While the first four issues of Matt Fraction’s Fantastic Four/FF run were good, they were little more than setup. This marks the first true issue in Marvel Now’s “Greatest Comic Magazine” as the Richards family travels through space. It’s a great stand-alone comic that feels like a classic Fantastic Four story, and it also contributes to the overarching story for Fraction’s run.
The family have just discovered a new planet made almost entirely of unstable molecules. Since Reed is looking into a cure for his medical condition, this is the perfect opportunity. What follows is an entertaining adventure story that retains the family focus that this franchise is known for. There’s a good amount of humour and an entertaining fight scene after things go wrong. The only thing that really bothered me was Franklin calling out “Mommy” – he’s supposed to be a bit old for that.
This past fall, I read John Byrne’s entire Fantastic Four run for the first time, and this issue kind of reminds me of their month-long trip to the negative zone.
The thing that holds this issue back the most is the art. For the most part it’s good; it has a warm, friendly feel to it and the planet looks very interesting. The colourful backgrounds are appealing to the eye as well. The problem is in the facial work – it’s often hard to tell the characters apart. Jonny Storm and Franklin Richards look almost exactly the same in close up panels, despite their considerable age difference. If not for their different hairstyles, Susan and Valeria Richards would look the same too.
This is a great comic. It’s fun, imaginative and humorous. If not for the problematic artwork and Franklin’s iffy dialogue, I’d say it’s almost perfect. Fantastic Four fans should definitely pick this up, as should anyone who is curious about them.