Comic Book Review: Fantastic Four #560

The Revolution absolutely loves Millar’s Fantastic Four. This has been such an entertaining read. Millar ended the last issue with an absolutely stunning hook ending. I am extremely curious to learn how these new Defenders managed to capture Galactus. I am confident that Fantastic Four #560 will be another good read.

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: Bryan Hitch
Inks: Bryan Hitch & Andrew Currie

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin in New York City in the year 2509 A.D. The world is a wasteland. We learn that the world did not die in the early part of the twenty-first century. The Earth survived another five hundred years thanks to the work of Reed Richards. When the end came, twelve billion people died. Half of the world’s cities drowned and disease became rampant. The rich and the powerful disappeared over night. (Thanks to Nu-World.)

The world’s remaining heroes banded together to protect those who were left behind on Earth. However, they all knew that it was hopeless. Therefore, Banner built his machine.

We slide to Florida in the year of 2509 A.D. We see all the world’s heroes gathered around a giant machine. Hulk states that he has found a way to get every single person out of this dying Earth. Hulk says that the machine is not a ship and that they will not be travelling off-world. The Hulk reveals that they are all going back in time.

The other heroes are skeptical of the plan. They argue that bringing eight million people into the past would throw the past into chaos. Hulk says that the heroes seem to care more about the people in the past than the people in the past every cared about them.

Hulk continues that first they will send a few people into the past in order to establish a base. There they will build a much bigger time machine and bring everyone from the future into the past. The Hulk then says that the only problem is where they can find a power source sufficient enough to power the initial jump. The Hulk asks if anyone knows about what might be left over in Attilan.

We then cut to the narration stating how since the Earth was dying that it was only a matter before “he” showed up. And that “he” would be pulsating with all the energy that the heroes needed for the Hulk’s time machine. We then see Galactus arriving on Earth and preparing to feed on the dying planet.

We zip back to the present at the Defenders’ secret base. Johnny cannot believe that the six Defenders alone were able to take down Galactus. One of the Defenders retorts that there used to be one hundred and forty-seven Defenders before they fought Galactus. The six Defenders present are all that remained after that fight.

Hulk then introduces the Defenders. The Hulk reveals that he is Robert Bruce Banner, Jr. The last surviving son of the Hulk. We have Natalie, their most powerful telepath. Alex Ultron, the 16th version of Ultron designed and built by Henry Pym. The Hooded Man is the Hulk’s stepfather. And Lightwave and Psionics rounds out the team.

Psionics tells Johnny to put everything into perspective. That Johnny will help power a time machine that will save eight billion people from the end of the world. Psionics says that no matter what happens to Johnny; at least he will know that he saved billions of lives. Psionics then asks that isn’t that what super heroes are supposed to do?

Johnny quips that he cannot answer that question without sounding very selfish. Johnny asks Doom how Doom feels about being used as a battery for the world’s largest time machine. Doom growls that whoever orchestrated the Defenders’ plan to capture him will die by Doom’s hand.

Johnny tells the Hulk that Doctor Doom will be gunning for the Hulk. The Hulk replies that he is not the Defenders’ leader. That their leader should be due to arrive in another ninety minutes.

We cut to New York City, with the rest of the Fantastic Four investigating the scene of the brawl between Johnny and the Defenders. They survey the massive damage and Reed comments how the police stated that the fight only lasted for one minute and a half. Sue is upset and Reed promises that they will find Johnny.

We shift to Deb on the phone with her mother talking about going to David Letterman with the Thing. Deb arrives outside of her apartment and hangs up the phone. Outside of her apartment is her ex-boyfriend, Jason.

Jason asks if Deb was out with the Thing, again. Jason says that Deb is just embarrassing herself by going out with the Thing. Jason says that everyone is laughing at Deb. Deb tells Jason to leave her alone. Deb then goes into her apartment and slams the door shut. Jason looks angrily at the door and spits that he will not be dumped for the Thing.

We hop over to the Baxter Building where we see Mrs. Deneuve entering Reed’s lab. She asks Reed what is he working on. Reed answers that he has created nanoscopic tracers that he can inject into the members of the Fantastic Four. That the tracers cannot be removed. And this will enable any missing member of the Fantastic Four to be tracked down.

