Friday, August 14, 2015

FOXFIRE #4 – May 1996

Credits:  Ian Edginton (plot), Dan Abnett (script), Kevin J. West (penciler), Philip Moy & Bob Almond (inkers), Edd Fear (letterer), Rob Alvord & Malibu (colors)

Summary:  Mourning Star and her Tradesmen soldiers follow Foxfire and her allies to the Marvel Universe.  Foxfire discovers that her powers have been temporarily disrupted by the transmat device.  While Punisher helps the heroes escape, Mustang is killed by one of the Tradesmen.  Eventually, Mourning Star catches up to Foxfire and attempts to steal her body.  Foxfire’s powers return tenfold and she melts her “mother” into a pile of goo.  Foxfire then erases the Punisher’s memory of the past few hours, and promises Dancer that she’ll use her new powers to take them back home.

Continuity Notes:  
  • Last issue, Mourning Star’s goons were called the Custodians.  This issue, they’re the Tradesmen.
  • Mourning Star has been harvesting young Ultra antibodies as a part of her scheme to replace her broken robot body.  She claims that the Tradesmen have given her the technology needed to swap bodies, so now she wants Foxfire’s.
  • The mind-link Mourning Star triggered with Foxfire “somehow” opened up Foxfire’s “untapped reservoirs of control,” which is the explanation for her enhanced powers.

Review:  We’ve reached the end of Foxfire, surely the greatest legacy of “The Dark Phoenix Saga.”  A text piece in the back claims that this was a miniseries all along, and perhaps it was, but it does seem as if the entire Ultraverse line folded not long after this issue was released.  The text piece also tells us to look for Foxfire in upcoming issues of Ultraforce, which somehow reminds me of the hollow promises that Gunfire was going to play an important role in Justice League after his series was axed.

For the fourth issue in a row, the story feels the need to cram in an “untold tale” that really should’ve been told before this series began.  This time, the story flashes back to Mourning Star’s fight with her robotic husband, an event that apparently occurred fifty years ago and left her with a damaged robotic body.  This impaired robot somehow needed teen superhero antibodies to survive, but now that plot’s out-of-date, since she can simply steal her daughter’s body.  Somehow, there’s that word again, this leads to Foxfire reaching her true potential and becoming “the stepchild of the Phoenix.”  I suppose I should applaud Malibu/Marvel’s restraint for not using that as the subtitle of the series.  Actually, I’m surprised they didn’t, since this series all along was a pretty flagrant grab at X-completists’ dollars.  Of course, if you were looking for a book that honestly ties into the X-canon, you’re going to be disappointed.  And if you just want an entertaining superhero comic, you’re in for a mess.  I don’t have a real problem with Foxfire as a protagonist -- she’s thankfully not the Clueless knockoff I was expecting -- but she’s surrounded by half-formed plots that can’t withstand a small amount of scrutiny.  No one at Malibu seemed to know what was going on from issue to issue with this series.

What else is in the finale issue?  Let’s see…ah yes, the Punisher is still here.  And he contributes about as much as you expect.  This is also the Punisher during his it's not a mid-life crisis ponytail days, so I have even more motivation to pretend that this never happened.  The issue also features some of the ugliest lettering I’ve seen in a professional comic.  I don’t know if Edd Fear was using computer fonts in the previous issues, but this issue has a font so stiff and awkward it’s borderline Comic Sans.  The closing pages reveal the winner of some “We’ll Draw You in a Comic!” contest.  The results are predictably…1996.  I say we close out our look at Foxfire the Faux-Phoenix with this classic image:


James said...

Yeesh, what a mess. Still, I'm morbidly curious to see you review the Ultraverse from day one... Even if it seems like a flash in a pan that barely sustained itself for one TPB volume.

Scott Church said...

I really appreciate you going through these Ultraforce books so far. I have the X-Men crossover ones in my X-Book collection and have never read them, they are on the to do list and I'm glad you covered it.

You should do the X-Men crossover book that was a Wizard mailaway with an Ultraforce team.

I've recently gotten every Malibu and Ultraforce book after having them on my list for years, I've wanted to read all these books from start to finish.

Same goes with the Tekno comics collection, there are less than 100 comics between their run of them and BIG Entertainments run. I've got them all, just haven't had time to read them. Same goes with Crossgen and Valiant's original run.

G. Kendall said...

Are you talking about X-MEN/EXILES? I reviewed that one awhile back. I don't see a listing for an X-MEN/ULTRAVERSE online. It looks like they crossed over with the Avengers, but I don't see one with the X-Men.

wwk5d said...

What a sad ending for the Ultraverse. Not every title was a winner, but there was some good stuff here and there, would good creators working on them.

Its possible those in charge always knew the Ultraverse line was done for, so they threw in a last minute X-over to squeeze out as many extra dollars as they could.

Scott Church said...

Sorry, X-Men/Exiles is what I meant and I had to go back and see that older post, I forgot about that, I had read your post about it.

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