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Farwell3d said on January 5th, 2013 at 8:22 pm

To be fair to Byrne, he did some pretty good work on Angel for IDW a few years ago.

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Almighty Kfish said on January 5th, 2013 at 11:37 pm

You can’t end it like that without telling us the third of the three. I’m assuming the second is Stan and Jack here, so I would assume either Hickman or Waid are the third run (weighing more towards Hickman as you seem to like Doom having a code of ethics rather than Waid’s baby eating magician), but you never know, you might have an upset vote and I could be completely wrong…

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Yeah, I don’t know how Lee/Kirby, Waid, and Hickman aren’t all automatically on any Best FF Runs list either.

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Actually, it’s Walt Simonson’s. Short, but sweet. FF #352 is one of the cleverest time-travel stories ever done in a comic book. Even his ‘Acts of Vengeance’ crossovers are great.

This isn’t a knock on Waid and Hickman, I should clarify; I just have to admit that after Tom DeFalco, Jim Lee, Scott Lobdell and Chris Claremont, I kind of lost my will to keep following the series even after hearing it got good again. :)

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Hickman’s run is better than Byrne’s. Yeah, I said it.

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Ian Austin said on January 6th, 2013 at 5:31 am

Tragic miscarriage?

I… have not read this comic. And will eventually. But that story horrifies me. Not that it sounds awful in terms of writing, moreso that I like Fantastic Four as a concept being about characters who don’t go through that sort of tragedy on a semi-regular basis.

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Walt Simon’s Acts of Vengeance crossover was awesome, but the rest of his run, surprisingly (I love Simonson) not so much.
And Wolfman’s story arc leading up to 200 was, I still think, one of the FF’s best, particularly Doom’s final mano-a-mano with Reed.

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I’m less impressed by Byrne’s use of old villains because it ties into his perennial claims that everyone since the creators has gotten the character (superman, FF, whoever) wrong and he will bring it back to greatness.

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I thought that the majority of Byrne’s run was really good. But (there’s always a but) the trial of Galactus was idiotic. The idea that Galactus was a force of nature and therefore couldn’t be held to the standards of regular mortals was absurd. A storm is a force of nature. You can’t have a conversation with a storm. If you figure out a way to stop it from destroying your home, you stop it. If Galactus can be put on trial, and participate in his own defense, then he’s an intelligent being and therefore responsible for his actions. If he chooses to murder billions of intelligent beings because he’s hungry, he’s still murdered billions of intelligent beings. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Having Reed defend him was both immoral and illogical.

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I think Waid isn’t on a lot of people’s list because Waid was the guy who did the Irreedemable arc for Doom

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David Lee Ingersoll- But what if the universe dies without him, which is the concept being offered

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Amen. John Byrne’s FF is like Don Rosa on the Duck comics: evocative of the famous run of the original creator(s) but also a great work on its own.

For third place I gotta go with Waid and Wieringo. I absolutely loved it especially that story that brought back Doctor Doom as well as their last issue.

I still don’t get how anyone can like Hickman’s run. Couldn’t stand it, art or story wise. It just didn’t feel like the FF.

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Brian Smith said on January 6th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

For all the knocks on “Secret Wars,” it’s got one of my favorite subtle bits of ironic foreshadowing ever, when Galactus is meeting with Reed Richards and showing him that Earth is fine in their absence:
Reed: “There’s Sue! I see she hasn’t had the baby yet!”
Galactus: “No…” (promptly changes the subject)

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Heksefatter said on January 6th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I am with this one. Byrne definitely has his flaws, among them being his huge (Doomesque) vanity, which made him believe that he “rescued” the characters like no-one else could, as well as his tendency to omit background artwork, so as to make his own drawings stand out.

But on the other hand, for all his flaws, he did revitalize both FF and Superman. Lots of mistakes, but overall both huges successes, which makes lesser mistakes forgivable. Also, I loved Byrne’s take on Doom, where he had some good properties. The Waid run really made me go ‘meh.’ It wasn’t credible that a man who had fought so long and sacrificed so much to deliver his mother from Mephisto would now sacrifice the other woman in his life to another group of demons. Doom was never depicted very consistently (look at Stan Lee’s run) but that was a mess.

However, I am with David Lee on the ‘Trial of Galactus’ (or Reed, really). Reed Richards saves the life of Galactus, because he refuses to let anyone die. Somehow, this makes a lot of people very angry, not least those who survive his massacres. Then, out of nowhere, Galactus appears and shows how he’s part of some cosmic thingy and that Reed sensed this by intuition. Also, Byrne introduces himself in the comic as the chronicler of the FF. If he’s tried that in a Rex the Wonder Dog comic, Rex would surely have feasted on his byrnes, I mean bones.

