PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of FANTASTIC FOUR (2018) #1 from Marvel Comics. Available August 8th, 2018, the creative team for this issue features writing from Dan Slott, art from Sara Pichelli w/ Elisabetta D’Amico, Simone Bianchi, and Skottie Young, colors by Marte Gracia, Simone Bianchi, Marco Russo, and Jeremy Treece, and lettering from VC’s Joe Caramagna.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s review of…
FANTASTIC FOUR (2018) #1
Main Cover by Esad Ribic
BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT – THE WORLD’S GREATEST COMIC MAGAZINE IS BACK!
Since the end of SECRET WARS, there’s been a gap in the Marvel Universe. A void no other team can fill. And it’s time for the world to move on. But can it? A life-changing decision by the Thing! A momentous declaration by the Human Torch! A clarion call-to-arms that summons Doctor Doom! And a signal in the sky that heralds the return of hope to the Marvel Universe! All this, and Alicia Masters adopts kittens! So cute! Plus, the Impossible Man! AND BONUS STORIES ILLUSTRATED BY SIMONE BIANCHI AND SKOTTIE YOUNG! IF YOU READ ONLY ONE MARVEL COMIC THIS MONTH, THIS IS THE ONE!
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
FANTASTIC FOUR (2018) #1
Fifty-seven years ago, something amazing hit newsstands for the very first time. A comic book with wonder and mystery and adventure. A comic book about family. Fifty-seven years ago, Fantastic Four #1 was published, eventually dubbed Marvel’s “First Family” and “The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine.” For fifty-four years that comic book, The Fantastic Four, had been a staple in the Marvel Comics publication line. And then one month, it simply ceased to exist.
There has been something missing in the Marvel Universe since 2015. There has been something missing on our new comic racks every month. Four had become two after the 2015 Secret Wars event. This week, today, Wednesday, August 8th, 2018…this all changes. A comic book which has been highly-anticpated for 3 years since it’s uncalled for cancellation in 2015, and subsequently the characters dropping off the face of the Marvel Universe, finally returns…The Fantastic Four debuts Wednesday with an all-new series and 25+ variant covers and Marvel Comics was kind enough to send me an advance review copy!
Due to complete mismanagement of the film franchise by FOX Studios and the abyssmal failure of the 2015 attempted reboot of Fantastic Four, Marvel Comics in retaliation cancelled the title just before 2015’s Secret Wars. The event’s conclusion saw the Thing went off into space with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Human Torch fell in love with the Inhuman known as Crystal once more and went off with her and the Inhuman Royal Family…while Reed Richards and Sue Richards, along with their two children Franklin and Valerie, faded into obscurity never to be heard from again for the next 3 whole years. It was all done in retaliation not to support a franchise which Marvel Comics/Marvel Studios and Disney Studios had no control over nor saw much of the profits, since they did not own the film rights currently. Disney’s $71.8 billion dollar aquisition of FOX has changed all that as both the X-Men and Fantastic Four film rights have been returned home for the first time since Marvel Comics leasing them to FOX in 1995 after the Roger Corman disaster of a film in 1994.
Now the Fantastic Four film rights are home at Marvel Studios and the comic book can shine once more. Question is…Am I going to love their return or despise it?
Dan Slott right off his exit after a 10-year run of Amazing Spider-Man moves over to helm the writing chores of Marvel’s First Family. Slott needs no introduction as his work is legendary across Marvel Comics. What he brings to Fantastic Four is a sense of wonder, faith, and most of all, hope.
We see the Thing and the Human Torch, who have been alone with just each other, have to come to grips that Reed and Sue aren’t coming back. That they may indeed be dead out there in the multiverse. After an extensive search for their two missing comrades, the quirky half of the Fantastic Four, who have in recent months becomes the Fantastic Duo, have returned from a grueling search for their missing family. Ben has seemingly come to understand and accept it, where as Johnny just refuses to give up on his sister, Sue, and his brother-in-law, Reed.
We start with a mysterious flare being set off. It was a classic flare which spelled out the name ‘Fantastic Four’ instead of the iconic number 4. The Thing knows it’s not Reed and Sue, yet Johnny flies to investigate only to be let down as he finds two young kids who belong to the well-known Yancy Street Gang. The kids were looking to play a prank, having broken into Ben Grimm’s apartment and stolen the flare.
Johnny learns that not only is Ben dropping the charges for the prank but he’s paid Jen Walters to defend the young lads in court. This enrages Johnny as he feels betrayed. As Johnny storms off to blow off steam, Ben does what he knows he must and he proposes to Alicia Masters, his longtime on again, off again girlfriend.
