Excuses, Excuses...

By | Friday, March 09, 2007 Leave a Comment
I was caught off-guard Wednesday by seeing Black Panther and Storm show up in the latest issue of Fantastic Four -- I thought they weren't going to show up until the following issue a month from now. So I spent most of Wednesday and Thursday scrambling to update FFPlaza.com with as much new info as I could get together.

It definitely showcased for me how great it was to run much of the site through a MySQL database, though. I just needed to drop in one line that said "Link every instance of 'Black Panther' to his bio page" and the computer took care of a lot of work for me. I also had some systems in place to get a lot of cover images ready a lot quicker than I would've anticipated. I've still got loads to do on the site, but I was at least able to get some of the pieces in place without too much hassel.

But while I was uploading and reconfiguring and such, I finally did put some thought into the "new members of the FF" thing for what was effectively the first time. One of the issues that often plagues the addition of new members into the Fantastic Four is that the group is really a family of explorers. Adding people who aren't tightly knit into the FF family is dangerous, not because it upsets the existing dynamic, but because it alters the very core of what the FF are about. John Byrne deftly worked in She-Hulk by throwing her first seconds as a member directly in contrast to the family theme. Minutes after she joined, the team was presented with some serious complications to Susan's pregnancy and She-Hulk's first "adventure" with them was sitting in a hospital waiting room.

T'Challa is an interesting choice as a replacement member because, despite debuting in Fantastic Four and being on generally genial terms with them, he's not a frequent guest of their book. But there is at least a connection there of some sort, and he could easily take Mr. Fantastic's place in the book on several levels. Storm's presence would be questionable -- she's only met with the FF on a handful of occassions -- were it not for her recent marriage to the Black Panther. So, while we are starting to get into the extended extended family of the FF, it's still "in their circle" as it were.

I like that what has traditionally been a very homogenized book (in terms of racial diversity) now has a couple of racial issues to deal with. While Johnny and Ben have never shown to issues with black individuals, Johnny has had something of a short temper with mutants on occassion. Further, the Fantastic Four have never really dealt with the public on either of those racial tensions.

The "Civil War" event has put me off a lot of what Marvel's doing these days, so I'm not nearly as jazzed about the idea as I would've been, say, three or five years ago, but that, coupled with Dwayne McDuffie writing the book, shows at least a little promise.
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