Fantastic Four #514-519

Writer: Mark Waid, Karl Kesel
Artists: Mike Wieringo, Karl Kesel, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco

This collection has two storylines. The first one is three-part “Dysfunctional” where the new Frightful Four attacks the FF. The second one is the FF’s part in the Avengers Disassembled storyline.

After the disaster where Reed took over Latveria (In “Authoritative Action” collection), New York is a hostile place to the FF. People are throwing garbage at them when they’re walking on the streets and when alien ships land in the city, the mayor refuses to contact them.

The story starts when the Wingless Wizard has come up with another plot to humiliate Reed and the FF. Now, he’s brought into his Frightful Four another member in addition to himself, Trapster, and Hydroman: Salamandra. She’s the Wizard’s ex-wife and apparently just as arrogant and self-centered as him. The Wizard is also using Salamandra’s daughter to gain entrance to the Baxter Building.

Johnny has found a date through a dating site on the internet and he’s trying to find a private place to meet her which isn’t going to happen when your family is the FF. After the family has met her, he takes her to the Baxter Building. Fortunately, his family is there because the girl lets the Frightful Four inside!

In this story the FF is pitted against another family which is more dysfunctional than their own. In fact, I quite felt sorry for the poor girl, Cole, who didn’t know who her father was until this moment and was used rather cruelly by her parents. Neither of her parents are rational people, either, so that doesn’t bode well for Cole.

In the second part, huge alien monoliths land in New York causing whole tidal waves. Even when the FF are trying to protect the civilians, the people still treat them like, well, like mutants. Johnny says: “The FF is here to attack the problem-” and people in the crowd say: “Attack!” “The Fantastic Four is attacking!” “You heard him! The FF’s gone crazy! They’re taking over the city!” Yup, their biggest problem is the FF and not the huge alien pylons cause tidal waves. Heh.
The monoliths start to raise the whole Manhattan out of the Earth and the FF try to get inside the pylons to confront the people responsible.

This was another very entertaining collection. The FF have to deal with unpopularity in addition to super villain problems. It has some really funny moments, such as Ben taking Valerie and Franklin out to trick-or-treating during Halloween. Overall I really enjoyed this one more than Waid’s two previous collections. It ends with quite a cliffhanger which leads to the next collection “Rising Storm”.