By Karl Kesel, Matt Fraction, Raffaele Ienco, Lee Allred, Michael Allred & Joe Quinones
The past few issues of Fantastic Four have been dragging along and not really giving us anything except a poor and convoluted story. That’s why it’s so great to see a run that started out so well have such a grand finale. The Fantastic Four certainly deserve a nice sendoff before we usher in a new creative team and a new #1 issue.
All of the confusing and needlessly complicated storylines are ironed out and explained. Not once will you be lost, which is more than we can say for some of the issues leading up to this point. The final battle with Doom, The Annihilating Conqueror is over somewhat quickly; with the rest of the issue being used to take a breather and see what happens after the dust settles. Some of the emotional punches don’t quite work and feel awkward and forced, but none of them take you out of the experience. There is some definite foreshadowing going on for Johnny Storm, who will be a big focus in the next volume of Fantastic Four. Kesel celebrates the past while looking to the future, and does it very well.
There’s also a back-up story that ties directly into the final issue of FF (out next week). The way both stories come together is a little odd and appears to be shoehorned in, but the emotional points work much better in this scene. Overall, the story has some hiccups, but still works more than not.
The art in the finale is pretty impressive. Raffaele Ienco pulls out all the stops, with Doom, The Annihilating Conqueror looking powerful and imposing. Everybody else looks just as awesome. Even the action is top notch. The backup is drawn by Joe Quinones and while his work is different than Ienco, it’s just as effective. Quinones’s work resembles Michael Allred’s pencils, and with Allred doing the inks, the style flows together seamlessly.
This Fantastic Four volume suffered from a change in creative teams, but it seems to have all come together at the end. Anybody who loved Fraction’s initial issues will be reminded of why they loved this run in the first place. The new creative team has been handed a nice place to pick up their story. As a lifelong fan of the Fantastic Four, I’m excited to see what 2014 has in store for Marvel’s First Family.