Reed Richards and his friend Ben Grimm have a dream to harness
the power of a cosmic storm to find genetic information that
could aid all mankind. Having been turned down by everyone,
and finding himself in financial difficulties, Reed turns
to an old scientific rival, the industrialist Victor Von Doom,
for help. With Victor's financial backing, and with a crew
that includes Victor, Reed's old girlfriend Sue Storm and
her brother Johnny, the five find themselves on a space station
hoping to find knowledge that will change mankind, but due
to a horrible miscalculation they themselves are changed.
Can they overcome their internal squabbles to fight an increasingly
paranoid Doom? Can they become The Fantastic Four...?
Fantastic Four started as a 1961 comic book, from the
fertile minds of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby - quite possibly
the two most influential creators of the modern comic book
genre. The Fantastic Four was a very different type
of book; the main characters had no secret identities, and
were presented as more of an extended family. In the case
of Sue and Johnny they were brother and sister and eventually
Reed would marry Sue, and Ben Grimm took the part of the grouchy
uncle. The main difference, comic wise, was that, like any
family, the stories were just as much about their relationships
as they were about beating the baddie of the month.
This novelisation is written by Peter David, who has had a
very successful career as an adapter and writer of television
genre novels as well as comic books, so you would think that
this would be an easy gig for him. But the first quarter of
the book seems very badly written. It's a shame that the characterisations
are so poorly handled. Prior to the launch into space Victor
is described as living behind a mask, Sue feels invisible
to Reed and still has her emotional shields up and Johnny
is described as fiery in nature - King Lear this isn't.
As the book progresses the terrible pun-smacks across the
head ease down, but never really go away. Okay, so Peter David
is restricted to a large extent by the original screenplay,
but as Dennis O'Neil's Batman
Begins novelisation shows it is possible to
use the medium to improve on the original.
with it and it does improve, though it never really captures
the growing sense of family that was an integral part of the
original comic. Victor's growing madness and his transformation
into Doctor Doom is handled well, but ultimately he fails
to include an added dimension to either the film or the characters;
they remain without a doubt two dimensional. Maybe it's a
fault of the type of stories that invariably have to be written
to introduce a new team of superheroes - establish the characters,
set up conflict with a baddie and end on a fight.
not a bad book, but one I think he most probably wrote in
his sleep. It certainly doesn't detract from the film, but
at the same time fails to add anything really new.
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