Page 45 Review by Stephen
Astute psychological thriller, lit to a thunderous, midnight perfection, this will in no way appeal to fans of superhero series outside of the likes of Paul Jenkins' & Jae Lee's THE SENTRY and INHUMANS.
I found it both extremely tense and exceptionally funny.
The following is a mash-up of one-liners I loved.
"Sue. It shouldn't sound like that. It's not raining outside..."
"That's not thunder, is it...? It's under the ground...."
"Johnny, I love what you do to me, but these are third degree burns...!"
"Shut up. Stop trying to hurt us, you stupid, lonely, ignorant man!"
There's a storm brewing over Manhattan, and Marvel's most dysfunctional family, wandering through the echoing chambers of their soulless, high-tech skyscraper, are coming apart at the seams. Someone's playing a game of chess with their lives. It's rigged, of course, with a scattering of rogue pawns lying in wait across the board. One by one husband and wife, brother and friend are being isolated and taken down by their own hopes, fears and inadequacies.
Reed Richards isn't just brooding, he's hooked up to his machines like some reclusive techno-junky, leaving his wife to feed fake fish, his careless, callous brother-in-law to preen and party, and Ben Grimm, the most insecure of the lot, in temptation's way.
Morrison and Lee strip away all comfortable elements of this superhero family team title, with its preposterous dialogue and garish colours, leaving some vulnerable, emotional individuals to crash and burn by their own hands. Once again, it's time to ignore the publisher and trust the creators, for, like the INHUMANS, this is far more Vertiginous in style and content, and you're going to kick yourself if you let the title dissuade you from grabbing another slice of prime Grant Morrison.
Jae Lee has once more risen to the challenge of adapting his art to the task at hand. The backgrounds are relentlessly slate or green-grey, with a mass of sharp, angular blacks, crumbling sympathetically with its occupants. It's a miserable, neo-Gothic environment for miserable, 21st Century people.
"Richards. In one short evening, I've taken everything. The boy is blinded, crippled and enslaved. The monster is shattered, lost, his lover now the Mole Man's bride in his kingdom of filth. Your wife is drowning in the deep fathoms of her adulterous frenzy. And all that remains... is Doom. While you've been locked away, I've been busy destroying the life and loves of your family forever, Richards. Tell me... what have you been doing?"
"Well, Victor... I've been thinking."
It's cold out there. Get ready to shiver.