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'Fantastic Four' #9 is an exciting, clever chapter in the series
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Fantastic Four’ #9 is an exciting, clever chapter in the series

Issue #9 puts Alicia Grimm in the driver seat.

Fantastic Four has been a series of surprises in the best of ways since Ryan North took over. From incredible sci-fi ideas tethered to real science to the heartwarming capture of a real superhero family, there’s something new and exciting to read in every issue. In Fantastic Four #9, out this week, North takes a slightly different route as he conveys Alicia’s perspective, putting you inside her head and giving you her unique perspective.

Right off the bat, Fantastic Four #9 makes you think about comics in a different light. Alicia is blind and thus sees the world far differently. That includes comics, as we learn through captions spoken by Alicia, which she has read. A bit meta, we see Thing is reading a Fantastic Four comic to Alicia, but as she points out, one size doesn’t fit all for what a blind person might care about.

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The peaceful opening cuts to where we left off as Mr. Fantastic and Thing try to kill Human Torch, Sue Storm, and Alicia. Their minds have been taken over, and they’re the only thing still not under the control of Xargorr, an alien first seen in Tales to Astonish #23. Facing a more ruthless and no-holds-barred Thing and Mr. Fantastic, the heroes are in trouble. There’s tons of action at work here with cool flame effects by Ivan Fiorelli and Jesus Aburtov, but the beauty of the tale falls onto Alicia’s quick thinking.

Fantastic Four #9

Ben, NO!
Credit: Marvel

That, and Invisible Woman’s incredible powers. It was established in the last issue of this two-part story Human Torch, and Invisible Woman can use their powers together, and North puts that to the test here. Alicia’s plan kicks off that test, which is detailed via black panels and dialogue alone. This puts you inside her head and forces the reader to experience the action as she would. It’s a clever way to show Alicia’s experience while reminding us of her value as a family member.

What puts this issue over the top for me is its commentary on comics and art. As North puts it, “comics are the juxtaposition of words and pictures,” as told in a caption by Alicia, and “comics is a medium–like all media, like all art–where our brains mediate.” Alicia’s plan is, by extension, what we as readers do to put the words and visuals together—a beautiful sentiment.

Once again, this series shows us these characters’ powers in new and exciting ways. Invisible Woman pulls off her usual force field orb but also gets to create constructs. A great twist also reminds us of how she can use her powers cleverly. It’s also neat to see Sue and Johnny work together in a key moment late in the issue. These ideas may seem straightforward, but they show how the creative team thinks about this team in new ways. That’s tough to do, considering how long they’ve existed.

My only gripe might be the final blow to the villain. While I don’t know how their powers work, it does seem rather simplistic in how Invisible Woman turns the tide back on them.

We’re now nine issues into Ryan North, Ivan Fiorelli, and Iban Coello’s run of this series, and yet again, we get a new and important perspective, this time from Alicia Grimm. Fantastic Four continues to excite with new ideas, clever perspectives, and a series that never holds back with strong characters.

'Fantastic Four' #9 is an exciting, clever chapter in the series
‘Fantastic Four’ #9 is an exciting, clever chapter in the series
Fantastic Four #9
We're now nine issues into Ryan North, Ivan Fiorelli, and Iban Coello's run of this series, and yet again, we get a new and important perspective, this time from Alicia Grimm. Fantastic Four continues to excite with new ideas, clever perspectives, and a series that never holds back with strong characters. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.7
Puts you into Alicia's perspective
Plenty of action
Continues to show powers in cool ways
The defeat of the baddie is kinda simplistic, though who knows how the power works, right?
9.5
Great
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