Fantastic Four Ultimate Collection Book 3

Fantastic Four Ultimate Collection Book III #issues 503-513

Writer – Mark Waid

Artists – Howard Porter (Authoritative Action)

Mike Wieringo (Hereafter)

Paul Smith (Gone Fishin & Best Left Forgotten)

Authoritative Action – Waid and his team unravel the mystery behind Doom’s exile (or another hidden agenda). Revisiting Latveria after its decimated people were left behind by its great leader, and promising a great change. The Fan Four family takes the people under their helm. But along the mission, something is not quite right with Reed. This is one of those tales that actually is connected to classic adventures of the past, and wrapping them together wondering if it could all fall apart.

Waid does some excellent writing, leaving various breadcrumbs for readers to find, it becomes more of a Sherlock Holmes mystery, with more twists at every turn. Plus the art is aggressive, and edgy, yet while retaining some light within the darkness of the story. Be sure to read every page carefully, especially the twist. And can Doom really die?

Hereafter – Waid is back for another journey, but this time around its about Ben. Dealing with the team, and working around the loss of a friend. Knowing the Fantastic Four, this family never gives up. But it also teaches a lesson to readers, that faith “can move mountains” even with the blue eyed Benjamin Grimm.

(Foreword – I met Mike Wieringo many years ago, it was right around the time he became part of the F4 team. I wasn’t aware of his diagnosis ahead of time. I actually had a chance to sit down and share some lunch with the kind fellow. It’s amazing what this artist could come up with, especially taking on colors, and making each character his own. His art style felt retro, yet had a modern touch that made it work so well. Even though these characters have been around for decades, he made it his own. During our lunches, I never bogged questions about comics, it just felt like a different discussion. Just the simple stuff, like the people he’s met over the years, and family. It was fun, those were some nice times. I really miss this character, and I’m sure he’s entertaining some old friends still.)

Hereafter in its art form is dynamic, told in a 3 part tale, it feels like a movie with an ending some would actually let the series wrap up with. F4 has always been an unlimited source of storytelling, whether in writing or artform. Here, Wieringo gives readers a glimpse into the “other side”, a world without Benjamin Grimm (aka “The Thing”). How his friends and family would go on without him, and what changed because of the things he’s done then and now. It never lets up on one emotion, each character goes through several, and eventually coming together to find a source of comfort. In the end it’s a touching tale about a family that will beyond earth, or existence to still be together. (included is a special nod to an old friend that many comic book fans may recognize at the end of this tale).

Spider Sense – By the title, I’m sure you well know what character is the center of attention is this fun adventure. After the comeback of Thing, this wacky side story takes Johnny and Spider-man on a tag team quest to set things right about their heroism. Well of course things don’t go as planned, and it becomes a huge mess. With Waid and Wieringo delivering a “Butch and the Sundance Kid” kind of vibe, you know it is going to be good. Except instead of guns and horses, mix well with superpowers, add a villain, serve well with a smile.

Gone Fishin + Best Left Forgotten – Waid and Smith unravel a two parted tale about Susan, with the need to reach someone heart to heart (and of course attention). With Reed brainstorming up new projects, it leaves her with free time, but also feeling lonely as well. BLF actually brings Sue towards uncharted territory, an unlikely team up with one of Reed’s ex-girlfriends (ie – the one that got away).

And it unveils what “could have been”.

FF Ultimate Collection Book 3 is an awesome set of tales put together in a trade paperback. I find myself surprised with this series, and just how far these tales expand and work so well. There is never a dull moment, but a definite page turner. I humbly recommend that any reader of comics must pick up this one, whether purchase or at the library. Well worth your time, and during a rainy day.

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