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Review – Fantastic Four: Negative Zone (Marvel Comics)

Fantastic Four Negative Zone (Marvel Comics) variant cover (detail) by Mico Suayan
Overall
8.6/10
8.6/10
  • Writing - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Art - 8.7/10
    8.7/10
  • Overall - 8.6/10
    8.6/10
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Fantastic Four: Negative Zone

Writers: Mike Carey (Main), Ryan North (Backup)
Artists: Stefano Caselli (Main), Steve Uy (Backup)
Colorist: Erick Arciniega (Main)
Letterer: Cory Petit
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 27, 2019

Off to the Negative Zone the Fantastic Four go. What mystery awaits them as they check on one of Reed’s experiments started many years ago? Plus The Fantastix have their very first adventure!

 

Dilemmas in Fantastic Four: Negative Zone

Fantastic Four: Negative Zone finds our heroes traveling to a dimension they are all too familiar with. Yes, the dreaded Negative Zone! Home to such baddies as Annihilus, Blastaar, and many others. But one of Reed Richards’ experiments in the area causes for investigation—an experiment he started many years ago. What mystery awaits our team, and will they make it out alive? Plus the first adventure of the Fantastix! New owners of the Baxter building, but are they heroes or just pretenders? 

Writing

Fantastic Four Negative Zone (Marvel Comics) main cover by Kim Jacinto
Fantastic Four Negative Zone (Marvel Comics) main cover by Kim Jacinto

Fantastic Four: Negative Zone is a one-shot story by Mike Carey with a backup story by Ryan North. Mike Carey’s main story is a pretty fun and interesting journey with our family of heroes, and a nice look into the mind of Reed Richards as a scientist. Carey does a great job of getting the story going. He doesn’t waste time and gets right to it. You can kind of feel that urgency in the beginning, that he knows he doesn’t have a lot of time so he gets his story going quickly.

He does settle it down after getting us into the thrust of what is going on, and our heroes are off to the Negative Zone. From there it is just an exciting little one-shot story of an experiment maybe gone bad for Reed and the family. It has everything you want in a Fantastic Four story. It also has a strong ending, as well.

Ryan North takes us on the first “real” adventure (See Fantastic Four Vol 6. #4) of the new team, the Fantastix. They are not that well known or familiar characters at all. North has to do a lot of heavy lifting to get us familiar with the team. He does a great job in such few pages to get us caught up with the characters, what has happened, and start a new adventure for them. Maybe a little too much dialogue at times? It gets a little much. But it had to be done to get the story off the ground and it works within the confines of the story. He gets a lot out there in very few pages.

Art

Stefano Caselli has a wonderful style for the main story in Fantastic Four: Negative Zone. It is nicely detailed and the characters look great. I love the way Caselli plays with Mr. Fantastic’s stretching abilities. They are used in some fun, small, subtle visual ways in panels. Caselli has a good style that is a nice mixture of a bit realistic yet slightly cartoony at the same time, making it a great fit for this story of Reed’s struggle with his experiment.

Erick Arciniega aids this with his coloring work, with an overall fantastic tone. I love the blue coloration he uses for the Fantastic Four’s costumes. They are just the right combination of bright and dark. The blues and purples used for the space scenes are great, bringing out some wonderful coloration in the blackness of space.

Steve Uy handles the art in the Fantastix backup story in Fantastic Four: Negative Zone. Uy has a very different style than Caselli and it fits well with the more “offbeat” story North delivers for the Fantastix. He is a bit more “cartoony” and animated with the characters and the coloring is a lot more flat and toned-down. You can feel more of a manga/anime influence in Uy’s artwork, and it helps separate the two stories well.

Conclusion

I enjoyed both stories in Fantastic Four: Negative Zone. They were both fun and interesting in their own rights. Although, I  would say that it might need a different title, maybe. I was a little confused on whether it fell into the ongoing Fantastic Four story or if it dealt with the Annihilation Scourge event that just started. It does not deal with either one of those, which is great. I love one-shot stories and these are two good ones. But, I just think maybe it could have used a different title or something to avoid confusion. Other than that, great Fantastic Four story that is super easy for anybody to jump into and enjoy.


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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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