Tuesday, April 6, 2010

You're All Alone


The Sinful Ones (a.k.a. You're All Alone) by Fritz Leiber: It sometimes seems as if science fiction exists partially to repeatedly ask the question 'What is reality?' and then offer a nearly endless variety of possible answers to that question. Fritz Leiber's short novel starts off in the 'One ordinary day...' mode before quickly veering off into one of the more disturbing examinations of 'reality' ever put to paper. You're All Alone, Leiber's original title for the novel, sums up this paranoid fantasy about whether or not a person can ever be certain of the reality of the people and things around him or her. In a very vague way, this is a vacuum-tube era version of The Matrix, but without kung fu or computers or any easy answers. Or a Messiah, for that matter. Highly recommended.


Essential Fantastic Four Volume 5 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, John Romita, John Buscema and others: Jack Kirby's last twenty or so issues of his original Fantastic Four run appear here, along with a handful or issues illustrated by other hands. We again do a lot of revisiting of villains and situations, including Mole Man, the shape-changing alien Skrulls, the Submariner, Doctor Doom in what may be the best Doom story ever, and the antimatter Negative Zone and its bizarre inhabitants.

The most pivotal storyline included is that of the birth of Franklin Richards, first child of Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Girl. He'll undergo some serious rapid aging over the course of about twenty issues, going from birth to what appears to be two years old, prior to settling back into the more sedate 'normal' world of superhero aging. Highly recommended.

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