JLA; Ultimate Fantastic Four; Incredible Hulk
by Chuck Austen & Ron Garney
You may recall how when reviewing the previous issue I stated that if I were smart I'd skip the remainder of Austen's run? As suspected, I'm not that smart. I plunked down my $2.25, suckered in by the pretty cover and thinking that "The Pain of the Gods" couldn't possibly get any worse. Guess what? It's worse. If you have any affection at all for the Ostrander/Mandrake Martian Manhunter series, skip this at all costs. Austen completely ignores the depth of character that was developed for J'Onn, as if he hasn't spent the last umpteen years trying to fit in with and understand humanity. Next issue, Austen takes on Wonder Woman. It'll be like a train wreck, and I won't be able to look away.
Rating: 1.5 (of 5)
Ultimate Fantastic Four #10
by Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen & Wade von Grawbadger
Here we have the ultimate expression of decompressed storytelling (if you'll please pardon the pun). Four things happen in this issue: 1) Reed discovers Van Damme's location; 2) Van Damme broods, and swears he will destroy the Four; 3) The Four decide to take the Fantasti-car and go after Van Damme; 4) The Fantasti-car takes off. Back in the days of Lee & Kirby, these four sequences would have taken about 2-3 panels each--about a page and a half total. Here they take up an entire 24-page comic book. Thankfully, Ellis, Immonen & Grawbadger make all the standing around and talking interesting to read and look at, and the 3-page sequence of the Fantasti-car taking off looks gorgeous--even if Kirby could have done it in 2 panels.
Rating: 3 (of 5)
Incredible Hulk #76
by Bruce Jones, Douglie Braithwaite & Bill Reinhold
In this, his last issue, Jones helpfully provides us with a line of dialogue from The Leader that sums up his run: "All that ridiculous running about, all that covert bull--the espionage, the mind games, the trails of dead and broken bodies... all that a needless waste of time and humanity..." I enjoyed Jones's Hulk at first, but as it dragged on it became apparent that it wasn't going anywhere, and now it rushes unsatisfactorily to a conclusion. Oh well.
Rating: 2 (of 5)