Byrne pays tribute to Jack Kirby’s photocollage technique.
Other than that, this arc feels old. Reed “dies” again, fooling only his wife. (How many times can he die in the Negative Zone? And why did anyone think Human Torch was actually dead when Jonathan Hickman did the same exact thing?)
There’s even a tired take on the old “go back in time and kill Hitler” hypothetical.
I can’t blame John for staying with the series, I’m sure he was making bank and as a comic book writer that almost never happens. But in terms of creativity and as a testament to the overall quality of his run, Byrne is leaving with a whimper not a bang.
Not unlike Marvel Comics itself; 1978-1985 was really the high watermark of the company, which went bankrupt in the 1990s and only started to come back creatively about a decade ago. And this arc came out in 1986.
We’re in a renaissance of comic book creativity today–but it’s certainly not all Marvel. I daresay that Marvel isn’t even the industry leader in terms of fresh and exciting ideas anymore. I still love their comics, I still love their characters, but the real “revolutionary” storytellers are doing their best work in indie books.
Oh, and this story? It was all a dream.
Like Dallas. Which also happened in 1986.