If you need a primer on the Fantastic Four look no further than Fantastic Origins, a new rerelease of the Fantastic Four origin story from 2012. Originally published as Fantastic Four: Season One and part of Marvel’s push to retell the origin stories of their main heroes, this series was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with art by David Marquez. Considering how sharp, well told, and interesting this revisit is it’s well worth your time. Plus, we know the first family is joining the MCU soon too so why not refresh yourself?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
In Manhattan’s most famous skyscraper, the Baxter Building, scientific genius Reed Richards hatches a plan that will change the lives of those he loves most – and the very course of human history – in a way no one could have ever imagined! Revisit the story that irrevocably altered comics and pop culture, retold in modern style! Join Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm as they travel to the stars – and return with fantastic, devastating results! And witness the FF’s cataclysmic fi rst battles with the Mole Man, Dr. Doom and Prince Namor, the mysterious Sub-Mariner, in a way you’ve never seen before. You only think you know the story! Plus, experience the first chapter of celebrated writer Jonathan Hickman’s epic Fantastic Four run, as Reed attempts to solve everything!
Why does this matter?
Interestingly this book ends with Fantastic Four #570 which is written by Jonathan Hickman and ties into his massive multiple Reed Richards idea. This is well-timed given Hickman’s return to the Marvel universe with Powers of X and House of X. Plus, if you missed the original trade paperback in 2012 it’s a good time to snatch this up.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
As far as the story goes there are minor tweaks that improve upon the original origin story. Mr. Fantastic has a lab partner named Alyssa who plays an interesting role in helping Reed and the rest of the Fantastic Four. She also serves as another woman in Reed’s life that adds a slight conflict between Reed and Sue. Mole Man also plays an interesting role in Thing’s origin and there are some much-needed advancements with the technology that sends these characters into space that suits a modern era of space exploration.
The voice of each character is spot on too. Aguirre-Sacasa writes these characters in a human and believable way. There is some interesting character work done with Ben, for instance, that helps round out the character before he heads into space with the rest of the first family.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
It’s only 7 years old but there are pop culture references that haven’t aged well. Mad Men is referenced for instance, and while that show is great it is probably no longer on people’s minds anymore. JJ Abrams is referenced too but in a “The guy who makes monster movies” sort of way that doesn’t quite work now that he’s taken over Star Wars. It’s an interesting problem for this book to have since its main goal was to retell the Fantastic Four origin story for a modern audience. At only 7 years old it’s already showing a bit of its age! That said, the references are few and far between.
Is it good?
A truly fantastic way to enjoy the Fantastic Four origin story. It’s a beautiful looking book that is tightly written. Don’t miss it.
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