Fear Itself: FF #1 — Bunn/Grummett — Sept. ’11/ Marvel Comics

No sooner did the Fantastic Four lose the Human Torch—as well as gain Spider-Man, nifty white uniforms, and an official name change to the double eff—did all hell break loose throughout the Marvel Universe with the huge Fear Itself crossover.

Recasting the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing as an Asgardian hammer-powered wrecking machine was a masterstroke, one that preys on Ben Grimm’s worst fear that he may one day become the monster that he sees reflected in the eyes of others.

It seems he was right to be worried. The Thing is a formidable force to be reckoned with on his best day. The Marvel cannon is chock-a-block with Thing/Hulk throw downs that level city blocks at a swipe; give him what looks like a molten lava infusion, a big hammer, and weird talking tentacles that wrap around and goad him into doing what he really shouldn’t, and you’ve got yourself a problem.

The familial make-up of the FF has always given their stories an extra dimension that thrown-together teams of heroes only dream of. After nearly 40 years of reading comics on-and-off, I have to admit that it’s hard to be shocked by the actions of characters I’ve known for decades. Writer Cullen Bunn takes Grimm to a place I would never have imagined he’d go, and it makes for a very captivating read.

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