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Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne Volume 1 TPB (New Printing) (Graphic Novel Pb) Paperback – 11 Nov 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics (11 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785142703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785142706
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 1.1 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 967,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joakim Jahlmar on 28 Aug 2002
Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of John Byrne's work in comics since I was a young lad, reading X-Men and the occasional Fantastic Four in Swedish translation. When finding this collection at Amazon and learning that it contained Fantastic Four # 232-240 (i.e. the first nine issues written, pencilled and inked by Maestro Byrne), I did not wait long before placing my order. And I was not disappointed. Byrne's work stands the test of time and I easily fell into the stories which revamped the FF in the early 80s. Presenting stories including Ego (the living planet), Dr Doom and the Puppet Master, Frankie Raye's transformation into another human torch, the failed attempt to restore the Thing's human form, and the resettlement of the Inhumans to the blue area on the moon, this trade paperback is a sheer joy to read.
If you are a fan of Byrne, buy this collection! If you are a fan of Fantastic Four, buy this collection! If you just enjoy well-crafted superhero comics (with a whiff of that cosmic perspective), buy this collection! For my own part, I just hope that Marvel releases a second volume. It would be fantastic to read the stories leading up to the Trial of Galactus (and that story as well).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JaspMasqueline on 10 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
Everyone loves the classics- the original Fantastic Four stories written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. But there was a second "classic" run, that of John Byrne, the beginning of which is contained in this volume. Byrne's writing wasn't rivalled until the 2000s, when names like Pacheco, Waid, Straczynski and Millar contributed; and none lasted as long, or had such impact. Byrne's artwork is excellent; crisp, expressive and simple, it exploits the still unsophisticated printing to its fullest.

In this volume Byrne will take the Inhumans to their new home on the Moon, make the Living Planet a threat, and introduce the "elemental" motif that seems so obvious in retrospect. He'll also begin the up-powering of Sue that will end with her as the Invisible Woman (previously, she'd been the Invisible Girl, despite having had children!) and the team's de facto second-in-command. Byrne's Doctor Doom, here showcased in a punchy one-shot with the Puppet Master, would again become the Master of Menace- even Lee hadn't made such consistently good use of Victor Von Doom. And we finally get to meet Aunt Petunia!

Good value for money, too. Every story a cracker, repaying repeated re-reading. The stories have not had nearly the exposure of the Lee/Kirby run; neither the sadly defunct "Fantastic Four Adventures" nor the "Essential" TPBs have covered this ground.

