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Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men #4 (1987, June)

January 14, 2016

On a quick note, I added Worst X-Man Ever #2 to my review post from yesterday. I hadn’t even realized it was out. Oops. Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today, by Claremont, Bogdanove, Austin, Oliver and Orzechowksi, “A Matter of Faith.”

A Matter of Faith

Kneel before god Franklin.

This issue actually opens with Kitty. She’s thinking about how she might be about to die. It’s pretty sad. Lockheed is sitting by her tank, looking so freaking sad. She tries to cheer him up but she can’t actually speak. Franklin pops in astrally for a visit, and gets annoyed at Lockheed licking him. Then it’s a cute little scene between Kitty and Franklin. He lets her know his dad’s coming to help. As an aside, it’s a good thing she’s got wisps of smoke covering her privates, because she is very close to flashing a 4-year-old kid. Also, Lockheed is adorable the whole time. Anyway, during the conversation, she gets super-sad, so Franklin decides to cheer her up by telling her the same story his father told him earlier. Franklin’s really sweet. He’s a good kid.

On the FF’s plane, Sue and Ben have a conversation about Doom. (Also, Sue creates a force field chair for Ben while he fixes an actual chair. It’s a really neat little casual use of her power.) They also talk about Reed’s doubts. Johnny keeps thinking about how he hurt Storm, and feels bad about it. He also tells She-Hulk the Ballad of Reed and Doom. And, of course, Reed’s up front, looking at his journal and wondering how much of it is true. I have to admit, I’m actually not completely sold on that entire plot. It feels weird to me that Reed wouldn’t have found it more suspicious. You’d think he’d know if he’d made an intentional choice to expose his friends to cosmic rays. The journal makes it clear that it was a conscious decision on his part, but he always believed it to be an accident. I’m not sure I buy him being so shaken up by the journal.

Back in Latveria, the X-Men are playing. And Dazzler shows off a little, seemingly just to annoy Havok. I’m not sure why I find it so hilarious. Rogue calls an end to the training by being super-grumpy. Meanwhile, Kitty and Franklin are still being cute. Franklin’s frustrated that he can’t tell the story as well as his father did. He also tells her about his baby sister who miscarried. So they bond a bit over being only children. Psylocke helps by linking their thoughts. And Doom announces it’s time. Back outside, Storm and Magneto have a conversation about Magneto’s past, his experiences in Auschwitz, the death of his daughter. Magneto’s had a pretty goddamn awful life, honestly. He also grabs one of Doom’s robot soldiers and reshapes it into a statue of his wife and daughter, which is hilarious. Magneto doesn’t have much interest in the property of others. I mean, OK, it’s one of Doom’s robots, so no big deal, but still, that’s not a cool thing to do, Magneto. Doom does chew him out, but it’s more for using his powers at all, what with the really sensitive equipment in the castle that can be easily affected by magnetic fields.

The Fantastic Four’s plane arrives, and Magneto brings it down with a magnetic field. Even though he was just told not to use his powers because it could hurt Kitty. It took him 30 seconds to forget that. Storm even calls him out on it. Doom gets pissed at Magneto, but then he finds out the Fantastic Four are there, and he instantly shifts his anger to Reed. Reed is to blame for everything, in Doom’s mind. He sends the X-Men to fight the Fantastic Four, while Kitty thinks he’s a dick. She’s not wrong.

While the FF try to convince Storm and Magneto they want to help, Rogue and Wolverine arrive to ensure no co-operation can happen without a big fight first. Rogue also apparently enjoys it. Havok, Dazzler and Longshot show up, too, and I just noticed Dazzler’s wearing a jacket with “Lila” on the back. Cute. Supporting her friend. Also, Rogue absorbs Johnny’s power, but burns off her clothes in the process. So she’s naked now. OK then.

The fight is brought to an end by Franklin delivering a speech about how badly they’re all behaving. A typical “out of the mouths of babes” thing. He chastizes them for the way their rumpus is putting Kitty in danger. You have to careful with your rumpuses. A poorly-organized rumpus can be dangerous. If you’re going to rumpus, rumpus safely. Speaking of Kitty, she’s almost faded away. Psylocke refuses to let her die. It’s actually a cool Psylocke moment. Doom decides to let the FF in, just so he can show up Reed. I love his spitefulness here. He wants to save Kitty’s life just to make Reed look bad.

Doom begins the re-integration process, but Reed realizes a problem with it and shuts it down. After a brief yelling match, Franklin once again steps in to shame them into working together. There’s a problem with the computers, so Reed has to manually plot the reintegration. But first, he has a crisis of faith regarding himself. And Sue realizes that Doom planted the journal.

And, of course, Reed overcomes his problem and saves Kitty. Storm thanks Reed, as does Magneto, who also apologizes for his earlier behaviour. Sue also confronts Doom about the journal, while he keeps talking about caviar. Everyone else gets ready for a fight, but Sue says the FF have already won the match. And it ends with Kitty and Franklin’s astral form sharing a waltz. Aw, how sweet.

This is a good finale. We finally get more focus on Kitty, which is appreciated. We see her fear and her resignation, but she also has a lot of really cute interactions with Franklin. She’s good with kids, it seems. Franklin’s a sweet kid, which helps, and she clearly likes having him there. It helps to ground her a bit. And it’s just really, really sweet. Actually, it’s a little disappointing it never gets revisited. Apparently, when Claremont was writing Fantastic Four years later, he wanted to bring in Kitty as Franklin’s nanny. As it is, though, there was never any follow-up. A shame. I also like Psylocke here. It’s not a big role she has, but she comes across well. It’s a sweet moment when she links Kitty and Franklin so they can actually talk, and then we see her determination throughout the reintegration sequence. The big fight between the X-Men and the FF is a bit forced – it feels like it’s there because it has to be – but it’s still fun.

And all the FF stuff is fairly good but whatever, this is an X-Men blog, not an FF blog.

The art is pretty good. Bogdanove’s got a very cartoonish style. Very. It’s weird, my feelings on the style change from one moment to the next. I can’t decide if I like it here or not. There are good points and bad points. It’s a kid-friendly style, and it makes the comic feel like it’s aimed at kids, but it really isn’t written that way. So, I don’t think Bogdanove is the right artist for this book. He’s not bad, though. He does bring good work. He gives Dazzler a pretty amazing smirk at one point.

Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men #4

That’s a great smirk.

He also draws The Saddest Lockheed Ever.

Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men #4

Poor little guy!

And he does some other great panels, too. Some other panels feel a bit awkward, though. In the end, he’s good, bbut maybe not who I would have gone with.

All in all, this is definitely a solid comic. And a solid series. Not a vital one. The only real effect it has is to stabilize Kitty’s condition; it’s otherwise totally self-contained, with nothing carrying over to other stories at any point. So it’s a safe one to skip, but a fairly enjoyable one to read.

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