Marvel Comics is celebrating the 60 year anniversary of the Fantastic Four this week with Fantastic Four #35 (legacy number #680). This issue features three stories, as well as John Romita Jr.’s return to drawing interiors at Marvel Comics. Dan Slott, Jason Loo, and Mark Waid write and Romita Jr., Loo, and Paul Renaud draw with scope, scale, and reverence for the past from cover to cover.
The main story that runs the majority of the book is by Slott and Romita Jr. in a story called “Death in Four Dimensions.” As the preview states — and don’t expect spoilers outside of the preview — Rama Tut, the Scarlet Centurion, Kang the Conqueror and Kang’s final descendant, the sinister Scion are all involved to top each other’s egos and ruin the Fantastic Four’s day. The issue opens with the Fantastic Four returning home and Human Torch still overpowered by Dr. Doom’s acts from the last story arc.
Soon, the story switches to a location filled with Egyptian iconography and the four Kangs bickering. Slott does a good job establishing how petty and egomaniacal Kang can be, no matter what era or age he’s from. In some parts, this main story reads like it’s Kang’s story as he and his variants are featured so much. The story spirals into a time travel yarn that’s both clever and interesting with the story building towards a satisfying finish.
Romita Jr. does well to bring his A-game and his now-iconic penciling, complete with a 3D style that adds volume to characters, is great fun. It’s familiar, unique to Romita Jr., and will surely bring classic Marvel fans a bit of joy. Expect some fun cover art thrown into the stories, right down to the corner box. It’s a great way to honor Fantastic Four history and it amps up the anniversary feel of the book.
Loo writes and draws a two-page story that follows the main one. It’s a fantastically drawn double-page layout that packs a lot of panels into the two pages, and is a satisfying story that connects with a classic Fantastic Four villain. It’s called “Some Family Time” and it closes out in a way families can relate to.
Closing out the book is the story by Waid and Renaud called “Stars.” This tale is gorgeously drawn with a great take on Thing and the powers of Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic. It’s basically a retelling of the Fantastic Four origin with new wrinkles thrown in. This one could have been the first story since it catches readers up on the Fantastic Four who might not know, and it adds a bit of new context for old-school fans. One of the best-looking Fantastic Four origin stories put to page.
Fantastic Four #35 is a great way to celebrate the first family while supplying some new wrinkles too. The main story is like a celebration of Kang the Conqueror, which is fitting given his recent return to the Loki television show. For that reason and the new wrinkles in the Waid story, this Fantastic Four anniversary does a good job blending new and old elements for new and old readers alike.
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