Unstable Molecules: Updating and Backdating the Fantastic Four

This is a new Fantastic Four limited series. Now let me just make a quick confession: I never liked the FF. No really. They always bored me. I "liked" the Torch because Dave (John's brother) told me he was cool (or hot, I guess). But his constant bickering with the Thing, who was basicially just an ugly strong guy, always turned me off. Reed was sorta neat, buteither not nerdy enough in his personality or too goofy in his power. And Sue? Well, she was basically out-of-sight out-of-mind.

I did collect FF for a few years--back when I thought John Byrne was a great artist/writer. I've since gotten rid of those issues except for the ones with Dr Doom or Galactus. Those two guys are really about the extent of what I like about the FF: Doom and Galactus. Everything else is just really tedious to me. I hate the Inhumans, I hate Blastarr, I hate Annihilus, Psycho-Man and the whole negative zone. I hate the Skrulls and the Dragon Man, the mole people. They all suck. I'm sorry. I know that Kirby's a genius, but all those races and societies bored the crap out of me. And the team itself was no relief. The FF's "personalities" boiled down to fighting with one another (tearing up the Baxter Building) or ignoring one another ("Reed, why can't you stop working for a moment?"), or quitting the team and replacing them with someone worse (Thundraa? She-Hulk? What were you thinking?).

There were a few bright spots. I remember some big bash with the Sphinx that was kinda cool--but I was real young and we were missing most of the issues. Frankie was hot (in a John Byrne way). And I never really had a beef with the Watcher or Alicia.

But all in all, nothing to make me return after all these years. Except that Marvel seems to be a little more risque these days--allowing other people to play with their toys without adhering exactly to continuity. And I don't mean like Byrne--who just erased or undermined 30 years of continuity. I mean, they seem to be letting the writers do their own thing without worrying too much. Unstable Molecules is James Sturm's (Golem's Mighty Swing) interpretation of the family.

The mini-series is basically a look at the various members of the family shortly before they become the FF. And the story actually begins to explore their personalities. And I don't mean Stan Lee personalities. I mean, Reed really is a self-centered jerk and Sue really is finding it difficult to have her own identity. Plus the story is set in the late Fifties/early Sixties which is evoked in a simple, almost lonely style by Guy Davis (Sandman Mystery Theatre). The whole thing (well, the first 2 issues, anyway) is less a retelling of the FF's origin (which I've seen enough times, thanks) and more of a psuedo-scholarly look back at people who wound up "making history".