Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Only A Mother Could Love: Fantastic Force


When you hit the bargain bin of your local comic shop you're always hoping to strike gold. Like that time you stumbled across the original Nomad 4 issue mini-series, or the time you discovered that first issue of Blackwulf with the kickass Angel Medina art or the glorious day with when you bought yourself six issues of your beloved Thunderstrike for half the price of can of Pepsi. It doesn't always happen but if you keep the faith, think happy thoughts, cross your fingers, believe in fairies and don't eat the yellow snow - it just might.

Like it did to me, yesterday, when I got myself a copy of Fantastic Force #1 (I'm talking the original 90s Tom Brevoort FF spin off, not the recent sexy X-men mini-series).

The best thing about this inaugural issue is how much Fantastic Force sucked! No, not the book - I enjoyed the hell out of the story. I mean the team itself. Boy, did those guys suck!

I mean if you were putting together a team to replace the supposedly dead FF, is this the line-up you'd go for? I mean you've got a 'Cabled-Up*' Franklin Richards all decked out in his psycho armour (seriously, that's what he calls it), you've got Huntara - a Big Barda knock-off with a bitchin' winged helmet and pyschic axe, there's Devlor - a teenage inhuman with the ability to transform from abnoxious 90s schoolkid to a giant, sweaty, pink gorilla and this guy:

That's Vibraxas. He's a dick. He's my favorite. I mean this dude is a Wankandian Black Panther hanger-on/lab experiment who walks around wearing lime green armour and a shiny gold tiara talking about how awesome the powers he shares with the Detroit Era Justice League's resident 90s loser Vibe are. That's some serious self-esteem right there baby.

It's not just that the team are a bunch of nobodys who spend most of the first issue fighting over who is the biggest loser either. It's that they suck at super-heroing too. When Klaw shows up waving around his prosthetic ghetto-blaster arm he basically hands them their collective asses.

Seriously. Klaw. The guy who was Doctor Doom's gibbering prank monkey during Secret Wars and who can be defeated by tossing a moderately sized lump of Wakandan rock at him.

Yet there he is back-handing Vibraxas around like a 'composed-entirely-of-sound' Pete Sampras, punching Devlor's big pink Gorilla though skyscraper windows and shooting an angry yak at Huntara:
My favorite moment of the issue however doesn't even feature a member of the team. Instead it features their over-eager benefactor, slight smug, at times seems almost like he's laughing at the chumps, Black Panther.

Moments before Klaw shows up and cracks open his six-pack of whoop-ass, the Panther conveniently excuses himself to take care of some 'important matters of state'. After we've had our fill of cringing at the teams attempt to defeat Klaw by ramming their faces repeatedly into his fist, the Panther conveniently arrives back of the scene to save the day.

It seems the 'important matters of state' were retrieving his vibranium brass-knucks from the trunk of his car:

That's some awesome work from artist Dante Bastianoni. A killer image, and hands down the most kickass panel in the book.

This book was so much fun. After watching newbie teams like the New Warriors and the Thunderbolts taking down threats like Terrax and the Masters of Evil on their first outing, it was totally refreshing to see these guys sucking complete ass straight out the gate.

You can bet I'll tracking down issue two. I want to see how bad the chick in the metal bikini with a name straight out of Nietzsche kicks their asses.

*Cabled-Up: An acceptable adjective for any character in the 90s who was taken from their time/dimension as a child, raised as a warrior is some distopian future/parrellel dimension, only to come back scarred up/tatted down, sporting hi-tech armour with impractical pointy bits and a bad 'I love-hate-love-hate my daddy' attitude.
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