Everyone knows that the Fantastic Four is the greatest comic book ever, just like everyone knows Scotland is the greatest country ever. Therefore, a FF story set in Scotland should be the greatest comic of all time.
Not quite, but FF #564 and 565 were still cracking reads. Originally intended as a Christmas special, this two-parter is a perfectly judged interlude in the epic-sized, time-spanning, dimension-hopping run from Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. With just the right level of kookiness, it kind of reminds me of when The Avengers would let the Beast and Wonder Woman out on the razzle to pull a couple of tarts in between fighting Kang and Korvac, but some wacky shit would still end up going down.
As a Scotsman myself, it’s a delight to finally see the FF in God’s country. I used to love it back in the day when the X-Men rocked up to Moira McTaggart’s island, and even Spider-Man and Batman have visited our fair shores. So it’s only fitting that Reed Richards, the greatest brain in the Marvel Universe comes to Scotland to visit his family. He clearly had Scottish blood in him, because Scotland invented everything.
Anyway, the team visit Reed’s cousin who is a minister on the island of Iarmailt, and there’s a great Wicker Man feel about the whole thing; there’s something wrong but you just can’t put your finger on it. If you go back to #564 after reading the finale there will be a couple of things that make sense, some clues that were resolved.
Reed and Sue’s daughter Valeria goes missing at the end of #564 but I won’t actually give anything away about what happens in the finale as it might spoil the dynamite double-page splash that Hitch has crafted.
And the last page also has a wee teaser for what’s coming up now that the interlude is over. It jumps forward a few months and we learn that some bad shit has happened to Ben Grimm and his fiance.
You want to know the coolest thing about this issue though? The town where I live makes an appearance. Right at the end, there it is in all it’s West of Scotland glory, Coatbridge. Thing is, Millar comes from the ‘Brig and since Hitch has done such a perfect job of recreating the pedestrian area and St Patrick’s Church, I get the feeling that the home-town boy was down the high street with his Kodak, dodging neds to take a snap for the artist. If you’re ever in Coatbridge, there’s a cracking Chinese takeaway down that street.
Oh, one more very cool thing happens in the comic as well. MillarWorlder Chris King makes an appearance and gets his hole! Get in there Kingy! You knocked up a burd in the Marvel Universe!