Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Battle in Time

The Big Time was about a time war that we never actually saw or had the story really involved with it so I feel I'm owed at least one battle in time. So I have dug out the best of them all. Better than the board game Duel of Ages where you play different historical figures and make them fight for your amusement. Better than that episode of Dr. Who where the second Doctor encounters an evil time lord who has gathered armies from all of history and is making them fight. This is the best.

That's right, I like this issue of Fantastic Four better than a Hugo winning novel by an aknowledged science fiction grandmaster.

In fairness, though, this is the single best issue of Fantastic Four ever created. Lee and Kirby had the epic mythic feel that made their entire run worth noting, Mark Waid and John Byrne had some excellent issues and great runs, but this single Walt Simonson issue is the greatest.

You see, Dr. Doom has at long last succeeded and captured the Fantastic Four. The Human Torch is trapped underwater, the Invisible Woman has been gassed, the Thing is beaten into submission and Reed Richards is buried alive. Reed manages to escape his death trap claiming he dug out with his belt buckle setting up this. I'll let Dr. Doom explain the plot from here:

Okay, the armor redesign for Doom wasn't great, but it only lasted for two issues.

So Doom and Reed are going to spend the issue teleporting back and forth in time and taking pot shots at each other:
The clocks in the lower left hand corner show the time and the clocks in the burst that appear when Reed and Doom vanish tell you what time they've traveled to. As they fight the Thing tries to rescue the rest of the team and occasionally interferes in their battle:

The best moment of all has Reed turn the time travel technology they're using against Doom in a way that was completely unexpected:

That shot Reed blocked traveled in time to 12:33am, nearly half an hour before their battle began. But if you look back at the cover you'll see that he actually deflected the shot out of the fourth wall and into the cover!

Doing all of this time travel isn't a good thing as it turns out and Reed and Doom have done serious damage to the space/time continuum by using it as their private battlefield. So finally no less of an authority than Judge Dredd shows up to haul them in. Or as close of a Judge Dredd knock off as possible for Marvel to use without getting sued.

So it's not a deep story. I'd never seriously put it up for Hugo. But something happened! And it used time travel rather than talking about it! In a method that took advantage of the strengths of the medium! And it got me to use lots of exclamation points and sentence fragments! That makes it the best time travel battle ever.