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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 94

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

I wouldn’t normally do this, as I featured a Fantastic Four moment yesterday, but then I noticed that today’s date was 4/4, and come on, how could I pass that up?!?! So today we look at a neat moment from Walt Simonson’s Fantastic Four run.

Enjoy!

The issue at question here is the classic Fantastic Four #352, which if I’m not mistaken, has yet to be reprinted, which is annoying. Come on, Marvel, we need a third volume of Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walt Simonson!

Anyhow, at the end of Fantastic Four #350 (there was a fill-in issue between #350 and #352, which is annoying, but since FF #350 was extra-sized and FF #352 is insanely complicated, I guess it’s fair enough), Doctor Doom challenges Mister Fantastic to a duel to the death – THROUGH TIME!

Reed takes him up on the challenge, and for the rest of the issue, you have two timelines. On the left hand of the page (in color) you have the Fantastic Four, progressing in real time. On the right hand of the page you have Reed and Doom, battling through a different chronology than “real time.” When they are in time, they are black and white and when their battle gets them in sync with the “real” timeline, then they are in color. The battle is time-stamped so you can follow Reed and Doom’s fight by following the time stamp. Page 1 may be 1:06 while Page 2 would be 1:22 and then Page 3 would be 1:14. You would have to flip back and forth to keep track of the fight.

Here’s two sample pages (click to enlarge)…

Get the (awesome) drift?

Well, while really the whole issue is amazing and it is difficult to pick just one “moment,” I guess if I had to, I’d go with the finale of the fight (also click to enlarge)…

What an amazing issue by Simonson (and sadly, one of his last few issues on the title).

10 Comments

Clever!

I’ve been thinking of buying one of the many (official?) Fantastic Four DVD-ROMs listed on eBay – after reading this, I’m definitely going to check out whats on there now!

One of many terrific things about this particular issue is that the cover is a key part of the story (though you don’t realise that when you pick the book up).

I think Simonson’s run on FF is my favourite! I can’t recommend it too highly. I don’t think there was a single dud issue in his whole (too short) run, and many were just sheer genius – like this one.

My appreciation of Simonson’s FF was dragged down because of the fact that I had just read his Thor for the first time, and nothing compares to that. Still, this was a very clever and entertaining run that deserves to be collected in its entirety. But pretty weird to choose this issue as a “moment” when the entire issue is the moment. Kind of misses the point of a moment being a brief period of time.

I agree that this sort of stretches the definition of “moment,” but what the hey. Great issue from a great run.

It is indeed a shame it didn’t last even a bit longer, especially given what followed. (I think Tom DeFalco’s a great guy, and he’s written a lot of excellent comics, but his years on the FF were not a high point.)

And speaking of DeFalco, he sort of mucked up a bit of the storyline when Doom returned in FF#350 and “cured” Kristoff with a backup story in FF #358. Titled “The Official Story”, it showed a servant of Doom’s called the Editor (DeFalco himself?). He plays back the scene where Doom says the code word “ouroboros” that snaps Kristoff out of his mind wipe. Another character says…”but that’s not what happened…what about the great battle and loss of life…the truth?” While the idea of Doom having an official biographer who puts his own spin on things is cool I can’t imagine why DeFalco chose that moment to retcon. Issue #350 is also the issue that started a whole lot of speculation Doombot appearances. Simonson once explained here and the old usenet comic book MBs that he thought that Doom would never go around begging to find help getting his position restored in Latveria. In #350, Doom states he’d been far away in some other unspecified time or place. BTW, I suspect the Doombot in this story, which Doom calls the greatest of the bunch and decided to keep for further study, is probably the one Brubaker used in “Books of Doom”

For the question about the FF DVD, the company that Marvel gave permission to produce the comics is called Gitcorp, or Graphics Imaging Technology, inc. For the FF, they made 2 FF discs and the second one included the Silver Surfer solo series and went a bit farther into the FF run than the first. Marvel has since terminated the agreement, I suppose because of the online digital comics subscription service.

I have no idea what if any significance was intended for that back-up in FF #358. I interpreted the scene as depicting a video of the events in FF #350 being given new dialogue, and assumed the “great battle and loss of life” referred to the storming of the castle by the Doombot army; as I recall a number of (apparently) human guards were involved in that fight.

If there was any other motive behind that little story, it flew completely over my head. It’s also kind of amusing that it did nothing to refute the apparent death of Kristoff in FF #350, which was later overturned by DeFalco without any explanation or commentary whatsoever.

(Of course, it became very obvious that Tom was flying by the seat of his pants, and repeatedly detouring or discarding long term plots, e.g. the “Great Enemy” fizzle. Obviously you live and learn.)

ANYway.

It’s debatable as to how large a conflict Simonson intended because we don’t see any on panel deaths involved in the battle with the guards and renegade Doombots. But you are right about Kristoff’s being completely ignored too. One can only assume that Doom was the one that put him in that stasis tube when he is discovered in the Tibetan monastery by Sue and Nathaniel.

But more interesting…. here is a link to an article called “When the Fantastic Four Lived Up to Their Name” from Time magazine (2001) on this very issue being discussed…

http://www.time.com/time/columnist/arnold/article/0,9565,104312,00.html

cool and outrageous fun loved that scene the back and forth of doom and reed and the thing and the robot . marvel needs to reprint this in a trade. for a cool moment like this needs to be in fans hands new ones most

Mike Loughlin

April 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm

The whole run was fun, and 352 is the crown jewel. Anyone know what Simonson’s doing now? I haven’t seen his name on a comic since he did a single-issue Hawkman story.

Simonson rocked my socks off! After years of Byrne portraying Reed as a wimpy, aloof scientist-by-choice, hero-by-circumstance, Simonson brought him closer to Lee and Kirby’s original portrayal as the coolest man in the universe with an amazing jawline. One of the things that I liked about that method of characterization was that it clearly showed how much Reed liked being the leader and how his mild arrogance could be a character flaw in itself. Heck, Simonson even managed to make She-Thing a likable character, so his genius at FF is indisputable. Sadly, his run is too often forgotten in favor of Byrne or Waid’s.

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