Comic Book Review: Fantastic Four #1
Till this day I still can’t truly say what brought about the initial cancellation of the Fantastic Four books. The first main Marvel hero book to come to an end and for so long. This was an interesting time to bring Marvel’s first family back, and that leaves you wondering how serious they are taking this return. You want the right writer on board, the right artists as well. But most importantly, you want to make sure that at the end of the day this is a story that was worth all the time that these characters were neglected.
For such a big issue, I figured that they would milk things a bit. What I did like about this is that as a new #1, it is as new reader friendly as it gets. For as much as I do like the Fantastic Four myself, it went without saying that it takes some work to have followed everything that Ben and Johnny were up to on their own. Since Secret Wars, these two have been all over the place. On different teams, on new adventures on their own. This issue was a great take to take a step back for the both of them and dive into their mental states at this point where they cope with what is in the realm of possibility, and what they might need to give up on. The way they handle themselves was definitely fitting to their personalities. I was not shocked at all how Johnny even at this point still has struggled being a fully functioning adult as he should have by now.
The story told about a past adventure shared by this family was a nice one. I couldn’t see the purpose of it till the very end, but it was one worth telling if only for Ben to realize the next step he needed to take in his life. In turn, there was also a stronger appreciation to the role that Alicia takes in his life. For someone blind, she sees a lot which is admirable about their relationship.
I was a bit thrown off by the story of Doom, because it definitely felt like we missed something with him. It seems that the point of this issue was to bring him back to a familiar point of power and pride, but that came with some confusion as to how he once again returns to this disfigured face and bad attitude. Does this mean he is back to villainous ways as well? Who knows, but this story could have used a bit more to have fully engaged us like what unfolded with Ben and Johnny. Now probably would have been a time to table Doom as a whole and focus on bringing someone new into their orbit.
The team of artists for each of these three stories were impressive. Normally when you have an issue with multiple stories having different artists, normally you have to brace for the good and the decent. For Fantastic Four #1, I have to say that all of these artists were excellent choices in their own way. That is how you can tell that they are taking this new run of the Fantastic Four seriously this time around. For “Signal in The Sky”, I enjoyed the clean pencils, detail in the world around these characters, and the range of emotions expressed through these characters. Pichelli isn’t new to drawing the FF and proves this through an understanding of what makes these characters tick through body language, response, and actions. So in other words the way Johnny is full of energy, where in contrast there is a lack-of from Ben. The colors were standout being bright, bold, and full of energy for a story that was simply aiming to capture normal life for Ben and Johnny. Then there was “Our Day of Doom and Victory” which had that wonderful painted style to it, which in turn created this sense of realism to the story. The dark colors in particular were fitting when we jump back into Latveria during some gloomy days. They worked to the benefit of Doom in particular since there was apparently much to hide about the way his face has returned to the horror show it was before. That is the best way to describe it when the way they draw his face, despite being covered by shadows, shows bumps, charred skin, and melted skin. A nasty combo if you ask me.
Personally I was a bit disappointed that there was no actual return in this first issue. It was teased, though this was more of a catching up with those left on Earth more than anything else. The only reason I could give them a pass right now is because this creative team went out of their way to make it known through the Skottie Young story that next month is where we will without a doubt get our return.