The Wednesday Run – January 26, 2011

Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!

Fantastic Four #587
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artists: Steve Epting
Marvel Comics

Ah, death!

It’s the only true constant in the comic book genre. Well, that and rebirth. Heroes and villains die, heroes and villains return. They always have, they always will. You could bet the house on it, if you were a betting kind of person.

I am. Just don’t ask about the two million I currently owe resident EIC, Andy Burns. (That monetary burden, however, is under control. In the last few years, I’ve weaned it down from the original five million. Still, I could have sworn that M. Night Shyamalan directed Stuart Little, dammit!)

But I digress. This is the Wednesday Run and if you’re gonna run, you better run fast!

You see, Marvel Comics’ First Family, the Fantastic Four, shall see a subtraction of one this Wednes-err-make that Tuesday–yesterday!

That’s right! If you’re reading this column, you’re already a day late! Marvel Comics, in their infinitely sensationalist wisdom, in their glee for life’s black veil and the almighty green dollar, released issue #587, the big “superhero death” issue, to comic stores a day early!

Absolutely it’s a gimmick. So is the sealed black plastic bag the issue is being sold in.

There was a time not so long ago–let’s call it 1993–where such comic-related gimmicks very nearly spelled the death knell for the industry itself. I can’t help but wonder if history, like comic book superhero deaths, is repeating itself again.

If you’re a betting kind of person, lay down your odds in our dark-humoured dead pool. Who will cease-to-be this week?

Could our unlucky, four-colour adventurer be Ben Grimm, also known as the rock-encrusted The Thing? Could it be the elastically malleable scientist Reed Richards, AKA Mr. Fantastic, once thought dead in his own comic some years ago? Could it be his loving wife Sue Storm, where the clue may already be found in her nom-du-super: the Invisible Woman?

Personally, I’m putting my money on wisecracking brother, Johnny Storm, better known as The Human Torch – he who cracks one too many somethings this particular week.

But don’t cry for this long-standing, much beloved, Marvel family. Right as rain, the recently deceased will become the recently reborn. Just give it a few months, a major storyline dealing with the ramifications of loss and an inevitable change of creative team on the book – another true constant in the comic book genre.

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