FANTASTIC FOUR: THE END OF THE BEGINNING TPB: (ISBN 978-0-7851-2554-9) Full colour trade paperback published by Marvel Entertainment, Inc. Cover price: $12.99 U.S. and $13.75 Canadian.
As many of you are aware there is no comics shop here (nor near) in Port Stanley, Ontario and in fact the only comics I'm able to purchase here in town are Archie digests. That's not to say I have anything against Archie digests. I love them. But from time to time one does need at least a bit of diversity in one's comics reading material. So when my local library gets in a new graphic novel or trade paperback I do my best to make sure I'm one of the first-if not the first-to check it out.
The latest edition to the shelves of the Port Stanley Public Library is the FANTASTIC FOUR: THE BEGINNING OF THE END TPB. A compilation of "Fantastic Four" #s 525-526 and 551-553 not only makes me miss a comics shop-or any place to buy comics for that matter-even more but also brings back fond memories of my reading "Fantastic Four" when I was a kid in the 1960s.
The story from FF #525-526 appears in the last part of this tpb and pits "The World's Greatest Family" against the diabolical Diablo. Diablo-for those of you who aren't aware-was a rather minor Lee-Kirby created FF foe who debuted way back in "Fantastic Four" #60 (March 1967) but as was the case with any Lee-Kirby creation from those days even a minor one was great.
Such was the case with Diablo, too. And he's still pretty darn good as this two-part tale by writer Karl Kesel and penciler Tom Grummett (with inks by Larry Stucker & Norm Repmund) clearly demonstrate as the wonderfully devious alchemist of terror inflicts a deliriously nightmarish plan on the Fantastic Four. No description I could give in this review's short space can do justice to this enjoyable read from Kesel and Grumment except to say that this appearance alone of Diablo is itself worth the price of admission. But there's more to this tpb; much more.
The first part of FANTASTIC FOUR: BEGINNING OF THE END trade paperback is also the book's title feature and is a reprint of FF #s551-553 featuring that FF villain that everyone loves to hate; Doctor Doom. This superbly done tale by writer Dwayne McDuffie and penciler Paul Pelletier (with inks by Mike Magyar) has Marvel's most sinister evil-doing traveling from the future to the present to stop Reed Richards from setting off a series of events that will eventually have a devastating outcome on Earth; at least according to Victor Von Doom. But as always is the case with the good doctor one never knows. Maybe.
Most definitely this story is a, errr, fantastic read from beginning to end and to say that I was drawn into the tale from the first page is not an understatement. The FANTASTIC FOUR: BEGINNING OF THE END tpb would not only be an excellent addition to anyone's personal library but belongs on the shelves of any public library as well.
That's it, folks. If you have a comic, trade paperback or graphic novel you'd like me to review you can mail it to me at...Jonathan A. Gilbert/2-225 Colborne St./Box 10/Port Stanley, Ontario/N5L 1C2/Canada . If you are mailing your material to be reviewed from outside of Canada be sure to attach a customs coupon, put on the value of the material and check off the gift box on the coupon for the nice folks at Canada Customs.
If any of you would like to comment on this or previous columns you can do so by visiting the E-Dispatches blog site at http://dispatchesfromthegreatwhitenorth.blogspot.com . And don't forget to visit my buddy The Groovy Agent's blog. That can be found at http://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com . See you next week, folks.