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I agree — I love Byrne’s run on FF. Great nuanced use of old foes, beautiful art (best during the first couple of years), and a good grasp of the main characters. I especially liked how it almost became the Fantastic 5 for a while — what a great twist at the end of that story.

One problem (and a big one) that I have with the run is Sue’s character arc. It started off well enough with Byrne showing Sue’s incredible power levels and her ability to be an independent thinker. The issue where she had to defend the Baxter Building on her own was pretty amazing.

Then we get the miscarriage and the Psycho Man story, and it became pretty sexist. It seemed like advancing Sue as a character had to involve both her reproductive ability and her sexuality. She was developing very nicely as a character without pulling out the reproductive tragedy and the super-powerful/sexual/crazy cliches.

To be fair, Byrne’s not the only one at Marvel who powered up a female character and weirdly tied that to her sexuality. Just read some of Claremont’s purple prose during the Dark Phoenix saga — it’s full of sexual innuendo. But Byrne did write that arc for Sue, and it seriously disappointed me.

If he had just followed his own example from earlier in the series, Sue’s character could have been greatly enhanced without making her an object of pity and adolescent fears about female sexuality.

Just my two cents. Otherwise, it’s one of my favorite comic book runs from my early collecting days.

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ImperatorMJ said on January 7th, 2013 at 12:28 am

No one’s going to mention She-Hulk?

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I agree with David Lee on the Trial of Galactus. Saving Galactus was stupid in the first place; then Byrne pulls this cosmic stuff out of his ass to excuse it (and IIRC, it amounted to a rather creepy argument that if Galactus destroys a world, it wasn’t much use and deserved what it go).
The “Galactus is above good and evil” worked okay in his first appearance where it was stated he’d never attacked a world full of intelligent life before, and that once he’d promised to spare Earth, he’d never break his word. But a couple of years later, he’s back breaking his word. And we learn he’s butchered thousands of other worlds over the years. Trying to pretend he’s not a more powerful version of Dracula (who, like Galactus, kills because he most) was laughable.
Speaking of laughable cosmic stuff, at least DeFalco’s run got the Celestials’ butts kicked. I could never stomach Mark Gruenwald’s approach to them as the most cosmic of cosmic entities, so it was kind of refreshing.

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I don’t know if I’d qualify the “Psycho-Man turns Sue into a man-hating bondage harpy” storyline as “character growth” either.

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Heksefatter said on January 7th, 2013 at 10:38 am

*shakes fist at Michael P*

You made me look that up. I was blissfully unawares. “Malice, Mistress of Hate.” Oh Ghod.

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@ImperatorMJ: The part where it was a brilliant idea to add her to the team, or the part where Byrne got her naked as often as possible?

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David Lee Ingersoll? I loved Misspent Youths!

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@Joe X – Thank you! It’s great to be remembered!

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I’ve looked at some of Hickman’s run and it is all right, but what really brings it down is the “killing” of Johnny Storm. Death has become a punchline in the MU and DCU and it just looked like a cheap stunt. I think there could have been a better way to incorporate Spider Man in FF than this cheap stunt.

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Lee and Kirby established that Marvel Comics and its staff exist in the Marvel universe as the chroniclers of the adventures their characters get up to, so Byrne including himself in Reed’s trial wasn’t arrogance as much as a continuation of him playing with the toys that Stan and Jack created.

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Coming late to this, but I’ll throw in a dissenting voice: I dropped the FF about halfway through Byrne’s run, and never regretted it.

Yes, there were some great stories. (His first one, with the elementals? Wonderful.) But over time they got ridiculously decompressed — there were whole issues where, basically, nothing happened but setup. And a startingly high number of stories were *just stupid* by any reasonable standard.

Someone already mentioned “Malice, Mistress of Hate”. But what about the story with Karisma, the makeup villainess? Which was basically a 23-page long shaggy dog story setting up a truly stupid pun? Or how about that one where he devoted two issues to the Thing and the Torch fighting a bunch of robots based on Walt Disney characters, so that Byrne could mock Neal Adams and his Expanding Earth crankery? Or the Negative Zone story that was not just “Doctor Who-inspired”, but a cut-and-paste of a Doctor Who story, to the point where fans are still wondering why nobody sued Marvel for it? The Terminus storyline? The centerfold issue? The Hate-Monger? And for all the “empowering the Invisible Woman” stuff, much of it is also marred by Byrne’s mild but pervasive misogyny. (Which She-Hulk issue was better: the one where she gets put in a porn magazine, or the one where the entire cover is nothing but a close-up of her face getting smashed by a boot?)

No, large chunks of Byrne’s run sucked worse than gravity. It wasn’t a great run with a few hiccups; it was an extremely uneven run that included a lot of truly dire material.

Doug M.

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I found Byrne’s run horrid for the reason stated already.

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