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Friday, October 05, 2007

The Last Fantastic Four Story, published by Marvel Publishing, Inc., 64 pages, $4.99


Marvel Comics was built, in part, on epic stories in which the hero or heroes save the world. That pattern was recently used once more by the company to produce a story out of current continuity called The Last Fantastic Four Story. And, though Marvel has never stopped churning out such fare, what makes this one different is that it was written by comics’ answer to Mr. Disney, himself, Stan Lee.

One of the “fathers” of the Fantastic Four, (along with artist Jack Kirby) Lee’s comics work has not been regular for decades. Fans will be pleased to know that, not only is there another Lee F.F. story to be had, it also has the “feel” of a Stan Lee story. Whether it be the over-the-top dialogue (“Planet Earth must be mine to pillage and rule! I’ll cede that right to no one else - - be he man or alien!”), the seemingly disproportionate nature of such a cosmically-inspired tale in a single comic book (albeit at double the normal page count), or the amazing cast of guest stars who, despite their appearance feeling a bit forced, contribute nicely to a near-euphoric “geek” factor, this book is a crowd pleaser. In a sense, it hearkens back to the good ol’ days of the Marvel Annuals that were worth the 12-month wait.

Combine the story with the extremely appealing art of penciler John Romita, Jr. and inker Scott Hanna, both of whom demonstrate by their talent that they deserve to work with someone of Lee’s legendary status, and you have a comic book that’s a must for many different fans of the medium.

The Last Fantastic Four Story is highly recommended to all fans of the property, as well as those who fondly remember the Marvel product of the Silver Age of comics, and want to relive, at least in part, the greatness of the Lee/Kirby dynasty of four-color fun.

Review by Mark Allen