Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cheaper Than A Month’s Worth of ‘Shrooms

from volume 1, issue 2, early November 2007

Ultimate Fantastic Four #33-38, 42-46
Written by Mike Carey
Drawn by Pasqual Ferry

Oh, wow, dude… it’s definitely kicking in. I’m seeing, like, space gods and stuff!
But really—if Jack Kirby had had access to drugs like Mike Carey’s, the New Gods might not be such a dead-end of story opportunities. It’s kind of amazing. Mind-expanding, even. And for once (because every other Ultimate FF story up to this point had started like this), the “God War” storyline isn’t directly Reed Richards’ fault as a young scientist with no understanding of the word “consequence”. In “God War,” creatures from a higher dimension come “down” here to escape the clutches of the immortal, all-powerful Thanos, who rules their world of Halcyon (already cooler than regular Thanos and regular Darkseid combined). I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Kirby’s Forever People, but basically it adds up to he spent a couple days toked up watching The Partridge Family: a bunch of “teen gods” ride around the Fourth World (New Genesis/Apokolips, oh my, whatever could those names refer to?) in their futuristic “Whiz Wagon” righting wrongs and then they meet Superman and then no one cares and then Roy Harper goes back inside and cooks up some more junk to shoot. Lame, lame squared, lame cubed. These crazy-ass heroes ride around on a living Fantasticar/super-motorcycle/thing, which is sentient (living vehicles that aren’t horses always kind of freak me out in fantasy stories, not sure why), they’re called Seed Thirteen because they answer to a (again) living computer (totally not Mother Box) which is the thirteenth seed to fall from the world-tree that grows them and houses the space race in rebellion against Thanos’ tyrannical rule. One of them, Beautiful Dreamer, has the power to—what is it?—“convert my body into non-physical modalities.” She can become the launch code to a missile. She can become your favorite memory of your first love, or the taste of strawberries in your mouth. Anything abstract.
Seriously. Mike Carey. If you are reading this: Time to share. I don’t even want to use your drugs to write better. I just want to sit on the couch and giggle for six hours. I have this feeling that you probably get to do that a lot. Jeez.
Anyway, injecting a young Fantastic Four into an age-old struggle like that is about as successful as you’d think. Ben Grimm fights Thanos three times, each time in a different body—Thanos reincarnates in the body of one of his followers every time he dies, by the way, kind of like Agent Smith if the second and third Matrix movies didn’t make you want to crawl in a hole and cry forever—and Johnny blows a bunch of crap up. Reed comes up with a plan that saves the day yadda yadda. The plot itself isn’t exactly atypical, but the ideas, and the presentation—jeez, do they ever make me want to be high instead of drunk right now. Speaking of presentation, Pasqual Ferry’s art style—which is too cool for me to have a word for since I don’t know the first thing about art—is simply put, astonishing when paired with Mike Carey’s big Kirbyesque ideas.
Uhm, I kind of ran out of room here, but the Silver Surfer arc is very much more of the same great stuff. I’ll sum it up as follows: Mike Carey made the Psycho-Man into a cool villain.
I’ll let that sink in. Catch you later.

Rating: Four Whiskey Sours.