Out of nowhere creatures from the Negative Zone are invading
New York. Although the initial incursions are halted by the
Fantastic Four, Reed Richards fears that this may be the prelude
to a full invasion. Leaving behind his wife Sue; the Invisible
Woman and her brother Johnny; the Human Torch to defend the
Earth, Reed and the Thing travel into the Negative Zone to
confront their unseen adversary...
Zone, by Greg Cox, is just the latest of many genre books
that he has written; having previously published works which
cover comic book heroes, Star Trek and Alias.
From a comic book fan there is a lot to commend this book,
though I'm not sure what the general public, whose only access
to the characters is the film, are going to make of it.
book is densely packed with references to the Fantastic Four's
past; indeed the first few pages are a virtual catalogue of
some of the most important races and characters to appear
in the comic book. It does not end there as the references,
though not coming so thick and fast, are provided as a steady
stream throughout the remainder of the story. For an old fan
boy like me, who grew up on the comics, this is a smorgasbord
of nostalgia, but I can imagine that the casual reader will
spend much of their time utterly confused by this.
individuals, which make up the Fantastic Four, are drawn well
and I particularly liked the fact that Greg Cox just takes
their super powers for granted. As in the comics the story
happens on an almost parallel world that looks and feels very
much like our own, except for some landmarks and the fact
that super heroes exist. As such, there are no long drawn
out explanations as to why they are; they just are.
On the down side much of the book, like the comic, appears
to be little more that a very long drawn out fight scene,
fine for a couple of pages, but it makes for heavy going in
its relentlessness. This also leaves little room for character
or emotional development. The villains suffer most from this
with only the most cursory examination of their motives; the
character of Annihilus does a little better than does Blasraar,
who remains an overblown pantomime character (should be played
by Brian Blessed). But still you feel that, with a little
less fighting, more time could have be devoted to developing
a more engrossing narrative.
over all not bad, its not going to make anyone's top ten fantasy
or sci-fi book list, but its an easy Saturday morning read,
which wont take you long to complete.
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