Fantastic Four #3 (Comics Review)

Doing a new spin on old characters in comics is something that every creator does from time to time. Whether it is Snyder/Capullo’s Batman or Johns/Reis/Prado’s Aquaman or Edmondson/Noto’s Black Widow or Wilson/Alphona’s Ms. Marvel, this is all a staple of the industry. And when the characters involved are as high profile as Marvel’s First Family, then the stakes are even higher. Last month saw the debut of a new Fantastic Four series by James Robinson and Leonard Kirk, which was pretty good for its first two issues, serving a reader like me in providing a reintroduction to the characters and the settings.

In Fantastic Four #3, Robinson deals with the fallout of the events from last issue, which saw New York invaded by extra-dimensional monsters and Johnny Storm suffer a very personal loss. The doom and gloom that began in the very first issue continues here as the First Family begins to break apart, divided by differences of opinions and some general helplessness that recent events have brought to them. This was a good issue, but a bit too dense. Although Kirk & Co. continued to make this title one of the best looking on shelves right now.

Fantastic Four 03With the loss of Johnny’s powers in the last issue, it is quite surprising that the character continues on as if nothing has happened. As he himself tells Reed, if he starts to think about it he is just going to get depressed and he wants to keep himself busy. That’s quite laudable and not something that you generally see in comics. Heroes in similar cases usually mope around, having an existential crisis in the meantime. Johnny doesn’t do that. He has his friends, his singing career, so he is going to focus on those things and stay positive. After all, Reed is the smartest man alive on the planet, so he should be able to figure something out, right? Right?

But that’s the thing. Even the world’s smartest man can get overworked and in this issue we see that Reed is caught up with his experiments on the extra-dimensional creatures from the last issue, overseeing repairs to the Baxter building, Johnny’s conundrum, and investigating more of the world that the creatures came from. And in the midst of all of this he has to contend with Fury himself. So pretty much, I’m so not lining up to be Reed Richards right now, even in a fantasy.

This is one of the most talkative issues that I’ve seen to date from Robinson. Usually his scripts contain lesser amount of dialogue, relying more on the overall story being told and the art to convey the subtext, but that’s not the case here. It looks like he is trying to catch up any new incoming readers with what has happened in the previous two issues and also set up the seeds of future stories that he will/might be telling, which is interesting.

It still means that the issue is dense, but we have some good, nice moments to break through all of that. We have the several instances of humour in the issue, such as when a construction worker talks to Reed about Spider-Man’s exploits, or how Robinson references that one time that Namor fell in love with Sue and wanted her to marry him, or how Reed and Sue’s daughter Valeria runs off to Latveria to help make him a better man, a hero, and so on. There’s a lot going on in this issue, make no mistake, but Robinson’s sense of pace and storytelling mean that you are never lost.

At least I wasn’t, and I loved the fact that he is going for such a broad scope as far as the story is concerned.

Leonard Kirk, Karl Kesel and Jesus Aburtov are back for another outing with these characters as far as the art is concerned, and I enjoyed this issue as much as I did the previous two. The glossy, cinematic feel of the art is something that I’ve quickly grown accustomed to, and in a bit of a reference to the Fantastic Four’s status, this glossy, cinematic feel is also representative of them being Marvel’s First Family. It feels very… royal, high-class. I’m certainly not complaining because I loved Kirk’s pencils, Kesel’s inks and Aburtov’s colours. Rachelle Rosenberg isn’t on as the colourist, which is a shame since I generally enjoy her work.

Overall, not as great an issue as the previous two as far as the story is concerned, but this was still pretty good.

Rating: 8/10

More Fantastic Four: #1, #2.

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Posted on April 27, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

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