Fantastic Four #1
By Dan Slott, Sara Pichellie, Simone Bianchi, Skottie Yong, Marte Gracia, Elisabetta D’Amico, Marco Russo, Jeremy Treece & more.
Fantastic Four #1 is a welcome near-return for Marvel’s premier family of superheroes, which sees Dan Slott taking over writing duties. Whilst it’s not immediately back to normal for the Fantastic Four, you get a sense that with Slott, it won’t be long before the four are back and crime fighting again. It’s an interesting set-up, Reed and Susan are gone, and Johnny and Ben are both left behind picking up the consequences. A fake signal in the sky is enough to get Johnny optimistic, as he has never truly believed that they’re gone.
It’s interesting to watch the clash of personalities between Johnny and Ben in this issue. Johnny is the optimist and Ben is the more pessimistic of the two and it’s clear to see that they don’t always see eye-to-eye. Catching up with them in their post-Fantastic Four lives is interesting too, embracing both of the characters’ struggles. But one thing is clear is that the Marvel world wants to have the Fantastic Four back together again as much as fans of the characters in real life want to have them back together again. We also explore the impact that the group has had on superheroes who have worked with them, there’s surviving and substitute members like Lady Medusa and Crystal who both get cameos.
The return of the World’s Greatest Comics magazine gets off to a slow start. It’s not the fastest paced first issue in the world but then again it doesn’t need to be. The downbeat storyline may be off-putting to some fans who have wanted nothing more than the Four back together again, but the ramifications to watch of a world without the Fantastic Four are fascinating, even if it doesn’t really tread any new ground.
The artwork is excellent with Sara Pichelli really bringing her A-Game to the table. Esad Ribic’s incredible cover deserves to be mentioned, as Pichelli works in a seamless tangent along with colourist Elisabetta D’Amico and colourist Marte Gracia to really give the book a vibrant, energetic feel. The track record of Pichelli and Gracia means that readers will be in safe hands artistic wise, and if this Fantastic Four run is anything like Slott’s Silver Surfer, then their creative boundaries will be pushed to the limit.
The downside is that this book is rather pricey at $5.99 and the back-up stories feel like padding rather than extra strength. Slott and Simone Bianchi explore Von Doom’s return to power, resetting the status quo in favour of giving the Four an old enemy to fight, and the second backup is even shorter than the first, a one-page issue with art from Skottie Young. These backups don’t really feel essential to the main storyline and could have been done without. That said, it’s nice to see the Mr. Impossible Man poke fun at the events that just happened in the comic, promising that the four will truly be back together in the second issue, so fans wondering how long the wait for their characters will be need not be disappointed for much longer.
Fantastic Four #1 is a slow start to what should be a potentially special run if Slott and the creative team can truly test themselves. It may not be perfect and the Four may not be properly back together yet, but it’s the closest they’ve been to coming back in what feels like an age.