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Ghost of Van Lente Past: Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #21-28

Van Lente recently finished up a nice run on Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four (particularly when you take into account the fact that they’re all one-off tales), and it was filled with a lot of good comics.

The first four issues are drawn by Clay Mann, with the latter four being drawn by Cory Hamscher.

Van Lente opens up with #21, which contained a very amusing story of the Thing becoming the new leader of Mole Man’s underground world, but with disastrous results, even though the Thing’s intentions are entirely noble.

The next couple of issues were fairly forgettable, to be honest, except for a fun issue with Skrulls (which only was hurt a little for me personally because Jeff Parker had JUST done a similar story in X-Men: First Class – unless Van Lente’s came first? – so it might have been that Jeff Parker’s story was hurt a little for me personally because Van Lente had JUST done it – I forget).

But the latter half of the run was QUITE notable.

First off, #25 has a very entertaining tale of Johnny Storm traveling through alternate realities.

That is followed up by #26’s re-telling of the coming of Galactus, which Van Lente manages to handle in one issue, without it even seeming that rushed! It was very impressive, especially as Van Lente manages to wring a lot of pathos out of a story that, let’s face it, we’re all so familiar with by now that it is hard to get any reaction out of us.

The next issue was a very amusing tale introducing the Inhumans. Again, Van Lente packs a whallop in one single issue, as he manages to get a lot of dialogue, characterization AND action all in one comic (as the Inhumans have Crystal date Johnny Storm so they can gain access to Reed Richards – the comic is the Inhumans coming over for dinner).

Van Lente’s final issue of the run was a humdinger, as it stars Silver Surfer (irritatingly enough, the issue came out well AFTER the Fantastic Four film was released), with the main villain being essentially Oprah Winfrey!!

It’s as madcap and hilarious as it sounds.

All said and done, I would definitely recommend Van Lente’s run on Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four.

Hark how the bells,
sweet silver bells,
all seem to say,
throw cares away

Van Lente Day is here,
bringing good cheer,
to young and old,
meek and the bold,

Ding dong ding dong
that is their song
with joyful ring
all caroling

One seems to hear
words of good cheer
from everywhere
filling the air

Oh how they pound,
raising the sound,
o’er hill and dale,
telling their tale,

Gaily they ring
while people sing
songs of good cheer,
Van Lente Day is here,

Merry, merry, merry, Van Lente Day,
Merry, merry, merry, Van Lente Day,
On on they send,
on without end,
their joyful tone
to every home
Dong Ding dong ding… dong! Bong!

3 Comments

I enjoyed the defeat of Galactus in the Marvel Adventures FF. It is one of the few Galactus losses that I enjoy, because it did not make Galactus look like a jobber. It made Reed Richards look insanely intelligent.

The one with Johnny travelling between realities is one of my favorite comics of the year.

I need to be on the lookout when these show up in the Two-In-One volume my grocery store carries. I usually get all my comics in trades, but I love the Spider-Man/FF & Avengers/X-Men Two-In-One books. So far I’ve only seen the Torch reality jumping and Galactus story.

I know this is Van Lente Day, but Peter David has some great literary touches in his stories that make them particularly suited for the classroom.

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