Johnny is summoned to the roof of Ben’s apartment where the newly-engaged couple tell Johnny the news first. Ben explains that chance and fate brought them together but time made them family. He wants Johnny to be his best man. This doesn’t sit well with Johnny and he flips out, telling Ben that only one man can be Ben’s best man and that is Reed Richards.
Flaming on, Johnny takes off into the sky and starts calling for Reed. He starts asking for a sign because he believes Reed and Sue are out there and Reed is smart enough to be able to hear and see Johnny. Yet Johnny hovers in the night sky before a full moon with no answer. He returns to Ben and Alicia in tears, finally accepting that Reed and Sue are gone and never coming back.
This is when we cut to somewhere else. We see Reed and Sue stranded on an alien planet. Reed is working on something as Sue asks if this will work. Reed asks her if she believes in him and she replies with one word…”always.” Reed explains that through Sue’s faith in him, he is able to accomplish anything and everything. With the flick of a switch across the universe, a giant, bright white 4 appears in space. Johnny and Ben see the number in the sky and suddenly they know…Reed and Sue are alive!
As if that was enough, Dan Slott treats us to a backup story set in Doomstadt, Capital of Latveria. A light has appeared in Castle Doom after being dark for so long. This prompts Zora Vuovic, proud villager of Doomstadt, to sneak into the castle. She overcomes many Doombots and she comes face-to-face with the real Victor Von Doom, who laments over his failure as a God (Secret Wars 2015) and his failure as a hero (Infamous Iron Man). He shows Zora his reward for such follies as he reveals his once again disfigured face.
Zora convinces him that his real face is at hand as she hands him a faceplate from one of the Doombots. Doom then leaves his castle to help her villagers. In his abscence, Latveria has become a battlefield of tyrants and dictators trying hard seize control of the lands of Doom. Doom indeed descends and leads his people to victory over their oppressors.
The main story, ‘Signal in the Sky,’ is drawn by Sara Pichelli who is known for her work on Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man (Miles Morales). She brings a simple, yet stylish look to any comic she draws and seems well-suited to brings Slott’s words to life. Her facial expressions have a wide range of distinguished looks.
The backup feature, ‘Our Day of Doom and Victory,’ is drawn by Simone Bianchi, who is well-known for his Thor: For Asgard series, as well as the Thanos Rising miniseries. Simone has a sort of darkness to what he draws, something which lends itself well to Doom’s story.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
I loved it! I didn’t think I would. It starts off incredibly boring, cramming as many cameos as possible of previous Fantastic Four members, from Wyatt Wingfoot to Medusa, and Crystal to Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk), and even Luke Cage. The story does pick up for me when Ben asks Alicia to marry him. Showing once again that Slott is not afraid of married main characters or marriages in general. The dichotomy between Ben and Johnny is amazing. For the time being, the two both know that Reed and Sue are gone for good and more than likely dead, even after their own personal search across the multiverse yielded nothing. Ben has come to accept it and moved on to a mourning stage for his best friend and his would-be sister. Johnny, however, has not accepted they are gone.
The scene where Johnny flips out, flying off calling for Reed and asking for a sign and is given none, not only was so sad but when Johnny returned to Ben and Alicia in tears accepting that Reed and Sue are gone…I cried. I literally teared up for him. Then the moment Reed’s interdimensional signal shone bright in the space of the multiverse, I felt the glee and joy within Ben and Johnny.
Also, the backup story is a fine rebirth for Doctor Doom. For too long as well in the last three years Doom has been missing. Yes he was around, but the proper Victor Von Doom; Doctor Doom had been missing. This story showed Doom come to the end of the quest he started back in 2015 in Secret Wars. Victor, after the events of Secret Wars, began to question himself. He questioned his identity and it showed in Iron Man, when we were first shown a handsome face Victor Von Doom. One who started to rely more on Gypsy magic than science. Then the Doom who became Iron Man for a while. It’s nice to have him put back in place from the get-go of this comic. I feel Doom has been lonely since Reed has been missing.
5 out of 5 Stars
This is a perfect book! It’s a book that has been long overdue; a book about family and hope, about faith and never giving up. To me, the Fantastic Four has always been up there with the Robinson Family of Lost in Space, with adventures of the Swiss Family Robinson. This issue alone has so much heart.
FANTASTIC FOUR #1 can be purchased on ComiXology and available
at your local comic shop and online retailers on Wednesday, August 8th!
Publisher – Marvel Comics