Highly recommended!
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0 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 July 2003
Format: Paperback
The book is set just after the Avengers and the FF's battle with Onslaught in Central Park. Cap is mysteriously transported to Tokyo where a terrorist plot is being hatched, Cap intervenes and this leads him to the terrorist organization Hydra. And after a blockbuster movie is made about him, wherever he goes Cap has to fight of hordes of adoring fans hanging on to his every word, which is a key factor later on in the book, coupled with this Cap also has to face the loss of his beloved shield at the bootom of the ocean. The art is great and modern and the plot is clever and intriguing. Also the book is interspersed with cameo (1-2 pages) appearances from Kang the Conqueror and the Red Skull. Altogether this is a great book for anyone who loves Cap!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Only the beginning...again! 26 Jan 2002
By John Dennett - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've always loved the Fantastic Four. To me they represent the very best of what the Marvel Comic universe is all about. Created by the legendary duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Fantastic Four formed a thematic bridge between the Timely Comics era of B-movie style sci-fi/horror and the Sixties superheroics of the Marvel Age. They were pulp adventurers fighting aliens and subterranean monsters -- but with superpowers. They didn't even wear costumes in the their debut issue! Lee and Kirby did their best work on the book, introducing characters like Doctor Doom, the Inhumans, Galactus and the Silver Surfer to name just a few.
After Kirby left the art chores on the book and Lee later stopped writing, The Fantastic Four took a long (decades long), slow slide into complete generic mediocrity. In 1981 long-time comics fan-turned-pro John Byrne, hot off a pencilling stint on the ascendant Uncanny X-Men, decided to try his hand at his old favorites...The Fantastic Four. This was made more interesting by the fact that he intended to write and draw each monthly issue alone, with only a letterer and colorist assisting. Although he was a top young talent at the time, not many people believed he would keep a monthly schedule, let alone make the book interesting enough to read. But Byrne had a plan...
"Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne" collects the first eight issues of his triumphant five-year run on the book, and highlights Phase One of the Byrne FF Plan: Get Back to the Basics. For his first several issues of there's not even a visual cue that the book isn't set in the Sixties; the street clothes, dialog, art -- even the coloring! -- is straight out of the Lee/Kirby days. In effect, it's retro yet so bereft of irony that it's classic! These issues are a love letter to the days when the book was great and also a little work therapy to get Byrne (and the book) in fighting trim for the real battle: returning the Fantastic Four to it's rightful spot as "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine". The pinnacle of this phase is the return of Doctor Doom in Byrne's now-classic 20th anniversary story, "Terror in a Tiny Town".
Byrne's sixth issue marks the beginning of Phase Two: Shake Down the Status Quo. After declaring that he's finally found a cure for Ben Grimm's disfiguring transformation into The Thing, the stretchable super-genius Reed Richards proceeds to screw him up even worse -- and permanently -- by 'devolving' Grimm back to the even uglier lumpy orange oatmeal look that he had immediately after his initial cosmic ray accident. Then the Inhumans are forced to move their entire homeland, to the Moon to escape death from the pollutants in Earth's atmosphere. Oh, and Johnny Storm's shy girlfriend turns out to have flame powers almost as powerful as his own!
My singular complaint with collection is that it ends just when Byrne is hitting his stride on the book and just before Phase Three of his Master Plan: Really Big Changes. Being arguably the best work of his career and definitely the best post-Lee/Kirby era for our titular heroes, I can only hope "Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne, Volume 2" is coming soon!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Byrne's Legendary FF Run Starts Here! 29 Jan 2002
By Daniel V. Reilly - Published on
Format: Paperback
When I was in Grade School, every kid I knew collected Comic Books. We would all get together every Friday in the Lunchroom and swap Comics, try to get each other to try different books, etc. I remember the excitement that we all felt when the first issue of John Byrne's Fantastic Four came out....the feeling of greatness that we all got when we read it. Everyone agreed that there would be no passing this book around- we'd all have to get our own copy every month.
So, with a real feeling of nostalgia, I picked up Volume One of Fantastic Four Visionaries. The stories hold up amazingly well, even after Twenty years. Byrne doesn't do a flashy overhaul of The FF (Like he did with DC's Superman..); he simply returns the group to their most basic element: They are not a Super-Hero group. They are a FAMILY, and Byrne, for the first time since the Lee/Kirby run, has them ACT like one. They bicker. They squabble. They tease each other, but they do it with love. When one is in trouble, the others rush in to help. They have more at stake when they're in a battle than the fate of The Earth: They have to worry about the Family members they're fighting alongside.
The stories in this volume are really just warm-ups for the stories that will (Hopefully!) be included in Volume II. The FF runs into Alchemical creatures sent by Diablo; Johnny (The Human Torch) Storm tries to clear the name of a dead man; The Earth is saved by the most powerful man in the World, while The FF are battling The Living Planet, Ego. A strange alien is coerced by winos (!) into helping them rob Banks. The FF welcome a new member, and help the Inhumans relocate to the Moon. Most importantly, they have their fondest wish granted by their greatest enemy: Dr. Doom. This story is perhaps the most poignant FF story ever. The emotions that Byrne imbues the characters with in this story are totally believable. The only beef that I have with the book is this: It would have been nice if Marvel had re-mastered the color. (And Byrne's stories are too wordy!! But that's just a small quibble.)
Fans of The World's Greatest Comic Magazine will love this book!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Byrne's real hallmark FF work was later... 29 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Fantastic Four were a major part of my comic collection growing up, and I remember how much I enjoyed John Byrne's run on the FF in the early 80s. Buying this book was part of my ongoing effort to collect some of the best stories I remember from my years collecting comics to share with my two sons. I really do feel that this time period was the golden age of comics, and I want my boys to see these stories along with standards-bearers like the Daredevil-Elektra and Dark Phoenix tales.

Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that the first few issues of Byrne's second FF run were really a set up to what follows. With the possible exception of issue #236's Dr. Doom tale, they were largely the kind of stories that filled a comic between longer epics, with less substance. As a result, what you really have in this book is a series of short vignettes spanning one, perhaps two issues. Most pay homage to the history of the Fantastic Four, which is great, and Byrne's illustration is as excellent as usual. In the end, I would've purchased this reprinting anyway, but the great stories - including the amazing Galactus tale and the Gladiator/X-men story of issue #250 - happen later in the run.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It begins here 8 Dec 2009
By "extreme_dig_cm" - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Byrne's famous run begins in '81 with great stories yet slightly-on-the-unrefined-side artwork (by today's standards), in part because he inks himself consistently for the very 1st time. If you can get past this initial element, the characters & stories here are colorful, lively & fun.

If people need proof that Byrne *could* draw better than this, check out his Avengers 188, 189, 190 & 191, inked by Dan Green, circa 1979. It seems like it's inking that makes the difference as these issues are some of my favorites Byrne's ever done. In any case, my favorite issue in this 1st volume is the attractive looking #238, featuring the Human Torch, Frankie Raye, the Thing, and even Herbie(!). I consider this to be the 1st landmark visual improvement in Byrne's highly successful run.

It seems Byrne has a thing for the original, Invaders-era Human Torch, as he consistently deals with this character in his work all throughout the eighties. We see it in this 1st volume in his FF, as well as his runs on Avengers West Coast, Namor, and briefly in his She-Hulk series too. It's a common thread in his eighties/early nineties work, and I like this consistency in artistic vision.

-Printing Quality-: The first two volumes in this series had inferior reproduction in their 1st printings, creating a very dated, dot-matrix look in various flat areas of color throughout. Second printings of these volumes, like this item I'm reviewing here, corrected this with high-quality color reconstruction. Still, if you already have the dot-matrix volume 1, I'm not sure the improvement in color-reconstruction here is really worth purchasing this again, especially since this newer printing also includes lighter & cheaper paper stock. I like the cover images on both editions of volume 1.

Included in this volume:
*Issue #232- John Byrne writes & pencils; Bjorn Heyn inks (Byrne pseudonym)
*Issue #233- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #234- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #235- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #236- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #237- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #238- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks... my favorite here
*Issue #239- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
*Issue #240- John Byrne writes, pencils & inks
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Solid super-hero stories with an emphasis on wonder, heart, and adventure 13 April 2006
By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. - Published on
Format: Paperback
In general, writer/artist John Byrne's "re-boot" of the Fantastic Four comic book series with issue #232 is highly enjoyable, though in my opinion the first few issues of his run over-corrected things a bit. In fact, Issue #232 (the first of the nine consecutive issues of the series collected here) reads like an only slightly more sophisticated version of 1961's Fantastic Four #1, which for all its innovations at the time, now basically reads like a children's comic book, albeit a good one.

But things soon pick up with some truly imaginative stories and some complex characterizations. Highlights here include an encounter with Doctor Doom and some very interesting developments with Johnny Storm's girlfriend, Frankie Raye.

"Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne Volume 2" is where things really pick up, however. That's where we see that Mr. Byrne apparently didn't hate every component of the series that was added in the years right before he took over. In particular, there's a really terrific Galactus story that makes good use of Galactus' herald Terrax the Tamer, the character created only a couple of years before Mr. Byrne's takeover of the title.

But for now, Mr. Byrne's initial Fantastic Four stories, despite some stumbling out of the gate, do a very good job of getting back to the elements that work best in F.F. stories: wonderment, high adventure, and a sense of family.
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