galactus is here to be the unbeatable playing piece, draining four planets of their life force in rapid succession in preparation for his upcoming battle with the Mad Celestials, who have been on a killing rampage in the Future Foundation title.
Sue Storm once again takes ass and kicks names, defending her unconscious husband and looking damn fine well doing so. She even shows a strand of sympathy in her attack, which would make it all the more frightening if you were those Kree warriors. And considering it was her who decides to call in Galactus, that makes her probably the most valuable human player this issue, since Johnny’s fleet failed to save Earth.
Intangible: Johnny Storm is just as fierce a warrior as his sister in this issue, perhaps even more so, but as much as I like this more mature take on Johnny, I would love to see him crack at least one joke. Ben doesn’t seem too bothered by the end of the world to make lame jokes, someone shut him up please, so why can’t Johnny or Peter make one genuinely lame funny joke that would lighten the mood for a second? Johnny being the key character in this storyline has come to an end at this point, he’s just a member of the Fantastic Four again.
The heroes fighting the debris on Earth is beautiful to look at, but ultimately pointless. Actually the scenes on Attilian and with the Supremor are pointless as well at this point, since Galactus and the Celestials made all they talked of doing against one another a moot point for this issue. Not to mention the dialogue in all three non Fantastic Four scenarios was nothing to be impressed by.
Stretched Too Thin: There was nothing wrong per say about this issue, it was just one big fight scene. Well, except for the use of a certain beloved character in this issue…
A Blue Moment: Spider-Man literally has two lines this whole issue, neither of which are jokes or smart and it really felt like Hickman was just randomly handing out obvious statements to characters on a rotation. And when they do a group reaction shot, Spider-Man is half cut out of the damn image. That being said, Spider-Man does look to be kicking some ass in the fight scenes, until Johnny hogs all the glory. Still, he does nothing that requires him being here all issue, unless you count the fact he’s still holding Johnny’s Annhilius, which made me chuckle; Spider-Man’s future with the Fantastic Four has become that of a dog walker, taking aliens for walks and cleaning up their mess is mandatory.
If you’re actually wondering about his future in the Fantastic Four books, read the FF #14 review coming out later today.
Forever isn’t long at all, when I’m with you: As I stated earlier, this issue served two purposes. One was to bring Galactus to the stage in time for his fight against the Mad Celestials. The other was to show a fight that showed just how screwed the Earth is, but we’ve seen this for the last two issues as well. The script has some truly great moments with characters like Sue Storm, but has some truly bad dialogue with characters like Ben Grimm. In the end though, Barry Kitson’s art saves this issue and gives the oomph it needed to break even of coming directly in the middle of a rating. 3/5