Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fantastic Four 605.1

Corporate behemoths can of course be agile and iconoclastic. The West Coast digital ascendancy of Apple, Google and Amazon proves this point. But Marvel under Disney can also be added to the roll call.

No better of example of Marvel's willingness to take a sledge hammer to its brand is Fantastic Four 605.1, written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Mike Choi. It re-imagines the Fantastic Four origin tale through the lens of counterfactual history. What if Hitler had won the war and begun the 1,000-year reign of the Third Reich?

In Hickman's telling, Doktor Richards is tasked with keeping the people of the German Reich from growing soft. As the Führer asks the Nazi Mister Fantastic:
You see, Doktor . . . while it starts with symbolism, it is the possible fulfillment of that dream which truly energizes a people. But, and this is our real problem, how do you motivate the already victorious? Hmmmm?
I'll tell you . . .
With new horizons.
So I ask, are you the man for the job, Doktor Richards? Can you peak [sic] past the sun and race to infinity?
To which Doktor Richards replies:
Yes, Führer, I am. Watch as I conquer heaven. 
I think the space program played much the same role in the Cold War United States. It is well documented that the U.S. space program "arose from Nazi Germany's ashes."

Hitler in actuality was a control freak who suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. He tried unsuccessfully to centralize all functions of the state under his administrative control, an impossibility which led to the eventual meltdown of the Reich.

Most of the corporate chieftains and dominant U.S. oligarchs suffer from the same mental disorder as the Führer. The political system has been gobbled down whole.

The twelve scans that follow relate the Nazi origin of the Fantastic Four. Richards vivisects the brain of a young, brilliant Viktor von Doom to augment his own; he then uses his enhanced brain power to conceive and launch a space shot to harness cosmic radiation. He recruits a brutally violent sister-brother team, the Sturms, along with, from out of a concentration camp, a Jewish pilot, Benjamin Jakob Grimm.

In the last couple of scans the Golem-like Grimm pulverizes the Führer and shatters the skull of the Iceman Sturm.

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