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Fantastic Four vs. X-Men #3 (1987, April)

December 18, 2015

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). By Claremont, Bogdanove, Austin, Oliver and Orzechowski, “By the Soul’s Darkest Light.”

By the Soul's Darkest Light

Havok does what we’ve all wanted to do. Or is it just me who wants to laser-blast kids?

Storm has been put under anesthetic so Doom can treat Storm’s burned arm. He’s using a bio-enhancer he invented and has kept secret, because Doom cares not at all for the suffering of other people. Doom’s a jerk. Outside, Longshot, Havok and Dazzler are talking about Doom. Longshot is naive, of course. A bunch of Doom’s robots attack a returning Rogue, giving Havok and Polaris a chance at some target practice. Doom and Storm come out to stop further fighting, with Storm wearing . . . I honestly have no idea what she’s wearing.

Then we go inside, to the whole reason for the mini, Kitty. She’s unwilling to let the X-Men sacrifice their souls to Doom, and she leaves her support tube. Franklin’s astral projection is there. She goes out onto a ledge and decides she’ll wait for sunrise and then let her molecules float free. Which, as ways to die go, is actually a pretty great one. Very poetic. Though, of course, we should remember it’s a 14-year-old girl deciding she’s going to kill herself, so that’s pretty crazy. Franklin begs her not to do it. Psylocke tries to telepathically convince Kitty back inside, but Kitty declines, so it’s up to Franklin. He crawls out onto the ledge and begs her to go back inside. This is pretty easily the most emotional scene in the whole series It’s really powerful.

Fantastic Four vs. X-Men #3

That’s some tearjerking stuff right here.

Luckily, this is followed by the most heartwarming moment of the series.

Fantastic Four vs. X-Men #3

D’awwww.

That whole scene is fantastic. It explores Kitty’s mindset during all this. Honestly, I wish there’d been more focus on her in this mini, considering the story does basically revolve around her. But this scene does a great job with it. It really highlights her sense of despair. Even that final panel of her and Franklin actually gets her hopelessness across. Bogdanove draws her looking sad. Like she doesn’t actually want to be in the tube, like she’s disappointed that her suicide attempt was stopped. The colours enhance that, too. It’s bright everywhere else in the panel, but her tube is dark. This is the single best scene of the entire mini. Hands down. No question.

Back in New York, Reed is wandering around the Baxter Building in a fog. He finds Franklin having a bad dream, and Reed wakes him up and hugs him. He cheers Franklin up by telling him the story of “Saggy Baggy Elephant,” using his power to enhance the story. Sue watches them, and is moved to tears.

Back in Latveria, Storm is trying to duel with Longshot, but he just keeps hopping around. It’s a fun scene, but total filler. It doesn’t actually advance the story or characters at all. I’m not sure why it’s there.

In New York, Ben Grimm wanders into a Yancy St. Bar. He’s in a bad mood, and wants to just sit and drink and wallow in misery. We’ve all been there. Despite all he drinks, he can’t get drunk. As he walks back home, he sees a car accident. A car’s flipped over and on fire, which is pretty much an everyday occurrence in the Marvel Universe. Like, how many times have you seen a car on fire? Because I guarantee you, if you lived in the Marvel Universe, that number would be way higher. Also, as usual, there’s a hysterical woman crying “My baby! My baby!” I always find that funny, for some reason. Ben pushes the burning oil tanker off the bridge and into the river, then saves the little girl in the car. The mother thanks him, and he feels better about himself.

Elsewhere, Johnny is feeling bad about how he hurt Storm. Alicia comforts him. Johnny then talks about how he knows he should hate Reed, but he doesn’t, because being the Human Torch is awesome. Can’t really argue with him. And then back to the Baxter Building, Reed is admiring Franklin, and the very power of life itself. Sue brings him to a sofa to talk to him, saying that the way Reed interacted with Franklin isn’t the way the person who wrote the journal would have done it. It’s somewhat spurious reasoning, but whatever, it’s still pretty nice.

Doom is almost ready to save Kitty, while boasting about his own awesomeness and bad-mouthing Richards. Doom is very Doom. And Reed decides he has to go to Latveria to figure out how to help Kitty and confront his self-doubts.

This is a good issue. Truthfully, a lot of the X-Men scenes come across as filler. The fight against Doom’s robots was cool, but didn’t really serve a purpose beyond including some action. Storm’s fight with Longshot was completely pointless. But Kitty’s scene was wonderful. The main focus of this issue is on the Fantastic Four all coming to terms with what was in the journal. And it’s good stuff. Some good work with the characters.

The art is fine. It’s very cartoonish and expressive. Bogdanove isn’t the artist I would’ve put on this series. But he actually does end up being a great fit for the scenes with Franklin. Austin on inks is always good. He doesn’t change Bogdanove’s pencils as much as one might expect. It would’ve been easy for him to make Storm and Wolverine look more like the versions from Byrne’s run, but he doesn’t. It’s very clearly still Bogdanove’s Storm. And the colours are good.

So, yeah, still a good series.

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