Maybe it’s because I don’t follow comics news like I used to, but I am a bit surprised that writer Peter David, and I count myself as a fan, seems to be mostly doing mini-series work for Marvel. I remember when the guy was writing two or three regular series at a time, and I generally liked what I saw. Now, I’m not exactly displeased or anything. I am just kinda wondering what happened. For all I know, the guy might even be semi-retired.
But he did apparently pen a New Fantastic Four mini-series…
Issue: New Fantastic Four #1, June 2022
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Alan Robinson
The Plot: Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, and the Hulk team up again to battle demons in Las Vegas.
Commentary: So, my first exposure to a Fantastic Four comic was actually the Walt Simonson/Arthur Adams three parter that debuted the “new” Fantastic Four in the form of Marvel’s then hottest characters, namely Spider-Man, the Joe Fixit version of the Hulk, Wolverine in what was basically street clothes, and the Dan Ketch Ghost Rider. I ended up sticking around when the regular team came back, and the “new” team was actually a fun storyline involving Skrulls, the Mole Man, and Reed Richards generally being a lot smarter than anyone would give him credit for in ways that don’t involve science.
This new mini-series seems to be set not long after that first team-up for that foursome. And, quite frankly, Peter David might be the best guy to write the story if the original creative team is for one reason or another unavailable. He’s largely responsible for the Joe Fixit version of the Hulk, and the story is set in Joe’s old stomping grounds of Las Vegas. David also has done a Spider-Man run or two, and he’s done some Wolverine stories as well. If he did anything with any version of Ghost Rider that wasn’t some kind of guest appearance in one of his regular books, I am unaware of that, but three out of four ain’t bad.
Now, these aren’t four characters that associate with each other all that much to begin with. Sure, they all more or less know each other, and there’s some nice, gentle humor here involving Wolverine basically figuring out Spider-Man is a photographer working for the Daily Bugle that Spidey tries really hard to deny, but the essence here is there’s a priest named Father Priest (yes, people point that out to him) that cares for the homeless in Vegas, but he discovers many of his regulars are going off to lectures underground by a fellow who, well, turns out to be a demon.
Oh, and for reasons unknown, he can make things happen by, essentially, wishing for them. He’s being chased out of underground tunnels by the possessed homeless folks, and he somehow gets outside. He wishes some heroes would come deal with it, and Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider all seem to get the idea that they need to get to Vegas ASAP. Hulk sent a jet.
That said, there are some hints that Ghost Rider might be somewhat immune to the priest’s power, whatever that power is, and a first encounter with the angry mob of (mostly) demonically-possessed homeless people doesn’t go too well.
That just means this mini-series got off to a good start. The New FF don’t get along very well in some respects, but that mostly seems to come down to Spider-Man being uncomfortable with how quickly Wolverine pops his claws. The next issue promises some connections to the original FF, and even if I can’t have Arthur Adams on pencils, Alan Robinson’s work actually looks a bit like Adams’s, so I can’t complain there. Hopefully this one turns out better than the various Maestro minis that were hampered by various back-up stories that didn’t add as much to the main story as I might have liked.
Wednesday “You Reap What You Woe”
Comic Review: King Of Spies
Noteworthy Issues: Green Arrow #1 (April, 2023)