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Monday, March 03, 2014 

James Robinson turns the FF's costumes to red and binds them to the newest crossover

USA Today spoke last week about the pretentious writer's plans for the Fantastic Four, which already sound pretty yawn-inducing. For example:
There's something old, something new but not something blue in the opening pages of writer James Robinson's new Fantastic Four series.

The image of Marvel Comics' first family battling their classic monster villain Fin Fang Foom is an image that will leave hardcore Fantastic Four fans smiling.

The red costumes, though? That might take some getting used to.
Under a better writer and editorial leadership, I might've been okay with red costumes instead of blue. But with these kind of writers? No way. Costume colors do not a story make, and a clash with Fin Fang Foom alone doesn't guarantee the story will be fun. It all depends on the quality of writing, and Robinson's proven - possibly much longer than some might think - that he is not suited to the task. For all we know, Robinson's rendition of a fight with Fin Fang Foom could turn out to be very dreary.
"There's a reason for it. It will all make sense in time," teases Robinson, the All-New Invaders scribe working on the relaunched Fantastic Four with artist Leonard Kirk that debuts today.
I don't think so, and the following should prove enough not to be fooled:
"Every writer does things differently," Robinson explains. "While I loved Jonathan Hickman's long run on the book, it didn't feel like classic Fantastic Four. He was really trying to shake things up and move them in a different direction, and he did that very well."

He'll bring a more traditional feel, though "at the same time, you see them in a very different way and they'll all be sent in different directions, with threats and aspects of their lives that you don't normally see them having to deal with."

Robinson describes his overall arc as "the rise and fall of the Fantastic Four," and each team member will have their own issues.

For example, there will be a few tie-in issues to the Marvel event Original Sin where Ben Grimm will have to deal with some revelations following the Watcher's murder, "and this further affects him as he's dealing with other aspects that are working to bring him down," Robinson says.
I think this is reason enough to avoid his work on FF. It makes little difference whether the editors imposed mandates or not. He's obviously fine with their imposing a crossover, much like a lot of the other writers still associated with the Big Two. I don't even want to know what these "different" views are that he's got in store for the FF.
That all sounds rather grim, but Robinson promises that fans won't be dreading to pick up issues of his Fantastic Four "because what's inside is so depressing or the fates of these characters is so overwhelming you want to stay away."
Uh uh. I've long learned not to trust anything Robinson says. The crossover tie-ins alone signal bad omens.
One of the hallmarks of Robinson's DC Comics masterwork Starman was the "million little seemingly incidental plot threads" that all led to a bigger picture, and he hints that he'll be taking a similar tack with Fantastic Four while also paying tribute to the quartet's legacy.
What bigger picture would that be? The one that saw Nash, daughter of the Mist, killing at least 3 members of the JLA in 1998, just to prove she's dangerous? Or the one that saw both Golden Age Starman Ted Knight and the Mist dying at the end of the Starman series in a last battle with each other? I don't know, nor do I care. Some of those "seemingly incidental" plots were little more than visual nostalgic decor that didn't really amount to much of a story. So, I don't expect whatever Robinson's got in store here to make for anything other than weak nostalgia.
"Everything is going to make sense in the end, even the red costumes."
Not if it's part of a massive crossover, it won't. Robinson is one of various modern writers who promise big and deliver nothing, and who just can't be trusted.

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Wasn't there an apocryphal story that depicted a Soviet Fantastic Four before? That one had certain Russian superheroes playing the roles of the familiar Fantastic Four members. That had Colossus as the Thing, his sister as Invisible Woman, Natasha Romanova as the Widow Maker and a Mr Fantastic who could separate his limbs as if he were a toy.

The UFFF (Ultimate Federalist Freedom Fighters) appeared in a "What If" comic sometime around 2005-2006. The premise was, "What if the Fantastic Four had been Russian cosmonauts instead of American astronauts?" There was also a villain team called the U-Foes, who intentionally duplicated the experiment that gave the FF their powers. They ended up fighting the Hulk.

One of the reasons (among many) I no longer read Marvel comics is that nowadays, everything HAS to be a huge crossover. It's almost like they do crossovers/events year-round now. I get why -- they're desperate for sales because comics make almost no profit these days -- but it's irritating. One thing Marvel did that DC never seemed to be as bad about was throwing characters into every other book, thus making you wonder why the hell said random character was there. Again, this is incentive to buy the other books, but who can keep up with all the convoluted, terrible stories Marvel pukes out nowadays? And I have no idea why they're making a big deal out of something stupid like a wardrobe change. And I bet the explanation for the change will be stupid and/or overly complex.

Oh yeah, remember how silly it got in the 90s? The Punisher, Wolverine, Cable and Ghost Rider were in everything. You had Punisher/Ghost Rider, Punisher/Moon Knight and Punisher/Hulk teamups. I think there was even a Cable/GR teamup. At least that Hearts of Darkness thing made sense, but most of that stuff was just tossing random stuff together as a lame sales gimmick.

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