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Review- The Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel Comics)

The Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel Comics) variant cover (detail) by Mark Brooks

The “Four” Are Back in The Fantastic Four #1

Marvel fans have been demanding it since the end of Secret Wars, and now it is time! The first family returns to the pages of Marvel Comics in The Fantastic Four #1. Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm have been traveling through multiple universes to try to find their family. Ben Grimm, the ever-loving blue-eyed Thing, knows one thing for certain: they are dead. Johnny Storm keeps hope alive, believing that somehow, some way, they have survived. The two are now home settling down in their lives; Johnny, still keeping hope alive, moves on with his life and Ben Grimm makes a life-altering decision. Then a signal lights up the sky and the whole Marvel Universe is put on notice!

Writing

The Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel Comics) main cover by Esad Ribic
Main cover by Esad Ribic

Dan Slott takes on the writing duties on The Fantastic Four #1. I know people have their different opinions on him since his long tenure on Spider-Man. For me, personally, I have not read a ton of his work. A few of his Silver Surfer issues and a little Spider-Man here and there. So it didn’t really bother me either way. What I do know is that he is apparently a huge Fantastic Four fan, and that bodes well for the series.

This first issue is pretty spot on. Slott uses The Fantastic Four #1 to talk about family and relationships. Obviously, the Thing and Johnny Storm are the main cruces of issue #1. This can be a little confusing if you have been the reading the Marvel Two-in-One series, as Ben and Johnny have been trapped on a different world without their powers since issue #7 and recently issue #8. Now they are back on their home Earth and their powers seem to be doing better than ever. This seems to be more of a timing and publishing problem on Marvel’s side as to why you would have that series continuing where Johnny and Ben continue to search the multiverse, while this series is happening obviously well after the events of Marvel Two-in-One

If I don’t think about the continuity issues of the main story and the Doctor Doom backup story, I then thoroughly enjoyed reading The Fantastic Four #1. The relationship between Johnny and Ben is written well; having the characters build back up on relationships back home is a very interesting aspect of the story.

Minor Spoilers: Skip This Paragraph if You Haven’t Read This Issue.

The Fantastic Four #1 does not actually reunite the family. Any person that has been reading comics for any amount of time should not be too surprised by this. Usually, when an issue like this happens it teases out the big coming-together for a while. This issue is not any different. Part of me was a little disappointed we did not see the team reunited, but another part of me understands why. Dan Slott and Skottie Young deal with the obvious coming outrage in a pretty comical way with a backup story featuring the Impossible Man.

Art

Sarah Pichelli handles the art duties on The Fantastic Four #1 and it is really the highlight of the issue. Wow, she gets some amazing expression out of the rock-hide himself, Ben Grimm. She gives him that loving, “soft” face that lets you know the Thing really has a heart of gold under his rocky exterior. The amount of emotion Pichelli gets from him and all the other characters throughout the issue is wonderful.

Pichelli’s art helps drive the main story about family, love and moving on all the while still having hope. She also does a great job of depicting the characters. The Thing has that heavy-hitter heft and weight to him, while when Johnny “Flames On” he seems to float through the air. Elisabetta D’Amico’s nice tight ink lines help bring out some fantastic details throughout the issue, while Marte Gracia’s colors bring a nice joyful tone to the series.

Skottie Young, as noted earlier, does a short one-page story which his cartoony style fits superbly well for the more comical nature. And Simone Bianchi and Marco Russo bring an eerie, dreadful tone to the backup story entitled “Our Day of Doom and Victory.”

Conclusion

The Fantastic Four #1 was a delight to read. Full of hope and adventure to come, along with some big changes for characters. The art by Sarah Pichelli is gorgeous and the highlight of the issue. The continuity of the series does drag the issue down for me; if you are reading Marvel Two-in-One or The Avengers you may be a little confused about a few different things in this issue. Besides that, I had fun reading it and I am very excited about what is teased for the future of the Fantastic Four.


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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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