Fantastic Four #5 (Comics Review)

Marvel’s All-New Marvel NOW! initiative is known for double-shipping all new titles in their first month, for the most part at least. That has created a certain amount of tension and build-up in the excitement for each series, although not all of them have worked out for me. James Robinson and Leonard Kirk’s Fantastic Four is one of those very few that did, because the quality has been incredibly consistent from the start as these two creators delivered on a really awesome story matched with some great artwork. Fantastic Four has definitely been a highlight of All-New Marvel NOW! so far for me.

In the previous issue, we saw that Director Maria hill of SHIELD had served notice to the Fantastic Four, in which the team was asked to appear in a court of law to defend their many practices and answer for the consequences of their activities. We knew right from the start that something big was going to happen to all of them and now we see how the team is going to break up and we also see just why Sue was writing a letter to her son in the first issue in the first place. Definitely a great issue.

Fantastic Four 005Superhero comics are no stranger to said superheroes appearing in courts of law now and then to answer for everything that they’ve done, or even something specific. The story in this issue raises that very point, but in my rather brief knowledge, nothing has happened on quite the same level as happens with the Fantastic Four in this issue. Because the team isn’t answering for something specific but for everything. The prosecutor, Aiden Tolliver, brings up the team’s entire history and he judges them for everything that they’ve done to date.

One thing that I loved about this issue was that the team has Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk as their defense attorney. It is a great synergy in the superhero world, and was absolutely great as a concept. But weirdly enough, we never actually see her do any rebuttals to the many charges that Tolliver lays at the Fantastic Four’s feet. Page after page Tolliver goes on a verbal rampage as he rips into the team and the most we see of Jennifer is that she puts up an objection that is either sustained or not, mostly not. That is the only way in which I feel that this issue was a let-down, but everything else, it totally rocked.

The unique thing about this issue is that as Aiden Tolliver brings up the team’s storied history, we see flashbacks to all those days. Various modern artists recreate some of the biggest moments from the superhero team’s long, decades-old history as it faces up against some really amazing threats. I don’t think something like this has been attempted before, certainly not when there is an army of pencillers, inkers and colourists working on these flashbacks. Each flashback is from a different defining moment, and it all adds context to the overall story as it unfolds.

And that’s another thing. The trial of the Fantastic Four is pretty much over by the end of the issue and we see some of the fallout as well. That was something that I really liked. I would have preferred if things had been dragged out a little bit and we’d gotten to see Jennifer’s rebuttals to Aiden Tolliver’s various claims, but I am fine with it in the end, since James Robinson still told a really gut-wrenching story that really involves the reader into the entire atmosphere.

Leonard Kirk, Jay Leisten, Jesus Aburtov and VC’s Clayton Cowles are still the artists on the series, although Karl Kesel has been replaced by Rick Magyar on the inks. The flashback artists are the likes of Chris Samnee, Jim Charalampidis, Phil Jimenez, Rachelle Rosenberg, Mike Allred, Laura Allred, Jim Starlin and Matt Wilson among others. The art overall is fairly good and I especially loved Leonard and Co.’s Jennifer Walters. She is drawn far better here and than she is drawn in her own ongoing solo series right now. With all the different artists involved, there is a bit of a fluctuation in the quality, which was to be expected from an issue like this. Still, not all that bad in the end.

Now that we know how the team is beginning to break-up, James Robinson’s various bread-crumbs are beginning to become obvious and I am ever more excited for what is going to happen next. Amazingly enough, Fantastic Four has double-shipped this month, and I find that really interesting. Perhaps something major is happening next month? I’m not really current with news, so we shall see in about 2-3 weeks!

Rating: 9/10

More Fantastic Four: #1, #2, #3, #4.

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Posted on June 1, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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