Mrs. Deneuve smiles and softly laughs. Mrs. Deneuve tells Reed “Don’t ever change.” Suddenly, Reed’s lab equipment flies apart and plows into Reed knocking him through the lab’s walls. Reed falls to the ground unconscious.

Mrs. Deneuve then tells the Baxter Building’s computer to recognize her voice pattern and orders the computer to seal-off Franklin’s room and establish an audio link. Mrs. Deneuve then tells Franklin that he may hear some noise, but that he should not be alarmed. That this is only a security drill. And that Mrs. Deneuve has instructed the computer to give Franklin as much candy and bad TV that he can handle.

Mrs. Deneuve then approaches the Thing and She-Hulk. Suddenly, a massive hole is ripped in the building and the Thing and She-Hulk fall through the hole and crash down into the street below.

Invisible Woman and Valeria come running onto the scene. Sue exclaims that they are under attack. Mrs. Deneuve calmly instructs Sue to put Valeria down. Sue is stunned that it is Mrs. Deneuve who attacked them.

The women then square off with their force field powers. Mrs. Deneuve exclaims that she has been doing this a lot longer than Sue. And with that, Mrs. Deneuve’s force field overpowers Sue’s force field. Sue falls to the ground unconscious.

Mrs. Deneuve tells Valeria to not worry and that her mother will be just fine. Valeria asks what about the rest of the world. Mrs. Deneuve responds that the rest of the world should have been more careful of the future that they left us.

Mrs. Deneuve tells Valeria to tell Reed to not bother looking for her. That their headquarters is invisible and could be anywhere in the world. Mrs. Deneuve says that Reed would only embarrass himself. (Oh, no you didn’t! You did not just call out the genius of Reed Richards!)

Mrs. Deneuve then radios her headquarters and tells them that their leader is returning back to base in twenty minutes. Mrs. Deneuve adds that the Fantastic Four have been neutralized and the final component has been seized from Reed’s lab.

Mrs. Deneuve then begins to leave the Baxter Building. Valeria then screams out “Mom, please! Think about what you are doing!” We see Mrs. Deneuve flying off on her invisible discs. Mrs. Deneuve answers “I’ve had five hundred years to think about it, darling.”

The Good: Fantastic Four #560 was another great read. Millar treats the reader to yet another wild ride. Just when the reader thinks that Millar cannot top himself he manages to go out and do just that with the next issue. Millar has made Fantastic Four an absolute blast to read.

This is a title where absolutely anything can happen at any given moment. Millar has the reader’s head on a swivel as the reader has no idea what Millar is going to throw at them next. Millar has certainly captured the exciting thrill ride that you get with a really good summer blockbuster movie.

I like the apocalyptic future that Millar shows us in this issue. And I totally dig the concept of taking the eight billion survivors into the past in order to save them. That is a pretty neat twist. Often, in stories where the earth is dead or dying the solution is to go off-world to live in a space station or another planet. The idea of going back into the past is rather intriguing. I am interested to see where Millar goes from here.

Millar is excellent at imagining bizarre possible futures for the Marvel Universe. Miller has treated the reader to such delightfully interesting and entertaining future versions of Earth not just in this title but also over in Wolverine as well. Marvel has their own version of DC’s Multiverse in the Omniverse. I know that it gets little attention and is not a big deal like DC’s Multiverse, but Millar would be a fine writer for Marvel to tap in an effort to flesh out the Omniverse. Just imagine the bizarre alternate worlds that Millar would cook up.

Fantastic Four #560 is such a balanced read. Millar gives us drama, action, mystery and a stunning surprise ending. The issue has a good flow as Miller progresses the story at a measured pace. Fantastic Four #560 is also a strongly plotted issue. Millar usually delivers well plotted reads and Fantastic Four has been no exception. Millar has excellent long range vision and is able to meticulously plot multiple story arcs.

The end result is a story that continually evolves in a natural fashion as each story arc seamlessly folds into the next one. The strong plotting also keeps Fantastic Four #560 a well focused issue that moves with a clear point and purpose. Millar does not get sidetracked with pointless scenes or wander about aimlessly.

I am enjoying the multiple layers of plotlines that Millar is treating the reader to with this title. Millar is able to plant the seeds for future story arcs in an organic fashion. I enjoyed the scene with Deb and her ex-boyfriend, Jason, which lays the foundation for the Thing’s story arc. I am looking forward to how Millar handles the Thing’s character when Ben gets his chance to stand in the spotlight.

