Was the Fantastic Four Return Worth the Wait?
Personally I was a bit disappointed that there was no actual return in the first issue. I waited so long for that moment and then boom, hit that last page and suddenly hit with a message saying not to worry, next issue would be the true return. Nothing more painful than waiting, and then being told you have to wait just a bit longer after that. The first issue wasn’t a bad one, but it was only feeding that fire that screamed this better be worth the unexplained long break from Marvel’s First Family.
As I said last month, this was an interesting time to bring Marvel’s First Family back, and that leaves you wondering how serious they are taking this return. So with that said, was the return of the Fantastic Four worth the wait? It sure as hell was! I have to say that I had my doubts about the hype they were generating for this book. There was so many questions about where this family had been all of these years, what kept them from coming back to Earth and the rest of their family, what it would take for them to have the opportunity to come back home. I like to think that this creative team delivered that, and so much more. From the start of this issue, no time was wasted for us to understand what they have been up to all of these years. The way it was laid out to us before was that they were restoring the universes that were destroyed. Adding to it that they took it upon themselves to create more made a big difference. It made sense for them to continue creating life and helping to sustain it. That this number even made it into the thousands was staggering.
As for the characters themselves, I was taken back by the realization that it wasn’t just the Richards family on this adventure. It was them and the Future Foundation as a whole, along with Owen. It could have just been the actual family, and I would have been fine. However, the addition of everyone else only added to the excitement when there was so much that they all had to offer as well. Not to mention, when thinking in the grand scheme of things, it is just as appreciated knowing that all of these characters weren’t wasted either. They could have been tossed back to Earth with no direction, and that would have equally been a shame too. What made them so integral to this story I would say is the sense of wonder that comes with this kind of exploration. Their engagement fueled ours as well.
It was also heartwarming to see the way that Valeria and Franklin have grown over time as well. They are still the same kids at their core, but you could immediately feel an improvement to their maturity, which you would expect from them given the real world experience they are getting. I was only let down by Franklin who still seems unsure of his power. He has nailed universe creation, but everything else fundamental about his powers I would assume to have been groomed by now. He’s still young, so I suppose you could cut some slack there. As for Reed and Sue, it was equally heartwarming to see how this adventure for them was everything they could have hoped for as a family of scientists. They are superheroes, but they are scientists and problem solvers before anything else. Being able to slip into that role without violence left them with so much room to enjoy each other’s company (even when surrounded by kids). There’s something to admire overall about a couple like them who can withstand the tests of time, and writers who tend to run out of ideas.
Now the danger which came for them, I found this to be the perfect response to their actions. One thing that you never get enough of about the cosmic side of the MU, is what happens when elements of order try to push back. When someone is on a creation spree, what do you expect? An equal force that is bent on undoing that creation. This new enemy felt like the equivalent of the Fantastic Four taking on Galactus. The only difference of course that this entity is able to undo whole universes with ease. How the family tackled this situation was definitely one of the most uplifting moments in Marvel comics this year. A sharp reminder of what it really means to be a part of the Fantastic Four, and to be a part of that “family”. Readers and fans were given the biggest nudge to everything that this team stands for, and that is all you could have asked for if like me you wanted to see how serious they were taking this return.
This is one of the few times where I really can commend Marvel for their decision-making. Their removal of the Fantastic Four from the picture did feel like the biggest slap to the face, but their return more than made up for this. Genuine storytelling, outstanding artwork, and establishing of what it means to be the Fantastic Four. What more could you have hoped for here? I walked away with the answers I needed because they put everything on the table from start to finish for the second issue.