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Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: FF #6

FF #6
Jonathan Hickman (w), Greg Tocchini (a)

Marvel's cosmic stories always seemed to escape me.  Don't get me wrong, I love Marvel's cosmic stories, but I haven't been keeping up with them lately (my loss since, apparently, all of the stuff that's been happening over in the cosmic section of the Marvel Universe has been some pretty quality storytelling for the last few years), which means the big reveal of Black Bolt leading the Inhumans last issue didn't have as much impact as it should have for me.  Apparently, Black Bolt died fighting the third Summers brother, Vulcan, in the War of Kings storyline a while ago, and now he's back (surprise!) to lead the Inhumans in another impending war, the long(ish)-heralded War of the Four Cities.  This begs the question: Does this even really matter?

I'm more than willing to give Jonathan Hickman the benefit of the doubt on this one.  In his last few years with Marvel, he's developed a reputation for creating some long-game, epic plots.  Black Bolt's return is just another piece of the Fantastic Four/FF puzzle, I'm sure.  I trust that I'll be given a reason to care within the next couple of issues.  But that's kind of the problem, isn't it?  I understand that Hickman is telling a long-form story with a grand design, but he's doing it in a serialized medium, which means that he has the extra challenge of making sure each of these monthly installments matters.  It's difficult because when you're telling a big story like Hickman is, the issue has to serve the grand plot design, but, since he's working in a monthly format, the issue also has to be entertaining on its own.

This issue definitely works to set up another moving part in Hickman's big plan for the Future Foundation, but there's not a whole lot that we can sink our teeth into as a single issue.  Half of the issue is devoted to what the Inhumans are up to after Black Bolt's death (I'm guessing here since I'm not too clear about the timeline of this section of the issue), which seems to mostly involve some standing around and some cryptic arguing.  The other half flashes back to the Kree Empire thousands of years ago.  This part was actually pretty enjoyable for me.  We get a lot of high-science techno babble concerning the Kree's galaxy-spanning eugenics experiments, and there's a cool look into how the Kree Supreme Intelligence works.  However, as cool as it all was, and as fascinating as it is to take a look into how an alien warrior-race like the Kree handle their empire, in the end, the only development we get from this half of the issue is that Black Bolt is basically "The One" destined to explode The Matrix and die for our sins or something, which boils down to "Black Bolt is a tough dude and he's bad-ass" -- something we've known for almost fifty years now.

All in all, it's a pretty frustrating issue because it's not bad, it's just mostly inconsequential.  We get  a new piece to add to the puzzle, but it's a small piece, and we already knew quite a bit about it to begin with.  Now that we've been reintroduced to Black Bolt, maybe next up we'll get a look at what this means to our buddies in the Future Foundation, which is, after all, what we paid our $2.99 to see.

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