Random Ramblings about Things and Whatever

Random Ramblings about Things and Whatever

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Random Comics review:Fantastic Four #271,1984

Fantastic Four 271 is a charming flashback in a couple of ways.It's an old comic which was a tribute to even older comics.Published back in the 80's,this comic features story and art by John Byrne back when he was still a loyal company man for Marvel Comics and storytelling that was typical of that time.The story is a homage to the Lee Kirby monster comics of the 50's.Basically Reed Richards is afraid he's losing his memory and tells his wife Sue a story about the time he defeated Gormuu,a giant monster from outer space.The flashback is drawn in the old Kirby Ayers style and is roughly 8-9 pages which was the standard length for those old sci-fi tales.Of course the creature is defeated in the most improbable way and we return to the present.Reed decides to return to his father's old lab in Central City California to work on a solution to his problem.The issue ends with the FF vowing to get to the bottom of mysterious forces that seem to be haunting the lab.

The storytelling is simple and direct.The panel layouts are basic and uncluttered and John Byrne was still drawing backgrounds in those days.John also does a good job of drawing different body types.Johnny doesn't look like Reed who doesn't like Wyatt.Sue, Jennifer and Alicia are distinct from each other even without the different hairstyles and fashion.One thing I appreciate is that when people are wearing civilian clothes,they actually look like clothes that real people wore.Sue even has a quasi-mullet( hey it was the 80's it was hip then )! There's not alot of crazy cross-hatching or intricate detail in the graphics.Byrne's individual style is present ,but the point of the art here is to tell the story in the most efficient way.

Byrne does a good job conveying the family feel of this series.For example,the comic begins with a surprise birthday cake for Reed and the personalities of the characters play of each other well without seeming too sit-com like.Another thing I like is how when the FF couldn't get into Reed's dad's lab,instead of breaking the door, they use their powers in an unique way to pick the lock.Another interesting thing is although this issue is pretty light-hearted,the letters page has fans expressing their feeling about a previous issue that featured Sue's miscarriage.
All in all FF 271 was a fun trip to yesteryear which in itself was a trip to yesteryear.


  1. I don't know how interested you are in artists, but there's a Modern Masters for John Byrne, as well. He was a bit of a company man, but he states his case pretty well...you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about this period in comics, what are your thoughts on Byrne?

  2. I was a big fan of Byrne in the mid-80's (FF,Superman).I only read a few of his Next Men and I haven't been following him recently.I still respect the stuff he did back in the day.I really think a guy like Jim Lee (who I respect rendering) could really learn a thing or two from guys like Byrne about making characters look individual.

  3. i hope u don't mind my putting in my two cents on a question clearly directed 2 u, but I just can't help myself.
    I was never a huge fan of JB, and u definitely see something nuanced in his character faces or body language that I don't see. B4 i go on 2 much, let me say;"i don't dislike Byrne's work', it's just I've never seen what the hoopla was about. As far as his characterization goes, heck..I thought Cockrum who preceeded him on X-men, while not as good a draftsman as Byrne, he was able 2 capture what made each character their own person, whereas Byrne basically drew everyone the same except 4 weight height color etc other than that his ppl were fairly interchangeable.
    Now b4 this ends up sounding like a hatefest on JB, I'll say that his X-men was not my favorite, his brief stint on Powerman & Ironfist was decent, but I think his crown jewel was his 2nd(?) run on FF, where he didn't pay attention 2 those who said how he should draw, but instead followed his gut and drew upon what he felt inside (2 this day..I think that run by far was his best work)
    My apologies 4 being so long winded, but I guess I really needed 2 get that off my chest