Comic Book Review: Ultimate Fantastic Four #34

The Revolution enjoyed Millar, Land and Ryan’s run on Ultimate Fantastic Four. I was sad to see them leave this title. I was not familiar with Carey’s work, nor was I familiar with Ferry’s art. Needless to say, I was suspicious that this new creative team would keep my interest on this title. Ultimate Fantastic Four #34 is the second issue for this new creative team. Ferry has impressed the hell out of me with his wonderful artwork. Carey has left me lukewarm with rather average writing. Will Ultimate Fantastic Four deliver a stronger story than Carey’s debut issue? Let’s hit this review and find out.

Creative Team
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Pasqual Ferry

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue begins with the inter-dimensional band of heroes called Seed 19 attacking the Baxter Building looking for their leader Seed who is with Reed Richards. The members of Seed 19 defeat both Human Torch, the Thing and Invisible Woman.

We shift to the middle of Manhattan where a battalion of alien warriors from another dimension suddenly appear. Their leader is Gallowglass who is the leader of the Acheron forces. The Acheron is the enemy force that the Seed 19 are battling. The leader tells his soldiers to look for Tesseract (the leader of the Seed 19 force who was rescued from the Acheron by Seed 19 and brought with them to our dimension.)

We cut to Reed Richards in his lab conversing with Seed. Seed tells Reed that the Seed 19 are her soldiers. That they are a peaceful race who make war only in order to survive. She explains that right now they are beginning to win the war. That they rescued their figurehead, Tesseract just before arriving in our dimension.

Seed tells Reed that there is a rumor of a weapon of great power here at this exact location. However, Seed now realizes after “touching” Reed’s mind that Reed hasn’t made this weapon yet. Suddenly, Seed senses Gallowglass appearing in this dimension. Seed says that the only way Gallowglass could have followed them is if one of the Seed 19 is a traitor and contacted Gallowglass. Seed says that Reed must work with her because the Seed 19 will need Reed in order to survive Gallowglass. And with that, Seed teleports away.

We cut back to Gallowglass annihilating a S.W.A.T. team.

We shift back to Reed exiting his lab and stopping the members of Seed 19 from brawling with the rest of the Fantastic Four. Reed tells the Seed 19 members that Seed talked to him about Gallowglass having arrived in this dimension. Reed gives the Seed 19 leader the crystal that housed Seed and tells them to leave the Baxter building. Reed then notices the massive destruction outside the window of the Baxter building. Gallowglass and his soldiers are destroying Manhattan.

We cut to Central Park where the remaining members of Seed 19 are protecting Tesseract. Gallowglass and his soldiers arrive on the scene. Tesseract reveals himself to be the traitor and takes out the remaining members of the Seed 19 and joins in with Gallowglass and his soldiers.

We shift to the Fantastic Four in their ship following the Seed 19 in their ship. They see Gallowglass and his soldiers teleporting out of our dimension. The Seed 19 follow in their ship. Reed decides to follow along as well. The two ships enter through the dimensional portal. They come out of the portal and are in deep space and are confronted with a giant cyborg looking dragon ship. End of issue.

The Good: Ultimate Fantastic Four #34 was an average read. Nothing terrible, but certainly nothing special. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the strength of Ultimate Fantastic Four is Pasqual Ferry’s incredible artwork. I had never seen any of Ferry’s work prior to seeing his work on Ultimate Fantastic Four. Needless to say, Ferry has impressed the hell out of me. His artwork is gorgeous. I could stare at it for hours. It takes me two seconds to read the text on each page and then I spend about 5 minutes just admiring and enjoying Ferry’s art. And I’m the type of comic book reader who values the story much more than the artwork. Having said that, Ferry’s fantastic artwork bolsters and enhances what I find to be rather a rather standard comic book story.

Carey does deliver some nice light humor that makes this issue an easy read. At times, the dialogue is funny and has a nice flow. The pacing of this issue is fine. Carey isn’t wasting anytime getting his storyline going, but it doesn’t have a rushed feel to it. The interaction between the members of the Fantastic Four is well done. Carey has captured the sense that these members are all family and friends and not mere teammates.

I like the members of Seed 19. I don’t know if that is more due to Ferry’s incredible designs or to their powers that Carey created. I like Gallowglass. I know that I dig this character due to Ferry’s sweet character design.

The Bad: I don’t mean to say that Carey’s writing is bad by putting it in this section. It is just that his writing isn’t anything great. It is average at best. Carey’s story is not very interesting or original. His dialogue can get a bit stiff and cheesy at points. Basically, this storyline is reading like a typical standard comic book story. Aliens from an alternate dimension are at war with each other and our adventurous heroes get caught up in the middle. Ok. Nothing terrible, but defiantly nothing different or original. It is certainly not a storyline that particularly engages me or captivates my attention. Carey’s writing continually reminds me of the writing for most the cheesy action shows on the Sci Fi channel.

Overall: Ultimate Fantastic Four #34 was an average read. The real question is how long can Ferry’s wonderful art continue to get me to buy this title when I find the story to be rather pedestrian? I am a “writer first” comic book reader. For me, a comic book must have strong writing and a good story for it to stay on my permanent pull list regardless of how good the artwork may be. So, despite Ferry’s excellent artwork, either Carey picks it up in the writing department or Ultimate Fantastic Four will get dropped from the Revolution’s permanent pull list.