Marvel Comics is releasing the Fantastic Four: The End by Alan Davis in paperback for the first time. The original six-issue run takes huge liberties with what may happen to a variety of characters in an imaginative and robust look at the future. Witness Stephen Strange’s daughter taking over as the Sorcerer Supreme, see how Thing finally got control over his powers, and more! Originally published in 2006, Marvel is reprinting their dabbling in final stories for their heroes after the last month of one-shot tales doing the same with heroes like Captain America.
This is a beautifully drawn book by Alan Davis with inks by Mark Farmer and colors by John Kalisz. Every page is dense with detail and interesting peculiarities. Take for instance Mr. Fantastic’s base built into the moon complete with Kirby style pipes and detailing and a creative blend of technology and geology. You see it right off the bat when you open the book as we see Dr. Doom is some kind of robot monstrosity. The book is never light on visual content, with the likes of Galactus popping up huge in scale and later impressively depicted translucently against an army of ships. In six issues Davis manages to fit every hero into the book as well as futuristic counterparts.
The story itself is a suitable finish for the Fantastic Four as it’s an honest depiction of what would happen in their later years. In the opening pages, Val and Franklin are killed and we get to see the fallout. That includes Sue and Reed drifting apart, Thing having a family, and Human Torch joining the Avengers. Seeing the Fantastic Four split up is a theme we’ve seen before–they’re always weaker without each other–but it’s fun to see how that plays out amongst the other Marvel heroes.
Therein lies the true beauty of this book, since it capitalizes on the fact that the Fantastic Four are an integral part of the Marvel universe. This book proves they aren’t isolated to their headquarters and their own adventures, but touch on every character under the sun. There interesting hints at potential relationships too, like She-Hulk possibly having feelings for Reed, or Invisible Woman exploring her desires for Namor (or lack thereof).
The scope and scale of this book are unmatched. The fate of the universe hangs in the balance in the big picture, but there are battles throughout taking place that is impressive too. Again, Davis’s art propels this book to be one of the coolest looking superhero books ever to be crafted.
I had a somewhat similar gripe with the Wolverine: The End book as I do here, which is that it’s not really an ending. The book ends with more adventures to come and while this book does do a better job exploring what the characters’ lives would be like later in their years it, doesn’t have the finality to it the title seems to suggest.
I loved this book when it came out in single issues and it stands up to this day. Alan Davis is one of the greatest superhero comic artists of all time and it shows on every page of this epic and exciting action-packed adventure.