Millar pulls off some fine character work in this issue. All of the various characters are nicely fleshed out. Miller has continually displayed an impressive feel for the personalities of the Fantastic Four members. Miller also serves up plenty of fine dialogue. Miller is able to craft nice serious and dramatic dialogue as easily as he can deliver the humorous lines.

I continue to enjoy Millar’s handling of Johnny. Probably my favorite part of this issue is when Psionics goes on about how Johnny may die powering the time machine, but that he will be saving eight billion people in the process. And after all, isn’t that what being a super hero is all about. Johnny’s response that he cannot answer that question without sounding very selfish was spot on.

Johnny is a hero and would risk himself to save a person in danger, but that does not mean that he is going to willingly let himself be sacrificed in this plan to transport eight billion people from the future into our present. This is a neat little moral dilemma for a character that usually does not spend much time and effort thinking about anything deeper than what girl he is going to hook up with next or what party he is going to attend.

I loved Millar’s explanation of how the Defenders captured Galactus. Miller is a writer who is talented and wise enough to know that sometimes less is more. The short statement about how there were one hundred and forty-seven before the fight with Galactus and now there are only six was more than enough to get the point across to the reader about the magnitude and scope of the battle.

There was no need for Millar to deliver some big splashy flashback scenes or cook up a convoluted story and explanation for how the Defenders captured Galactus. All of that is irrelevant. Instead, Miller gives just enough information and allows the reader’s imagination to handle the rest. This was an excellent move. Plus, the arrival of Galactus on Earth, while timely and convenient, made perfect sense and was logical given that Galactus always descends upon dying worlds.

Fantastic Four #560 is not packed with action, but the bit of action that we do get is excellent. The ending to this issue provides enough action to keep this issue a lively read. Plus, it was pretty damn cool to see the two Invisible Women squaring off against each other.

Miller delivers a stunning hook ending with the surprise reveal that Mrs. Denevue is actually an old Sue Storm. Incredible. Miller does a great job hinting at this during the course of the issue leading up to the shocking reveal. I did not see this coming.

And it was rather shocking how Sue is so willing to attack her husband and then steal from him as well as capture her brother to use as a battery in an attempt to save the people in the future that very well may lead to her brother’s death. Clearly, the old Sue Storm does not value her family as much as the people who were left behind after Earth collapsed.

I am intrigued by this old version of Sue and am eager to learn more about her. I am also interested in learning how Sue is still alive five hundred years later. I am also curious to learn how the Hulk’s son would also still be alive.

The Bad: I know that people look differently when they get old, but how does Sue, Reed, Johnny and Ben not recognize that Mrs. Devenue is just an old Sue Storm?

Overall: Fantastic Four #560 was a great read. Millar keeps upping the ante with each issue. There is certainly plenty of substance in this story for readers who desire complex stories to chew on. And at the same time there is enough entertainment and action for fans who just want a fun and exciting read. You definitely do not need to be a fan of the Fantastic Four in order to enjoy this story. I have never had much interest in the Fantastic Four before and I have enjoyed Millar’s run immensely.

2 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: Fantastic Four #560

  1. I thought Old Sue’s pose on the last page was a bit awkward, but otherwise Hitch’s art here is really good.

    Based on the arc title, the obvious guess is that Doom carries out his pledge and kills Old Sue, thus giving us the death of an Invisible Woman; but maybe that’s too obvious (it’s not like Sue would stay dead, anyway).

    The policeman’s line about how it’s amazing nobody was hurt when the building got trashed almost seems like Millar parodying his own past work like The Ultimates and Civil War (even, going way back, Superman: Red Son), all of which emphasized incidental death.

    I like Millar’s decision to jumpstart Valeria’s IQ (and age her a bit), but poor Franklin is still stuck (not that this is Millar’s invention, by any stretch); he looks almost indistinguishable from Val age-wise, when he should by this point be around Cassie Lang’s age.

    Another good issue.

  2. Yeah, this was a really good issue. When they said, “there used to be a hundred and forty seven of us before that fight” i just thought, wow, that is really intense. Also, i wonder what the consequences of having two galactuses in one universe will have.

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