This book is an absolute delight. Creators Chris Eliopoulos and Marc Sumerak are in an absolute groove with this series, as each new special is an improvement on the previous one, with a mixture of good fun and interesting stories (and Eliopoulos’ nifty Watterson artwork). This is clearly the work of two men at the top of their games, working with characters they have grown quite familiar with – and the result is a very good comic book.
I will open, though, with a problem I had with one of the stories. In the second story, “Telepathy Terror,” Franklin gets a mind-reading helmet and discovers that SOMEone is having homicidal thoughts about him. Ultimately, Franklin discovers that HERBIE, his trusty protective robot, is the one having homicidal thoughts about him constantly. And it is “resolved” by HERBIE pointing out that he has fail-safes that keep him from hurting Franklin.
“Don’t worry! Yes, I want to kill you, but so long as the fail safes stay in place, I won’t!”
That’s way creepy. A much cooler idea, I think, would have been to have Franklin discover (via the helmet) someone, like, say, his mother having homicidal thoughts about his father after a fight, with the revelation being that thinking bad things is no big deal, as people THINKING stuff doesn’t mean they actually WANT to do it.
Instead, we learn that HERBIE wants to kill Franklin. That’s creepy.
“Hamster Havoc” and “Speed Demon” are good examples of the groove I spoke of, as they are very formulaic plots, especially within this series, as the idea of Franklin finding some device his father invented and having hilarious hijinx is the bread and butter of these stories, but Eliopoulos and Sumerak hit all the right notes, delivering, well, hilarious hijinx!
In “Ocean-Ape Escape,” there is a weird bit – CONTINUITY! Yes, a character from a previous special shows up – Squid Kid. That was weird. The story was cute, though.
The highlight, though, is the final tale, “Turkey Trouble,” where Franklin and HERBIE end up traveling to a world ruled by turkeys, so Franklin and HERBIE encounter turkey versions of the Fantastic Four. How Franklin and HERBIE escape is particularly amusing. A very nice writing job there.
All in all, this a great special – fun for all ages! Highly recommended.
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