Fantastic Force #4 Review: Healing Mother Earth

Hey, everyone, jrpbsp here… Continuing from last week, here’s my first review for this week, ‘Fantastic Force’.  Hope you enjoy it.

Fantastic Force #4 cover Fantastic Force #4 (preview)
Writer: Joe Ahearne
Penciler: Neil Edwards
Inker: Serge Lapointe


RECAP: The issue opens with Ego attacking the people of Nu-World with only Psionics and Natalie X available to help. Banner Jr. in human form and Logan as a skeleton take one of Reed’s time sleds to go and talk to Gaea, the spirit of Earth, in their future.

Psionics and Natalie X argue about using Ultron even without his personality when they are interrupted by the robot Nightingale 51.  She has his arousal module which contains a backup of his personality. They use it to repair Ultron but Natalie is mad about the perceived infidelity. Nightingale 51 tries to talk to him after the others leave and says to call her Gale.

In the future Logan finds a hidden book and has Bruce read a spell to summon Gaea to them. She takes away the power animating Wolverine’s skeleton and blasts Bruce. She then tells Ego to destroy those in the present.

Ego sprays Nu-World with spores which start growing into humanoid forms. Ultron, Cindy and Natalie X are teleported to Ego with Ultron getting an upgrade of liquid nitrogen so he can access the molten core of the living planet. Natalie gets the coordinates to Ego’s brain and Psionics hurls Ultron to that location.

In the future Gaea’s blast returns Banner to his Hulk state. He hurls his father’s skeleton and uses it to impale Gaea.

Meanwhile Ego’s spores hatch. He attacks Psionics while Ultron tunnels deeper into his body even as his nitrogen runs out. Natalie X tries to make contact with him and finds a captive Lightwave instead. Cindy is determined to save her father and makes Natalie X unleash Psionics’ inner berserker.

The rage unlocks her hidden magnetic powers and she uses them to change Ego’s magnetic poles and give him a stroke. Lightwave is able to escape as Ultron reaches the brain. Natalie X is actually able to hear his last thoughts of love.

In the future Gaea has regained her sanity and gives Logan back his flesh. She tells them to leave because all life will end with her death. Wolverine says he can not live on an artificial planet and chooses to stay and try and help her. He exchanges a tearful goodbye with his adopted son who takes the time sled back to the present.

The four heroes have returned to Nu-World though Ultron has been melted smooth. Banner tells Natalie to read his mind because he does not want to talk about his father. He admits that he still can not change back and forth to a human form. The robots are looking to Ultron for a leader but he refuses. In the end we see the future with a healthy and pregnant Gaea working along side Logan growing new plant life.

MY TAKE: This story had a lot of potential but has suffered severely by the lack of an issue of the series. This ending feels so rushed that it is hard to care about anything or feel that there is much of a threat. In fact I had to read it a second time just try to make sense of everything because I kept thinking I must have skipped a page or two.

It is too bad because you can still see the traces of brilliance that marked the first two issues especially. There are some great, original ideas here they are just not given the space or time to be properly developed.

We see some good character development as well with Ultron trying to be human and his relationship with Natalie and Banner’s self discovery as well. We even get a couple of good moments with Logan which is impressive since he spends most of the issue as a skeleton.

Still the problems with the story were too big to ignore. There were shortcuts taken everywhere from the appearance of the time sled to Banner and Logan changing back to normal at Gaea’s hand. And there were sudden new powers miraculously appearing and a hidden book with spells only Banner can read.

Even with those deus ex machina in place we did not get satisfactory endings to any of the subplots. Little was said about the robots sudden desire from freedom or Logan’s eventual fate or even what was going to happen to the team going forward. The issue just kind of ended.

As a whole the series was good but marred by the rushed ending. I would have loved to read the original plot and see how things worked out with another issue to fill. These are strong and original characters and it had a smart, well-done plot, it just needed a little bit more room to really live. I hope there is a sequel that is allowed to have the full run of its issues. It would be a shame to dump these characters into Limbo due to a mere editorial decision.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again next time.

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14 years ago

Great review, thanks. I felt the rush ending too, and also really hope this group is used again. Lots of great ideas out there. I thought the correction for last issue’s printing error would be included… oh well, we’ll have to wait for the tpb.

14 years ago

Yeah I was disappointed that Marvel had so little faith in this series to cut it down before it even got started. Hopefully they will get another chance.

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