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Fantastic Four #4

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By James Robinson & Leonard Kirk

We have mentioned in previous reviews that Robinson’s Fantastic Four is a slow burn. Issue #4 is where this becomes very apparent. Fortunately, by the end of the issue, we see some semblance of an eventual payoff and the terrible times Marvel’s First Family is about to experience. Let’s just hope that future issues are better executed.

At the end of last issue, the Fantastic Four are battling the new Frightful Four. The vast majority of this story is still that same fight. Wizard and The Wrecking Crew (the new Frightful Four) become too much for our heroes to handle, so the replacement FF from Fraction’s run show up just in time to help even the odds.

Robinson has these characters nailed down and is able to flesh them out in impressively subtle ways. The only problem is the dialogue is a little sloppy. Character banter was much better in the first three issues, so let’s chalk this up as a mulligan. It happens. The final pages still have plenty of plot points to ponder (say that three times fast) while we wait for the next issue, so Robinson still has us hooked in and ready to continue the ride.

Kirk’s run also takes a bit of a downward slide. There are a few panels that look decent, but you can’t tell what’s going on. There are plenty of ways that he could have depicted the action, so it’s a bit worrisome that he made the choices he did. Not only that, but there are a number of places where the art looks sloppier than usual. We’re hoping this doesn’t become a trend.

It’s painful to see the high quality of this title take a bit of a dip, but there are still reasons to be optimistic. Robinson has a very interesting plan for the FF. Once we start getting into the center of the conflict, things should run a little more smoothly and issues like this one will be less likely to occur.

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