Thursday, February 2, 2012

First 10 - Fantastic Four

Because I am now a busy grad student, I can't read comic books at the pace I was back when I didn't have anything to do all day (I read 40 years of X-Men in 6 months). I've spent so much time on X-men I have neglected other series that I really wanna read. Due to time constraints, I decided to read the first 10 issues of various comic book series. This gives me a feel for their particular flavor and will help me decide how to spend my nerd time when the sweet relief of spring break comes.

Stan Lee once said that the Silver Age of comic books was really the Golden Age for him and Marvel. Most of the iconic Marvel franchises (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, X-Men, as well as revamped series such as Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers and others) were launched between 1961 and 1963. I absolutely love Marvel comics of the 1960s. You can tell that Stan Lee was eager to write the comics and guys like Ditko and Kirby were all too happy to draw them. The creative juices at Marvel were flowing and the fact that they were loving every minute of it shows in each issue in Marvel's Golden Age.

The Fantastic Four was the first superhero team Stan Lee ever put together. I was first made aware of The Fantastic Four from the animated series in the 90's. At the time I thought Reed Richards was a bit of a clown, Susan Storm was meh, and Johnny Storm and The Thing were awesome (who doesn't want it to be clobberin' time?). From my other Marvel reading, I have come to understand and respect Reed Richards as a super smart non-clown and Susan Storm as a bona fide hottie. That said, it was nice to get into the first 10 Fantastic Four comics.

The sign of a good comic is good villains, and Fantastic Four has one of the best in the business. Dr. Doom is as iconic as any villain anywhere. I'd place him second only to Magneto in all the Marvel universe. Also in the first 10 issues you get to see Namor take on a variety of roles. His love of Sue Storm is an important plot line to lay down early in the series. The first 10 issues of Fantastic Four really have everything you want. You get to see the team get their powers, you meet their most dangerous villain, you get acquainted with some of the internal struggles in the group (Thing's loathing of Johnny Storm, Sue's mixed feelings about Namor, Reed and Thing's affection for Sue), and you get a real taste for what the series has to offer. Because I haven't done any other first 10's yet, Fantastic Four is an early front runner for my spring break nerd time. I'll keep you posted as I get through other first 10's.

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