Lee Allred continues to do a fantastic job of balancing humour and seriousness as Scott Lang and the rest of the team prepare for the final battle against Doctor Doom.
The issue begins with Alex Power apologising to everyone for his betrayal and then quickly moves on to Doctor Doom interrogating his parents, and being dissuaded from killing them by Ravonna. The way that Doom found out everyone else was alive was pretty clever, Black Bolt has a psychic link with his son, and since he doesn’t look upset, it’s obvious that Ahura and the rest are still alive. The only question for Doom is… where are they? Kid Immortus is picking up strange anomalies in time, but the reasons for these aren’t explained until later in the issue, because the FF haven’t done them yet. The preparations for Scott’s plan are pretty wide-ranging and weird. They recruit Sun Tzu (who like Julius Caesar, is actually a pink cloud alien), the miniature tiger from a previous issue is involved, Bentley is sent to steal some superhero robots from the Mad Thinker, She-Hulk picks up an Awesome Android (just a shame it’s not her old pal Awesome Andy) and Medusa is sent back to recruit a Golden-Age magician called Dakor. Is this a real character from Marvel history? If so, that is awesome, but even if it’s new, it’s still pretty good.
Perhaps the best scene of battle-preparation is when Dragon Man volunteers to be cloned, which leads to everyone shrinking down, and Ant-Man teaching a lesson about the ethics of cloning. In the end, they decide that because Dragon Man has a consciousness, and is their friend, it would be wrong to clone him. The fact that this book takes time out to do weird stuff like this is what makes it so unique, and even with Fraction gone (I love that he appears as a missing person on a milk-carton), his off-the-wall tendencies are being continued by all of the Allreds. So, Scott has everything assembled, I’m still confused about how this fight is going to look, but in the meantime, there’s one last opportunity for fun, as the Watcher allows everyone except Ant-Man to use his hot springs (they were built for Sue Richards on her honeymoon).
The conversation between Scott and Uatu was very interesting, with Scott challenging the very nature of Watchers, although it is strange to contrast the very chatty Uatu we see in this book with the silent version in Nova, and it all makes me very worried for the upcoming event where he’s going to die. I love that big bald weirdo.
I also love Bentley, the little psychopath, as he drills a hole in the wall to allow the boys to see what’s going on in the women’s bath (it is pretty sexy thanks to Allred’s art. She-Hulk has never looked better than when he draws her) and wants to charge $1 to look, but doesn’t get any takers. Bentley is such a great character, and he can get away with being a creepy sleaze and have it be funny because he’s so young. Dragon Man is outraged by Bentley’s perviness, and as he tries to stop him, he trips and smashes into the wall, inadvertently seeing all the ladies naked, and being branded as a perv himself, despite having no genitals.
Again, it’s just great to have this weird comedy in a superhero comic that also gets serious, like in the next scene, where Scott confides in Darla about the first time he killed someone. This is a pretty brutal prison flashback, but the tonal shift actually doesn’t feel jarring, thanks to Michael Allred’s art, his pop-art style encompasses all tones really.
After a quick scene where Ahura decides to don a mini-Black Bolt costume and join the fight, we get a very intriguing meeting between a whole bunch of alternate-universe Dooms, where they discuss what’s going on with the ‘real’ Doom, and a Namor-Doom raises an interesting point, why is Doom Prime teaming up with a non-Prime version of Kang? Could all this be a double cross? Kid Immortus was once Iron Lad of course, and he was in love with Ant-Man’s daughter. After this, Doom Prime steals Annihilus’ cosmic control rod, beginning the first steps towards becoming Doom The Annihilating Conqueror, and then the adults of the FF teleport to Latveria for the final battle.
Oh man, I can’t wait for the next 2 chapters of this series, I really have loved this strange comic, both under Fraction alone and now with Lee Allred doing the heavy lifting, the humour is perfect, the art is fantastic, and you care about the characters. Just look at the faces of those kids on the last page, how can you not feel for them?