This is the issue where we learn exactly how the Fantastic Four become lost in space and time. For that, it’s the most important issue of Matt Fraction’s FF series so far. It also might be the best issue yet.
It starts off with a fun little scene where Franklin and Valeria Richards are talking about the Big Bang. It’s a cute way to ease into the big adventure the Fantastic Four are undertaking in this issue. Of course it turns out that the FF aren’t the only ones there to witness the birth of the Universe; an old foe was sentenced to die there. This feels kind of like a John Byrne issue in how the story unfolds. Everything starts out normal, but things quickly spiral out of control once the villain arrives.
Even in the middle of the chaos, there’s still room for character development. All six of the family members have a part to play in the fight scene, which lasts for the entire second half of the issue. The art is good for the most part. Character expressions are recognizable, the fight scene is full of ship debris flying all over the place, and several of the family members show odd fluctuations in their powers, possibly hinting at how their cellular degeneration will affect them. The only problem is that Franklin Richards and Jonny Storm look too similar.
This is well worth reading for any Fantastic Four regulars, or anyone who wants to check them out. It’s the only Marvel Universe franchise that focuses on the family aspect just as much as the story. It’s more about adventure than it is about action and super heroism, although it still has plenty of them too.
When I first learned that Matt Fraction was taking over this franchise, I was concerned. I had only read his mediocre Uncanny X-Men run and the lackluster Fear Itself event. This series has continued to surprise me in how good it actually is. Sure, his characterization of The Thing could be a bit better, but he’s at least recognizable. This issue has squeezed any last ounce of concern out of me, and I’m sticking with this series unless it gets really bad.