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Monday, April 14, 2008

Onslaught Resurrections - From April 24, 1998

The year-long attempt to resurrect numerous heroes who "died" in Marvel Comics' "Onslaught" story-line has now reached fruition. Whether The Fantastic Four superheroes and other one-time pillars of the Marvel Universe can sustain the interest generated by their revival remains to be seen.

From a mercenary point of view, I suspect most collectors will already have the thirteen revival issues each of Avengers, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Iron Man.

The best title is Fantastic Four. The stories read like a summary of the long history of the Four, but with a different focus. Now, the attack of super-villian, Galactus, comes at the beginning of the saga, and in fact, precipitates the origin of the FF. This is revisionist history with a vengeance.

The art is excellent.

I was at first irritated by the new version of the superhero Thor in Avengers, but there was a purpose that slowly unfolded. The Avengers story line is closely linked to that of Iron Man with the character, the Hulk, as the common thread.

This version of Iron Man is well-written, but the character is visually unappealing.

Captain America is interesting, but I don't care for artists who draw characters to resemble prominent actors and actresses. Captain America now resembles actor Brad Pitt.

The villain, The Red Skull, has rarely looked this vicious, even in artist Jack Kirby's heyday.

There is even a new Bucky, Captain America's old sidekick.

Characters Nick Fury and Dr. Doom are the threads that hold these four titles together. Fury seems to contradict himself at times, but the incongruities make sense at the end.

If we give this overall project an A, it is because of Fantastic Four. The bad news is that the first issue of the new FF series falls away from the standard set in the previous thirteen. There are some interesting moments, but I have an uneasy sense we have not progressed significantly.

If the new versions lose their direction, an onslaught of low sales could prove devastating.

Dr. John Suter