Fantastic Four #12 proves to be a dull and unimaginative throwaway issue, and everyone involved in it just seems to have picked up their fee.
Thought I would dip into the Fantastic Four this week, so picked up Fantastic Four #12 (of the ongoing title — legacy number #657 dontcha know) and since I was always a sucker for a Thing vs Hulk fight, I figured this would be a good issue to grab.
The cover of Fantastic Four #12 is of course the usual image associated with this kind of issue: Hulk and Thing punching each other in the face. It looks weird though, Thing just doesn’t look right, more wooden than stony. The Hulk seems out of proportion too, with a strange haircut and both characters seem to be having problems with their legs. Not a great start but lets jump in anyway.
Dan Slott starts with a good helping of foreshadowing, having Mr Fantastic announce that The Thing will return to his Ben Grimm form in just under 12 hours, which is great as Ben and Alicia are finally going on honeymoon, so that’s handy, for everyone.
The happy couple makes their way to “a remote island hidden away in the tropics.” Yes, that is what it says, as Dan probably felt naming a real island would work against him in some way. Or he couldn’t be bothered looking one up.
When they arrive, they are met by a bell boy who makes a secret phone call to an unknown bad guy, informing them the couple has arrived. How exactly this works might remain a mystery that Fantastic Four #12 doesn’t explain. Did the villain know about the remote island honeymoon, then bribe a bell boy on the said hidden island to phone him when they get there? Is there only one hotel and one bell boy, or did the bad guy visit the island, and tell every hotel worker that The Thing will be arriving some time, and they should phone him the minute he does? It just makes no sense.
Once the call is made, the master plan is struck, and the reveal is that Alicia’s villainous dad The Puppet Master has created the whole plan so he can possess The Immortal Hulk, and send him to the hidden island to murder Ben.
The fight ensues, and The Hulk, controlled by the worst father in law in the world, causes so much damage that a mountain explodes causing a landslide that could possibly kill Alicia.
With Alicia buried under rubble, The Thing squares up to The Hulk, however in under an hour he will return to being just Ben Grimm, and The Puppet Master can have his final revenge of certain doom. Or something.
There is also a backup story in Fantastic Four #12 of The Future Foundation, but I had lost the will to read by this point and gave up.
This book cost $4.99. There are 20 pages of the main story, and it is part one of what I assume to be a 2-part story. Basically, this is not a lot of bang for your buck, and this story has been done before, but with more style.
Lee and Kirby would have had this done while also keeping us up to date on another three or four plotlines, while setting up another three or four plotlines, and it would have been done in one issue, including the fight scene, the capture of the villain, and the set up for the next one. Maybe it is the way of the modern comic writer these days, but paying 5 bucks for a throwaway story like Fantastic Four #12 seems cheap, lazy and boring. The story is so badly paced that the reveal of The Puppet Master on page 12 destroys any mystery, and throwing The Immortal Hulk in here seems like a ploy to get more readers looking at this book.
Maybe Fantastic Four #12 was a bad jumping-on point, but I will not be returning for issue #13, as I don’t think anything will happen. Alicia will be fine, Thing will be fine, Hulk will return to his own book, and this will probably not be mentioned again. Dull, unimaginative and everyone just picking up the bill for it.