The End of Fourever.

Speaks for itself.

Speaks for itself.

I actually just finished reading Fantastic Four No. 645, the “last issue.” I put the “last issue in quotes, because the series has been cancelled and restarted before…renumbered and reworked. Since Marvel still owns the print rights to the intellectual property and the characters, we will certainly see the Fantastic Four return to print at some point. As I’m fond of saying…comics always return to the Status Quo.

So…how was the book, you ask?

It was okay. To be honest…the main story went through a perfunctory “wrapping things up” superhero battle. Everyone has their little cameos, and having the team split up lets the little character schticks get done. The arts was well handled, and excitingly composed, but at the end of it, the whole thing was wrapped up in a tidy, neat plot package. Too tidy.

Also, the end of the main story has the team, with a repowered Human Torch, hanging around the Baxter Building wreckage, saying that they are “back together and here to stay.” That was almost too tidy…since we, the reader know that they are not continuing in their own book, and that the team WILL split up. Future solicitations show the Torch hanging out with the Inhumans, Reed off with the Avengers on something cosmic, and Sue with other Avengers looking for Reed. Future images we have seen for MONTHS. It makes the close of the story ring false, in a way that it didn’t have to in a living, editorially consistent universe.

There was a cool section where previous FF creators talked about their favorite covers to the FF, and favorite stories as a result. That was pretty excellent…but not really a comic book.

The backup stories were well done, all by different creative teams. The first one, where the Torch runs into one of his first girlfriends, who is now divorced, is pretty amusing, and the story at the end with Reed and his daughter is just charming. Both of those stories really make me question why I’ve gotten such a consistently lackluster book for eighteen months, when such clever and charming quality is out there.

The Fantastic Four is traditionally one of my favorite comics, since I was little. I’m sorry to see it going, even if I’m pretty sure it’s temporary. The protagonist and Pony Torch seem peeved about it too. I may draw a strip about why she’s mad…although the reasoning is pretty simple. Over the course of Marvel Comics since 1961, there have been 130 members of the Avengers. 130. The U.S. Government is handing out Avengers Priority Cards and Quinjets like candy, it seems. Plenty of those members are D LIST. The Fantastic Four, though…the main four characters that are usually on the team are all A- List.

When they need a substitute….it is a BIG deal.

Of those subs…there have been fifteen. Fifteen since 1961. Total membership ever of 19 people. It’s a very, very exclusive club. A club of science hero adventurers that combine Thor Heyerdahl, Jaques Cousteau, and Neil Armstrong with Harry Houdini and Muhammad Ali. Marvel Comcis is STILL harvesting the creativity of the first 75 issues of the book, and turning it into actual gold.

Who wouldn’t want to be part of that kind of awesomeness? Certainly I do, and certainly the protagonist does. Hidden Cities of Inhumans, Ego the Living Planet, and the menace of HIM. That’s your day to day existence in the FF, on an average day.

With Johnny Storm back as the Human Torch…our hero gets the boot. Sigh.

In a weirdly related point…I watched some pretty odd things unfold at school today. I seemed to be a demanded observer for a colleague, one that I like, basically quitting in slow motion. It seems to be a process still evolving, still coming to a head, like watching time lapse photography. I’m a bit bummed about that, because she’s a person that brings a huge amount of good instruction to the table. If she does in fact leave teaching, the profession will lose someone good…the type of person that it should be trying to find, in fact.

I also watched the new Principal selection committee form. Numerous people came to me with questions about the process, about what would happen, and about the other candidates…people I have never met. There is great concern abounding around the process, and the budget, and various committees, and this general expectation that somehow, I’m going to step in and make sure it is all Done Right. That’s thoughtful, except the last few times my team and I did that, we got badly burned, declared Rascals, and there were repeated attempts to remove us.

My motivation to assist today was pretty low as a result. As it is…I’m pretty sure I know how things had to turn out. People are machines made out of meat…you wind them up, and they do the things that their systems make them do. No more, no less.

The head of Pledge LA, in a bewildering move, brought a rep from Pearson to talk to me specifically. Now…I haven’t seen Pledge LA’s Head Honcho in some time, and there is a whole lot of bad water under that bridge. Still…bringing me the rep from Pearson…the company that DID NOT deliver the digital textbook for the odious iPads? That seemed like folly. While bewildered, it turned out that she brought him to me for a review of the nonexistent textbook. It seemed like a practical joke pulled by Bizarro teamed up with Salvador Dali.

I wish now that I had my five minute long continuous rant/screed on some form of recording, to loop. I would never have to say it again…although I did say “I told you so,” numerous times. In different ways, to change it up, but I made my point clear. The best was, “So…the prophecy has been fulfilled.”

I just don’t say that enough. Need more prophecies.

Also…nothing says, “I know what I’m talking about with technology, SIR!” like having your own Arc Reactor on your gear, all seething with the blue promise of computing power and general “techiness.” It makes your point pretty strongly, with the subtle message of, “Your whole company couldn’t make one digital textbook/curriculum…but I built a possibly nuclear thing, in a CAVE, from SCRAPS of other things.” You don’t even have to say it, the Arc Reactor says it for you.

So you see, my day was abstract, but not like a Fantastic Four adventure. At no point did I hop into a rocket convertible with several friends to repair a single electron in the Microverse. That would have been cool.

Without final issue trade dress.

Without final issue trade dress.

Next Issue: More About Technology, Leadership, and even Age of Ultron! That’s a whole lot of stuff! Plus COLOR!

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