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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fantastic Four vs. The X-Men Limited Series

Time to get back to some fandom, and just talk about comics for the love of comics. Although the two famous Marvel superhero teams have met before countless times, the Fantastic Four vs. The X-Men four part limited series beginning in 1987 is, perhaps, one of my favorite stories as a kid. Actually, the story still holds up for me today. Just read it again and still had the same feelings towards it I did when I was a kid.

It's no surprise that Chris Claremont crafted this tale, and it's no surprise why it's one of my favorites. I think he's probably the best writer to ever pen the X-Men stories.

As a kid, just the title Fantastic Four vs. The X-Men alone was enough to get my attention and get me all excited, but I also really loved the artwork by Jon Bogdanove. Of course, Terry Austin adding his legendary inking to it just makes it even more a work of art. 

I didn't start off with #1. The first cover I remember seeing was issue #2 from that series. I remember looking at it and going, "What the...?" Wolverine gutted Mr. Fantastic? I gotta find out what the hell is going on with this. You bet I got that comic and when I skateboarded my scrawny ass home, it was the first comic I opened to read. Actually, I can't even remember the other comics I got that day.

Even though I started with issue #2, which can totally ruin it for some people, the story that unfolded page after page had me hooked. I was dead set to get issue #1, and the next time I went there, I asked for it and got it.

Now, I'm not gonna ruin it by telling the whole story, just in case there are those who've yet to read this limited series. If you haven't and you're an X-Men or Fantastic Four fan, I highly suggest you do.

To sum it up, Kitty Pryde (Shadow Cat) is losing control of her powers and literally phasing out of existence. Of course, the X-Men seek the help of one of the most brilliant scientists in the Marvel universe - Reed Richards - to find a way to reverse this process. 

However, before hand, Reed discovers his old college journal that reveals some pretty defaming things about him.  Sue, Johnny and Ben Grimm also discover the journal and this causes an internal conflict within the group.

Suffering from a major lack of self-confidence, Reed turns down the X-Men's plea for help. Then you can guess who steps in? That's right, the one and only Doctor Doom! 

In a strange twist, Doom offers to help Shadow Cat. Although suspicious and highly wary of Doom's intentions, the X-Men have no other choice and accept Doom's offer in an act of desperation. The Fantastic Four try to change the X-Men's minds and the result is a throw down between the two groups. Besides, it's always a good time when The Thing has some clobberin' time, and Wolverine go all bezerker on other heroes. Despite the novelty of seeing two superhero groups go at it, there's a lot more to this story.

Okay, I'll admit. I gained a soft spot for Kitty Pryde because of this story, and Claremont does an amazing job of getting you to care about her and the odds she faces. It was easy to root for her while reading this limited series. Actually, Claremont does an amazing job of getting you to care about Reed Richards and the internal struggle he faces with himself and the other Fantastic Four members in this story as well.

But, really, what's great about this limited series is at the heart of it, this story is all about family. It's about the Fantastic Four as a family and about The X-Men as family as well. In this story, you really get a sense of how deeply each of the X-Men really care about each other, enough to sell their souls to Doctor Doom. You also see the same thing with the Fantastic Four, even though they go through their own internal conflict.

I think the art on the covers are some of the most under-rated and over-looked work from that era. Fantastic Four versus the X-Men #4 is an amazing cover. One of my favorites as a kid, and I flipped out when I first saw it. I still flip out. Issue #3 and 2 are amazing as well and quite provoking.

A good read is a good read, and as comic fans, it's funny how we always remember the comic stories that dazzled us, amazed us, or touched us in some way. The art is fantastic and memorable. This comic series just has it all for me. Great story and great comic art. The Fantastic Four vs. The X-Men 1-4 limited series is definitely one of the best reads for me in my humble opinion, and is one that should stand the test of time.

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