By Matt Fraction, Christopher Sebela and Mark Bagley
Fantastic Four #12 was supposed to be Fraction’s last issue as the sole writer, but alas, both he and Sebela are receiving credit for the writing. It looks like we’re not going to get much of a final hurrah, but it could be worse. This issue has much of the strong characterization and fun that the previous 11 had.
The Fantastic Four are now stuck in the past of a strange planet. Fraction has always ridden the line of sci-fi and superhero, which is how the Fantastic Four should be written. Like past issues, every character gets a little special moment to shine, especially Ben Grimm. The Thing has always been the heart and soul of the team. He’s the big loveable jerk that makes you cry from time to time. Ben is slowly shedding his rock form, which makes him vulnerable, both physically and mentally. It’s a brilliant metaphor for what is happening to him internally.
There’s obviously something going on with Bagley’s art. He’s never been this sloppy and inconsistent before. There are pages that are great, but most appear rushed and careless. I’m not saying that he doesn’t care or anything, I’m just worried that perhaps his work is being rushed to meet a deadline. It’s not the ugliest comic, for sure, but Bagley is an incredible artist. He created high expectations with his past work, so it’s time to correct whatever is causing this seemingly rushed work.
We might as well say goodbye to Fraction. It’s still going to be his story, but he’s no longer writing Fantastic Four or FF. While not for everybody, Fraction has added some wonderful layers to these already perfect characters. Hopefully, we won’t see a dip in quality in the coming months, but it’s always a possibility. The Fantastic Four deserve the best and Marvel should continue to give that to them.