Debuting it's All-New Marvel Now! flavor this week, The World's Greatest Comic Magazine (aka THE FANTASTIC FOUR) jumps right into conflict -- and heartbreak -- with a glimpse of the disbanded, dejected Four and a tearful Sue. It's a compelling opening, and James Robinson is immediately setting the tone of this book with superheroic levels of drama.
Robinson sets up the contrast for his dismal opening by introducing us to the status quo -- the pre-fall Four are a true team, fighting foes like Fin Fang Foom with precise moves, and sweeping in to help each other out. The issue makes for a wonderful jumping-on point for F4 fans and new readers alike; we get super-smart Reed, hotheaded Johnny, sassy-but-loyal Sue, and a Ben who breaks into his catchphrase (and corresponding clobbering) almost immediately. Based on the arc title, we're looking at the utter destruction of this representation of the group, but it's nice to see them in work-mode for at least a little bit.
Those action sequences are boldly illustrated, and I'm really enjoying the dynamic panels. Johnny's fireballs, Thing's clobbers -- it's all pretty Fantastic. Everyone is sleek, Fin Fang Foom looks appropriately menacing, and the colors make Kirk's illustrations pop.
There's emotional contrast, too. We get to see the Richards' acting as a family -- interacting with their children, having ultra-familiar bickering conversations, relaxing at home -- and we get to see the from-the-heart hopes and dreams of everyone on the team. Knowing that everything is headed the opposite direction -- hello, intrigue. I'm hooked, and can't wait to see how Robinson & Co. tear the family down (and hopefully build them back up!).
I'm not sure what it is about perfectly fine blue suits turning red when reboot time comes around, but I'm not a fan. James Robinson has assured us in recent interviews that there's a reason behind the color change, and that we'll discover it as the series develops, but for now, it's not my favorite.
FANTASTIC FOUR opens with a predictable enough first issue -- imminent doom, a fresh (but familiar) introduction to the Four as they vanquish a monster and spend time as a family -- but the arc title and a sneaking suspicion that Robinson, Kirk, & Co. have a lot more up their sleeves than just "the First Family gone bad" make this one of the more intriguing selections of Marvel's latest renumbering. I'm always a fan of this series, and this new #1 seems like a great time for anyone and everyone to jump on board.