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Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four (comic)

Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four is the second sequel to Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602. Imagine all your favorite Marvel characters going to a Renaissance Fair and that’s what this storyline is like. The characters have the same powers and personality traits, but they dress and talk like they are in a Shakespearean play. And they kind of are. Otto Von Doom has captured William Shakespeare and it’s up to the Fantastick Four to rescue him and to find out what Von Doom is up to.

Writer Peter David delivers an interesting and intriguing story, but he’s no Neil Gaiman. Gaiman creates complex and nuanced stories… Peter David is clearly trying to copy Gaiman’s style, but it’s hard to emulate a genius and the story falls short of expectations. Pascal Alixe’s artwork is impressive and helps to redeem the weak story. That’s one of the cool things about comics. It doesn’t matter how shitty the story is if it still looks good. You don’t have to read to appreciate art. All in all, it’s a so-so story that’s made better by good artwork and by putting modern characters in a historical setting. You should read it if it sounds interesting to you at all, but it’s not worth buying it.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Kurt Busiek’s Marvels is an epic history of key moments in the Marvel Universe. Instead of being shown from the side of metahumans, it is shown from the side of regular people. Marvels is the story of photojournalist Phil Sheldon. He experiences firsthand the awe and fear that superheroes inspire. The Human Torch, Namor, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, a few X-Men and tons of other Marvel characters make appearances.

The story is pretty interesting, but once again the artwork takes center stage. Alex Ross is an amazing artist. Marvels lets him cut loose and depict iconic figures and important moments in the Marvel Universe is stunning, almost photorealistic paintings. Kingdom Come was all aged DC characters, well past their prime. Marvels depicts most of the important Marvel characters in all their glory. The panels seem to come to life.

If superheroes were real, life would be pretty shitty for normal people. And there are a lot more normal people than superheroes. Therefore, the world would be pretty shitty. People would live in a constant state of fear. They would rely on heroes to save them, because that’s what heroes do. But if they don’t get saved, they blame the heroes. If the heroes save the world, the normal people will forget after awhile. Marvels tries to tackle those issues. Phil Sheldon fears the Marvels, grows to accept them, rely on them, and ultimately defend them.

Marvels is a pretty awesome comic. The four issues cram a lot of important Marvel events and characters into a cohesive and interesting story. The artwork transcends the material, and your jaw drops with each turn of the page. It is simply beautiful art. It helps to humanize the heroes, makes them more down-to-earth and approachable, while at the same time idolizing them and putting them on a pedestal. Go read this now. Or at least Google Image Alex Ross paintings and admire those.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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