Fantastic Four #1 (Comics Review)

As with most other big-name comics properties, my first experience ever with the Fantastic Four was an old animated cartoon that used to air in the 90s. It might have been reruns or something, but that’s besides the point. For a young kid, the 90s were an awesome time to be in, what with all the great programming happening on Cartoon Network and other channels. That Fantastic Four cartoon was one of the best. Years later, the movies happened, but they were disappointing. At some point last year or the year before, I tried to get into the FF comics, but never went back after like the first few issues.

And now with the reboot, I think I have a Fantastic Four comic that I can definitely read and enjoy and thus stick with. With his recent runs for DC now over, James Robinson has quickly picked up two new ongoings with Marvel, first All-New Invaders and now Fantastic Four. And I have to say that I enjoyed his Fantastic Four more than I did the other series. Better written, much more emotional, much more punchy. And the work by all the artists is also pretty good, on the high side of what is happening with the Big 2 and especially all the new ongoings that Marvel has launched this year so far.

Fantastic Four 01In hindsight, I suppose that this cover, by Leonard Kirk and Laura Martin, should have been my hint as to what kind of a story James Robinson is going for here. The horror on the faces of these characters is all you need to know really, because this first arc by the new creative team is called “The Fall of the Fantastic Four“. And in a big departure from the usual credits styles, this book has a huge double spread credit page, which gives the details of the entire team involved on the title. It is kind of cool in a really nice way.

The story starts off with an in-present time. The Fantastic Four have been broken as a team, and as a family. Everyone is off doing their own thing and it even looks like the bridges have been burned. Sue is our gateway character here, with her story framed as letters written to her children, explaining how they all got to where they are. These opening pages feature some of James’ best writing that I’ve read to date, even beyond all the awesome work that he did on DC’s Earth 2 series, which I loved. Sue’s desperation, her despondence and her pain are immediately apparent and I couldn’t help but sympathise with her. Her letters really do get to you.

After that, we launch into a flashback as James shows how the team used to be at the height of its power, with the core team going up against one of their (I believe) signature villains, Fin Fang Foom. In these pages, James shows well he understands and knows these characters, and gives a pretty good characterisation of all four of them, plus their signature moves and dialogues. These pages gave me a thrill and unexpectedly took me back to the days of the old animated series.

But things aren’t high and great for long, because soon as that battle is done, we get back to the more emotional aspects of the story as James shows each of them in their own element, or out of it, dealing with their personal troubles and their successes. One thing that stuck to me in these pages was an inner sadness. Outwardly everything looks great for the team, but inwardly, things aren’t so good. They are all fighting their demons, and things are about to go to hell pretty damn fast.

On the art side we have Leonard Kirk on pencils with Karl Kesel doing the inks, Jesus Aburtov doing the colours and VC’s Clayton Cowles doing the letters. I have to say that I really enjoyed the artwork here. Sometimes its a bit too… glossy for my tastes, but I loved all the action double spreads that were there, as well as all the quieter moments of the characters, especially as far as Ben “The Thing” Grimm is concerned. The change to red outfits is a bit confusing for me, since I’m used to the blue ones, and even the whites are okay from my reading of FF, so I’m kind of waiting to see if that is explained or not. I would like it to be. But still, the inks were all good, and so were the colours. The colours were especially good, and they informed the narrative in their own ways.

Overall, a good solid start to a new series that I hope continues and gets even better.

Rating: 9/10

Posted on March 2, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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