Fantastic Four #1 Review
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 19, 2012 13:11
The Marvel NOW! Reboot continues to roll out with new number ones of popular series. Last week, Matt Fraction’s new family oriented take on the Fantastic Four began with the newly rebranded Fantastic Four #1. So how does his Incredibles inspired take on the franchise begin?
Well, it’s hard to say…
The Fantastic Four – that is, Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm and Ben “The Thing” Grimm – is a team best used in stories related to each of its members. This first issue, however, seems more like a prelude to such a tale. It brings audiences up to speed on where each of the four (and the children enrolled in the organizations Future Foundation) are after the closing moments of Jonathon Hickman’s previous run. That means we’re subjected to a lot of quick cuts between the characters, giving us only a few moments to comprehend their individual situations before jumping to the next. This has the dual effect of not explaining much for new readers, and introducing very little material for those coming off of the last volume.
All of this is wrapped up in what is clearly a set-up for what’s to come.
Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic himself, has decided to take the Four, their children and the students of the Future Foundation on a field trip through time and space for a year. That’s an interesting concept, and one that has been much talked about ahead of the run’s premiere. However, we don’t see any of that here. Instead, we get glimpses of The Thing getting into a yelling contest with what can only be described as hoodlums, and Reed keeping a worrisome secret from the rest of the team.
As for the book’s art, I really can’t say that I’m fan of Mark Bagley’s work. It’s somehow simple and cartoonish in its design, while also messy and overcomplicated in its execution. The overabundance of hatching and simple, stock faces leaves the eye unable to seize on anything in particular, and results in a book that is, visually, simply unremarkable.
And that single word just about sums up Fantastic Four #1 -- unremarkable.
It’s not that this is a bad first issue; it just feels like on substance. While some stories can feel like necessary evils to reach a satisfying conclusion, this feels more like a necessary distraction. It’s harmless, but hardly exciting.
This is the expository set-up that will hopefully pay off in upcoming issues of Fantastic Four, and FF #1 later this month.