By James Robinson, Marc Laming, Scott Hanna & Jesus Aburtov
James Robinson’s Fantastic Four has reached its tenth issue and, so far, things seem to continuously be enjoyable. Whilst this book may not quite be the strongest on shelves, East of Eden is a good arc that continues to see things go from bad to worse for Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Thing and The Human Torch as the Four become even more divided. Johnny Storm has lost his powers and continues to be a destructive influence on himself, Ben Grimm is awaiting trial for the murder of the puppet master, and Reed and Sue are moving to the scientific utopia known as Eden at the request of visionary, John Eden. It could be that the Four are being split apart by Robinson, and it’ll certainly be intriguing to see if he can pull them back together again.
This issue is largely a Thing-centric issue as we look at how he’s adapting to life behind bars, and his encounter with former love interest, She-Thing, is about to make his life hell. Even though this reviewer was unfamiliar with She-Thing as a character, Robinson was able to make sure that the series handled their past well even if it felt a little too text-heavy at times, but having been a fan of the writer’s work for a while now, it’s what you’d expect from him.
Unfortunately, Leonard Kirk only does the cover art for this issue leaving the interior in the hands of Marc Laming. Whilst Laming is a solid artist, he’s not quite at the level of Kirk and, as a result, this issue doesn’t quite have the impact that the Kirk-pencilled one did. However, the inks of Scott Hanna (and Laming for page 1 and 4) and the colours of Jesus Aburtov are fairly solid, and while this issue might not be Fantastic Four at its visual best, it still manages to be a cut above other comics with lesser artists.
There’s another problem with this book too, unfortunately. It doesn’t quite hit all the right marks in the narrative either, which is a shame because up until now Robinson’s Fantastic Four has normally been entertaining and, dare I say it, more superior than Fraction’s previous run on the title. However, #10 felt too much like a filler and, yes, while we did get to see the Wizard and Salem’s Most Sinister, they didn’t appear as frequently as the cover suggested, and maybe one featuring both She-Thing and Thing would have been more appropriate.
However, one below par issue does not make this book as a whole poor, and this reviewer would still rather be reading an average Fantastic Four than a lot of other Marvel books on shelves right now, and I’m still highly anticipating the next issue. Here’s hoping that it’ll be an improvement over this one.