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Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus (Review/Retrospective)

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fantastic Four, I’m taking a look at some of the stories featuring the characters over the past half-century.

John Byrne’s Fantastic Four run is pretty major as Marvel comic book runs go. It’s generally regarded to be one of the better comic book runs of the eighties, alongside Frank Miller’s Daredevil and Walt Simonson’s Thor, but it’s also widely regarded as the best run on Marvel’s flagship family since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby finished their record-setting run establishing both the series and the shared Marvel Universe. (The length of the run has since been surpassed, appropriately enough, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man.) This was my first time reading the run, which has received the massive omnibus treatment from Marvel. I have to admit, while not quite blown away by it, I was remarkably impressed by the love and craftsmanship that Byrne poured into the run. I wouldn’t class it as iconic or genre-defining, but it’s a remarkably solid examination of the franchise that launched the Marvel Universe.

Fantastic!

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Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers (Review/Retrospective)

With the release of Marvel’s big-budget superhero action movie Thor this summer, we’re taking a month to celebrate the God of Thunder. Check back each Wednesday for a Thor-related review.

One of the slew of hardcovers released to coincide with Kenneth Branagh’s epic adaptation of the classic Marvel comic book Thor, Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers is basically just a repackaging of the classic four issue Loki miniseries written by Robert Rodi and painted by Esad Ribic in the nineties. Much like Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, the miniseries was repackaged with a slew of extras and re-released in order to capitalise on a hungry market place. (Luthor, as it was rebranded, was released after the success of the another villain-themed graphic novel from the same creative team, the superb Joker). Still, despite the fact that the “Thor &” part of the title was just stuck on there to tie the book to the film, it’s a lovely little story which perfectly captures a lot of the charm and appeal that the Norse backdrop offers to epic comic book stories.

Commander and (mis)chief...

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Geoff Johns’ Run on Green Lantern – Blackest Night, Blackest Night: Green Lantern, Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps & Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps (Review/Retrospective)

Wow. This is pretty much the climax of Geoff Johns’ five year run on Green Lantern, dating all the way back to Rebirth – where he reintroduced Hal Jordan, the original Silver Age version of the character. Since the very start of his run, he’s been dropping hints about the upcoming “war of light” and the prophecy first articulated in an Alan Moore short story decades ago – the prophecy of “blackest night”. Throughout his tenure on the title (and indeed his role shaping the DC Universe as a whole, as one of its guiding writers in the last decade), he has hinted again and again about big events looming on the horizon. Blackest Night is that event. And, in a way, it’s just as wild and crazy and huge as it should be.

Green Lantern reaches new heights...

Note: I am aware that the excellent Peter J. Tomasi wrote the Green Lantern Corps tie-in, but I thought it best to include it in the write-up here. I’ll actually be including my review of the tie-ins under the “Geoff Johns’ Run on Green Lantern” banner, even though he didn’t write all of them. If you’re looking for an opinion on Tomasi’s writing, it’s excellent and it’s highly recommended. Indeed, all four of these wonderful hardcovers are. Oops, did I just spoil my review?

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