This week’s issue of Fantastic Four marks the culmination of the team’s battle against the Griever at the End of All Things, a foe sufficiently nebulous yet nigh-unbeatable enough to feel right at home in an FF book. It’s not just Marvel’s first family attempting to save the day, however, as their old friend Norrin Radd shows up to help as well. Does this arc end on a high note? Is Fantastic Four #28 good?
Just in case you’re just picking up the series for the first time this month and you didn’t already know there’s a universe-spanning threat at large, writer Dan Slott lets you know immediately with page one. The issue opens with the Silver Surfer monologuing about Galactus’s worldship and how it’s the only place in the entire cosmos that he fears. Naturally enough, that’s where the plot has dictated that he must go. *Courage the Cowardly Dog voice:* “The things I do for Reed Richards!”
This opening page hooked me immediately, thanks in large part to the work of artist R.B. Silva and colorist Jesus Aburtov. Even just viewed from the exterior, the worldship Taa II has a fun Kirby-esque overabundance of lines that conveys classic science-fantasy and a foreboding aura of technology far beyond man. Plus, all around the rest of the page, we get lovely shots of planets and crackling cosmic energy popping in bright blues, pinks, and purples against the otherwise dark black of outer space. The reflection of all these colors against the Surfer’s skin is lovely here and throughout the rest of the issue. I never cease to enjoy how effectively Silva and Aburtov render him as a shining, otherworldly presence.
Complete along with the classic Silver Surfer art, of course, is classic dramatic Silver Surfer captioning. There’s a lot of this sort of plot-heavy writing throughout the issue, with characters serving as recap pages to an extent that makes the actual recap page feel a bit unneeded. As a result, some of the dialogue throughout the issue can feel a bit cheesy and more rooted in story than in the characters’ reactions to said story. With that said, the high octane tone of it all certainly contributes to the sense of spectacle, and this issue reads like a spectacle.
There are lots of fun plot moments scattered throughout the issue, and frankly it’s impressive that the creative team manages to fit so much in twenty pages. Reed, Sue, Ben, and Dragon Man have all been imprisoned in necro-spheres where they repeatedly experience possible deaths, and there are some interesting mini-“What If?” moments in these scenarios. Sue’s vision involving Doctor Doom is particularly memorable, and features dramatic art including a cape on Doom that’s so long it looks like a train on a dress. The sheer drama is fun.
With that said, the nature of so much ground being covered in a single issue is also that it becomes difficult to sustain dramatic momentum successfully the entire time. The conclusion to the central conflict is a tad easy and anti-climactic, and some lines of dialogue are ultimately more cheese, less satisfying. Ben’s scenario inside the necro-spheres feels particularly done before without adding much of note to a familiar concept.
All in all, Fantastic Four #28 is fun. The artwork shines, with the sheer multicolored cosmic spectacle of it all being a joy to look at throughout. The writing is also solid, leaning into the drama and quickly catching the reader up to speed. On the downside, some of the narration is a bit too wooden and the ending feels a bit too easy after all the characters’ struggles leading up to it.
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