By James Robinson & Leonard Kirk
Fantastic Four #1 marks the first time in a while where we have not seen two titles focused on these specific characters – the Fantastic Four & FF titles respectively having been launched. FF, during the Marvel Now! period, was run by Matt Fraction – who also wrote the main Fantastic Four, but FF had a higher critical acclaim. When Fraction left the projects to focus on his indie books like Satellite Sam and Sex Criminals – along with his fan-favourite Marvel title, the series continued for a bit under new writers before undergoing a relaunch like other Marvel NOW! titles, such as Wolverine. However, unlike Wolverine – Fantastic Four did keep the same writer. James Robinson stepped in to handle this title alongside his All New Invaders and the end result is a pretty awesome first issue – that should keep readers hooked with a good look into the future of what we can expect from Marvel’s First Family.
Despite the uniform switch, which remains unexplained, the core Fantastic Four cast is the same. We get Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and The Thing, and we get an ominous look into what might lie in store for future issues. We’re introduced to the new relaunch via Sue Storm writing a letter, and whilst this book adopts a somber, darker tone than some would like, it allows for a very solid first issue that isn’t clogged down by introducing the characters – because the Fantastic Four are so well known that even the newest Marvel fan will have heard their name and will probably be vaguely familiar with their origin stories. Don’t go in expecting another origin story though, for the Fantastic Four are fully established as Robinson continues some threads from the previous series – but keeps the first issue new reader friendly.
Despite the relatively grimdark tone, Robinson manages to remain true to some of the Fantastic Four’s most iconic moments. Everybody is in character – and there’s the all-too familiar sight of the Four charging into battle, with the Thing yelling “It’s Clobberin’ time”. He also makes Sue Storm the point of view character for the reader to follow, and as a result Robinson manages to make the book to play to his strengths. It’s a very solid first issue as a result of this – and it’ll be very interesting to see where things pan out from here.
Leonard Kirk handles the artwork and he pulls it off very well. His artwork really fits the Fantastic Four with some stunning pages, the mayhem presented in the fight with Fin Fang Foom being one of the book’s best moments visual wise. One thing’s for sure though it looks like Kirk was the right artist for the job – and it’ll be very interesting to see what he can bring to the table in future issues.
Overall though, Fantastic Four #1 is a great first offering, and easily one of the best things to come out of All New Marvel NOW! so far. If you enjoyed Robinson’s Earth 2 over at DC or his recent All New Invaders then this book will be right up your street – but if you’re a fan of the Fantastic Four then you’ll get a kick out of this as well. In fact, you’ll probably enjoy this even if you don’t fall into the above categories – because Robinson is certainly a very solid writer and always manages to impress.