Fantastic Four #32 kicks off “The Bride of Doom” storyline which, you guessed it, has Dr. Doom getting hitched! We already know the wedding will take place in Fantastic Four #33, but why is he marrying Victorious? Find out this week in Dan Slott and R.B. Silva’s issue that is filled with surprises, but fear not, as this is a spoiler-free review!
First and foremost, this book looks gorgeous. Silva is one of the best artists working at Marvel today with a clean and detailed style that suits the glossy and larger-than-life superheroes. He’s backed up by color artist Jesus Aburtov, who gives the book a bright superhero feel and always seems to slap glints and glows onto the right materials. This issue has a large range of emotions felt across the characters, all of which come through loud and clear. At the core of it all, which could be guessed by the cover, is Johnny Storm’s continued frustrations with his soulmate, Sky. When the story calls for it, Silva is always there with a perfectly rendered close-up to show us how a character might feel.
Slott has been building towards Johnny and Sky’s uncomfortable relationship for some time. They’re soulmates, but does Johnny truly feel it like Sky does? Considering Johnny has been a playboy for decades, it’s an interesting angle Slott has explored. Their relationship is further tested in this issue which focuses on a museum exhibition that features Latverian artifacts. It also happens to have statues made by Thing’s wife Alicia, so there’s a natural conflict at work here.
As seen in the preview, Slott and Silva utilize Victorious more than ever, which is no surprise since she’s soon to be Dr. Doom’s bride. She’s written in a way that’s assertive and exactly what Dr. Doom wants, but there’s still an underbelly of open-mindedness and kindness there. That subtle touch is seen rarely, but it’s still there, which adds a layer to Victorious that’s there for Dr. Doom too, but in a different way. She doesn’t hide quite as much as Dr. Doom, and it’s fun to see how Slott can tug out little characterizations. This wouldn’t be a comic book without a big action scene and given the setup at the museum, it’s an entertaining one with multiple sides to the battle.
Slott’s characterization of Thing and Alicia as parents to their adopted children Jo and Nicki continue to be a delight. Joe and Nicki are literally aliens and don’t understand the ways of human culture, which makes them a good source for outlandish reactions and humor. While that’s new, Slott is also playing around with old threads from the Fantastic Four, including the cover-girl Lyja. It’s a clever way to stir the pot and, without a doubt, the cliffhanger of this issue might be the best of the year.
This issue also comes with a backup by Slott and Javier Rodriguez and it has a chess consultant Zach Rivkin too. Opening on State University when Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom were still students, Slott sets up the fact that they have a relationship to chess. This plays into the future in a rousing, action-packed adventure that cleverly ties chess into battling. It all leads to an ending you won’t see coming. It also ties well into the main story, making it feel part of a whole rather than a tacked-on backup.
Fantastic Four #32 is an exciting start to a wedding that is already filled with intrigue, drama, and, based on this story, plenty to look forward to. This issue genuinely shocks in more ways than one, offers cleverly crafted conflict, and looks gorgeous all the while. Fantastic Four is a character drama dressed with action that gives it a sense of urgency.
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