Matt Fraction is filling some pretty big shoes. Not only is he following Jonathan Hickman’s mind blowing run on Fantastic Four, but simply the fact that he is writing the book means he must bring is A game.
1961’s Fantastic Four 1 is where it all began for Marvel Comics as we know it today. The Fantastic Four were the first true family of superheroes, not just a team of square-jawed do-gooders coming together to battle a world breaking threat, but four people living together under the same roof having to deal with problems as big as the end of the universe and as small as ‘‘Hey, if you’re gonna borrow the flying car, at least fill up the tank after, you brat’’. The comic gained the tagline of ‘‘The Wolrd’s Greatest Comic Magazine’’ as early as issue 3 and has been living up to it ever since.
Boy am I glad this comic doesn’t suck.
It has all the unadulterated geewizz adventure moments and slower personal beats you’d expect in a good Fantastic Four comic. It sets up every character’s own problems and concern and why Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, gets his agree to a yearlong journey into the unknown aboard a ship that can travel through time and space. Hint, it’s because has the right amounts of ‘‘Terribly smart’’ and ‘‘Probably insane’’.
Other hint, it’s also because the unstable molecules inside him are slowly dying and he can’t find a cure in the known universe.
On the technical side, Mark Bagley has proven to me he was an incredible artist on the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man, where he showed talent for both action and emotions, and he’s not proving me wrong on this series. Mark Farmer does an alright job inking Bagley’s pages, but it’s nothing amazing per se. The one that’s truly keeping up with Bagley is long time Fantastic Four colorist Paul Mounts who seem to know exactly what mood the artist is trying to convey. The pages in which Reed Richards is in his lab and those where Johnny Storm, The Human Torch, takes a girl out for a date in the Negative Zone are where he shines the most.
While there are a few things that carry over from Jonathan Hickman’s run, this issue does a good job in giving explanations in a way that doesn’t stop the flow and keeps readers both new and old interested and wanting for more.