MIKE GOLD: Fantastic Four – Miracle Day
Hey, here’s a real shock. From all the teaser press releases Marvel sent out yesterday alone, it appears November will see the return of Fantastic Four. Amazing! Incredible! Astonishing! And all sorts of other adjectives Marvel has copyrighted as part of title names.
They’re doing this just in time to miss the actual 50th anniversary of Fantastic Four #1, which happened this past week. Nice timing, guys! It’s sort of like Fleetway launching 2000 AD back in 1977… but calling it 1976 AD.
The event was predicted in this very space a couple weeks ago, but I take no credit. It’s sort of like predicting the sun will rise after the rain passes. So they missed a wonderful marketing opportunity that, in all fairness, would have gotten lost in the Captain America movie hysteria anyway. Big deal. They just jerked us around again, proving DC doesn’t have the market cornered in disingenuous redundancy. We’ll live.
The only question is, when will the Human Torch return? Oh, you think he’ll stay dead? Really? No you don’t. You’ve seen Bucky and Phoenix and Aunt May and, oh, damn, everybody else come back from the dead. Maybe they’ll bring back Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch who was an android and, therefore, never really was alive in the first place. But I think he’s committed to the last couple episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day… and probably Captain America 2: For Whom The Bell Jar Tolls.
(Yeah, it was really cool to see HT in the Cap movie. A genuine fanboy moment that proves I’m not completely jaded. Actually, I’m only jaded for a living.)
Will they go back to some version of the classic costume? Let me answer my own question with another question. Have you bought any action figures lately?
Will Spider-Man stay in the group? I don’t know; lately he’s been bitching about being in too many groups. But unless Johnny Storm returns or Wolverine finds a costume made of unstable molecules with “4X” on the chest, I think he’ll be there for a while. Not a long while. There’ll be a Human Torch there eventually – certainly in time for the next FF movie – and he’ll probably be Johnny.
There are two lessons to be learned here. I’m not addressing this to comics fans, as we learned this lesson a long time ago. I’m addressing this to employees of Marvel and DC Comics.
The first lesson is: no more death stories. They totally lack verisimilitude. And they’re kind of insulting to anyone who has ever lost a loved one. Which is, like, everyone. Second: stop the cancel/replace/revert cycle. We know you’ll revert, usually within two years. It’s just another phony, contrived attempt at attracting sales on the collectibles market. Fight the impulses with another #0 issue complete with nine variant covers, one printed on bubble-gum and shrink-wrapped for your protection.
Ah, well. Even though they could have retitled the book Reed Richards’ Cosmics and Stories, it will be nice to see Fantastic Four back.
Until it’s not.
THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil
- Marvel teases 4 in November – Will it be #600 or the Human Torch? (comicsbeat.com)