The Fantastic Four has always been a superhero team you either get just right or not at all. That’s partly because the family aspect is so hard to nail down. This isn’t a rotating group of heroes who sort of like each other, but instead a group with very deep connections who are family. How do you make a family interesting and fun? Dan Slott seems to have cracked that code by capturing the heart and love between them and in this latest arc he’s taking their connection to the max — or in this case the stars. The heroes are getting nostalgic and jumping back on a rocket just like they did the day they got their powers.
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
The “Point of Origin” story starts here so it’s a good jumping-on point for new readers. Seeing as the story is tying back to the rocket that got them their powers it’s sure to be a great place for old fans to jump back on too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a very well-plotted issue with tons of moments between the team members, their children, their spouses, and more to explore the characters. The issue opens at the National Air and Space Museum where the original rocket Marvel-1 is being commemorated. Dan Slott peppers the scene with little asides between the Fantastic Four members and fans, between the family members themselves. It’s a momentous moment as Reed feels quite nostalgic about the rocket. Customary of kids who weren’t there to live through the experience, Valeria and Franklin aren’t impressed and are super bored. Never forgetting the history Slott puts a lump in Thing’s memories having him relive the terrible flight and yet his wife is there to comfort him. There are many moments like this one where characters sprout off from a shared moment and reflect and react in different ways. It’s an economical way of keeping the characters aligned, but also separate.
It’s not all about remembering the good old days though as Reed decides a new ship is in order. It’s fun to see him get excited about doing the original flight right. A key element of this issue is how Slott manages to have each character reflect on why they love being on this team. For Reed, it’s the discovery, for Sue she admires Reed and his aspirations, while Johnny gets a great flashback revealing what it took for him to be co-pilot. Thing is, of course, the heart and soul of the team and really it’s just being around his family/team that makes the experience worthwhile for him.
The art is by Paco Medina and colors are by Jesus Aburtov. There’s a very clean style here that makes this feel like a AAA title. I love Medina’s rendering of Thing whose face is articulated with great detail and crafting. You can stare at those blue eyes and sharp edges all day. The issue may not have a supervillain or big action, but there is so much drama in the physicality of these characters. From Reed and Johnny working on the rocket without powers to Thing throwing a hissy fit about the team going back to the stars, there’s plenty to enjoy in the character acting.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
This is a pretty perfect first issue in a story arc that’s bound to push the family in new and exciting ways. Like I said above there aren’t any fight scenes which is odd for a superhero comic, but it hits all the right notes otherwise.
Is it good?
In a lot of ways this issue–and likely the arc–is a love letter to their origin story while diving headlong into a new space adventure. There is a lot of love between the first family and yet it avoids saccharine sentiment in this engaging and inspirational Fantastic Four story.