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'Fantastic Four' #16 makes science look cool
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Fantastic Four’ #16 makes science look cool

‘Fantastic Four’ #16 focuses its attention on the kiddos of the family.

With sixteen issues under his belt, it’s time for writer Ryan North to explore the Fantastic Four kiddos. This series has been incredible at giving each character in this family time to shine, but with the kids zipped off for most of the run, it’s good to see them get the limelight right out of the gate in Fantastic Four #16. It’s an adventure with Valeria, Franklin, Jo-Venn, and N’Kalla, centered on homework for a science project. Nothing can possibly go wrong, right?

Of course not, in part because there wouldn’t be the need for a comic without conflict, but also because Valeria and Franklin have a bit of a chip on their shoulder given the science-related things they’ve done. Those starry eyes think a science project given to them is too easy, so why not take it a step further? It all centers on Robert Boyle and his wish list of 24 possible inventions. Once again, North makes this series educational as we learn a bit about the man and how he was ahead of his time on some things while also spinning an adventure for the kids to go on. Or, in this case, they create for themselves and almost kill everyone on Earth.

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This series continues to have a few different elements, all working in tandem to strengthen the story and entertain. From the informative bits and explanations that are fascinating to the character work to the adventurous spirit throughout, it’s hard not to put this book down. It’s rare when a superhero book doesn’t lean on punching and fight scenes to keep you interested these days. Yet, North proves that stuff is downright boring when it comes to the philosophy, chemistry, physicists, or alchemy that goes into building the story’s plot.

Fantastic Four #16

Kids are doing science, and it’s awesome. Nuff said.
Credit: Marvel

Character-wise, this is more Valeria and Franklin’s story, although N’Kalla and Jo-Venn – Thing and Alicia’s adopted kids – get to be the comic relief throughout. The dynamic works well with Valeria, the know-it-all who saves the day and sometimes makes mistakes, while Franklin is more of a go-getter and fearless. A lot of the action revolves around school or family dinner time, further cementing the family values of the series. The fact that the kid’s act connects to one of the elder’s past is icing on the cake, giving the story a wholesome feel.

Joining North are artists Francesco Mortarino and color artist Brian Reber. This book is packed to the gills with panels, and the layout is generally robust with a lot of dialogue, but it never feels stuffy or hard to read. The fact that one of the best visual pages is the kids doing science is probably all you need to know about the kind of content in this book. It zips along nicely, and while I could see it strengthening with some action or big splashy moments, it’s more of a play than anything else. Reber doesn’t have a lot of space to work with at times, but you can see the skill in the color of the sky through a window or the details on a bookshelf.

I never thought I’d see the day a comic could make 17th-century scientists be the center of a superhero comic and work, but here we are. This series is so good at coming up with science-related problems for the family to solve I’m starting to wonder if I can create a wish list of my possible subjects for the following twenty issues. Either way, Fantastic Four #16 is great.

'Fantastic Four' #16 makes science look cool
‘Fantastic Four’ #16 makes science look cool
Fantastic Four #16
I never thought I'd see the day a comic could make 17th-century scientists be the center of a superhero comic and work, but here we are. This series is so good at coming up with science-related problems for the family to solve I'm starting to wonder if I can create a wish list of my possible subjects for the following twenty issues. Either way, Fantastic Four #16 is great. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.6
Once again explains a science subject well
Characterization of the kids is great with a nice dose of humor from the Grimms
Makes science seem cool
Art handles the action and heavy dialogue (at times) well
Lacks punchy art and action
8.5
Great
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