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Don Calame
The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness
Jason Marsh, Jeremy Adam Smith, Dacher Keltner
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Fantastic Four: War Zone - Greg Cox A rare day off for the Fantastic Four turns into a impromptu war zone as they discover various creatures from the Negative Zone have invaded their dimension and are wreaking havoc. Now Mr. Fantastic and the Thing must go into the depths of the dangerous Negative Zone to discover the cause behind it while the Invisible Woman and the Human Torch stay behind to stave off the threat.

Greg Cox is one of my favorite comic book novelization writers because he really tends to make it feel like part of the comic universe set through prose. The stakes are always high, the battles long and hard fought, and his style of erstwhile verbosity and technical jargon works especially well in the canon where Reed Richards constantly keeps going on about quantum mechanisms being displayed to the nth axis. Although real physicists might roll their eyes at the discussions, this is a novel about an antimatter universe invasion, so I think that level of realism has been well and truly suspended.

Each of the main characters get their moments to shine in this novel through personal moments and acts of heroism. In the Thing's case, a short lived romance was my favorite for how it felt like something anybody writing the series would have loved to include. Fans of Ben and Johnny's bickering, the family moments, and well worn catchphrases need not worry about these things being excluded. There are some cute nods to fans, such as a cavalry of H.E.R.B.I.E.s coming to the rescue while Johnny Storm grudgingly admits their usefulness, even as he mentions how annoying he finds them.

While this novel is not a groundbreaking idea--evil invaders hatch plan to take over/destroy Earth, are repelled, rinse, wash, repeat--fans of Fantastic Four will enjoy the ride. Readers who turn up their noses at comic book superheroics won't find anything Literary and Deep here to change their mind, but this is a thoroughly fun read if you're already a fan of the world and characters.