Besides the simple fact that his art annoys me, what I think differentiates Land from the other artists out there who use photographs as the inspiration for their work (like Tony Harris) is that those other artists take the photos themselves, so they are not cutting any middle man out of the deal. Tony Harris takes a photo, then Tony Harris draws from the photo – no one is going uncredited. However, when you do like Land, and search through movies, etc. to find a look you like, then use the computer to trace over the image to get the image into the work – someone IS going uncredited – the photographer/director/cinematographer who framed the original shot.
That should probably be its own “Cronin Theory of Comics,” but it is worth noting here because, well, every Land comic I read, it’s an issue! There is so little actually, you know, DRAWING in the comic. In fact, I specifically went looking for when I would first see the first “drawing” page, and when I hit it, I was impressed – until I realized that it was the page that Mitch Breitweiser started drawing!!! Breitweiser did a good job, by the by.
It’s a shame, because Millar has created himself a nice little final story right out of the Silver Age, in that the Fantastic Four have exactly ten days to banish their evil zombie counterparts back to their zombie dimension before the opportunity is lost forever. In addition, there is an alien parasite living inside of Johnny that, when hatched, could destroy the Earth. It will hatch in seven days. Reed is forced to consult with Doctor Doom to save Johnny, but while they are visiting Doom, the zombie Fantastic Four are about to escape.
Doesn’t that sound like a fun little story?
As it’s basically a set-up issue, the key to the story is whether the character bits are interesting, and I think they were in this issue. There was a fun (if overlong) opening with Johnny saving a brain-dead moron from a fiery death. Johnny has a great line when he learns he is essentially “pregnant” with the alien. The interaction between Reed and his older, Zombie counterpart is interesting, although the Sudoku thing is a bit TOO cute, as really, I sincerely doubt Reed Richards would ever actually play the Sudoku in the paper, as it would be just waaaaay too easy for him. It’d be like an adult playing Jumble, Jr. “UGR? Damn, that’s hard? Uhmmm…GRU? No, no…uhmmm…URG? Damn you, Jumble, Jr.!” It just wouldn’t happen.
All said and done, I think I will fall short of actually recommending this issue. The Land art was waaaay annoying. And the story, while fun, is still a bit too heavy on the set-up to overcome the crummy art for 2/3rd of the book.
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