Thor fans, take note: a major step toward Thor’s return has been taken.

General Information

Title: Fantastic Four #536-537

Author: J. Michael Straczynski

Illustrator(s): Michael McKone

Original Publication Date: March and April 2006

Cover Price: Each issue priced $2.99 US, $4.25 Can

Premise

Thor’s hammer returns to this plane of existence, and Doom comes along for the ride.

High Point

Ben’s “wouldn’t you?” moment.

Low Point

They recognized Doom among his Doombots by his voice? Hasn’t it been established that the Doombots are indistinguishable from Doom, and have been used as decoys that fooled the FF on a number of occasions? Wouldn’t that imply that they sound exactly like Doom?

The Scores

When it comes to originality, there are essentially two different scores for the two main plotlines. The return of Doom was inevitable; we know this because it happens so often. We also knew that there would be some sort of return for Thor, but tying the two together, and starting Thor’s return in “Fantastic Four” was not something I’d have predicted when Disassembled happened. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is nice and clear, with the big splash pages when necessary. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is well done. We rarely saw interaction between this team and Thor, but it makes sense to bring them in on this point. We also see repercussions of Reed’s recent decisions, right back to “Authoritative Action.” There was a time the government would have asked him to lead the research team, and now they didn’t even want him to know what they were researching. It nicely ties together threads from “Avengers: Disassembled” and “Civil War” right into recent “Fantastic Four.” In short, it uses a lot of continuity to tell an interesting story without actually requiring that you’ve read any of the previous issues of any of the series. It’s a tough line to walk, but it was done. I just wish the story didn’t feel so short. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization didn’t really have time to come through, as it’s basically a two issue battle. There’s a little bit in the first couple of pages, but it’s mostly a combat story. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response was pretty good. Yes, I’d have liked more character moments (especially considering the author’s track record in that regard), but it’s still fun on its own, and it forms an interesting piece of the larger Marvel picture for the year. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow works well, probably because the entire story takes place in two scenes. Reed and Sue talk a little bit at home, and then the team gets to the fight. The fight is well depicted, so there are no issues here at all. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, we’ve got an interesting story taken as a part of the Marvel Universe as a whole. It’s fun for regular readers of the title to see Doom come back, but it’s most interesting in terms of its implications for Thor and Reed’s position with the government before the Civil War breaks out. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Fantastic Four #536-537 receive 33 out of 42.

Civil War Review Checklist

  • New Avengers: Illuminati Special
  • Amazing Spider-Man #529-531
  • Fantastic Four #536-537
  • Civil War #1-7
  • Civil War: Frontline #1-10
  • Amazing Spider-Man #532-537
  • Black Panther #18
  • Cable/Deadpool #30-32
  • Captain America #22-24
  • Civil War: Young Avengers and Runaways #1-4
  • Civil War: X-Men #1-4
  • Daily Bugle: Civil War Edition
  • Fantastic Four #538-543
  • Heroes for Hire #1-3
  • Iron Man #13-14
  • Ms. Marvel #6-8
  • New Avengers #21-25
  • Punisher: War Journal #1-3
  • She-Hulk #8
  • Thunderbolts #103-105
  • Wolverine #42-47
  • X-Factor #8-9