Sunday, June 29, 2008

[comics] Fantastic Four: Marvel super-prison protocol

Fantastic Four #558, page 11, written by Mark Millar and drawn by Bryan HitchNot to rag on the same book all over again, but this page is from Fantastic Four #558 (written by Mark Millar, drawn by Bryan Hitch), and it's a shining example of a weird, annoyingly-common phenomenon in superhero comics. Click it and take a look at the full size version.

Doctor Doom is being held (according to the next page), at the Raft, a prison facility for superhuman offenders. And, for some reason, the people running this place let him keep his goddamned armor. You know, with the lasers and the forcefields and maybe a fucking time machine, for all I know. I'm sure he'd pitch a serious fit if they tried to take it away from him--especially since he's so nuts about keeping his scarred face covered up--but I kinda think it'd be worth the trouble. Hell, even if they think they've removed all the weapons from his getup, I can't imagine it'd really be safe to leaving the evil genius walking around in a whole pile of electronic scrap.

And, of course, superhero comics do this shit all the time. And, of course, we all know why: character recognition. If a supervillain isn't wearing his brightly-colored tights, how are the readers supposed to know who he is? Well, okay, maybe through the dialog. Or even a narration box. But how are potential readers just flipping through a book to see if it contains something of interest supposed to recognize the dude? I guess that's what it's really about.

Still. I'd call this kind of a special case, here. Why not show Victor von Doom without his armor and cape and such, but with his mask? It's enough to make him recognizable, and it'd slightly imaginable that he'd be allowed to keep something he's got such a psychological dependency on. Also, he'd present a much more interesting visual, wearing just the mask with an orange prison jumpsuit.

Anyway. This silliness aside, it's a good issue. Looks like the start of a very interesting arc. Just hope it ends better than the last one did.

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