The Fantastic Four's origin is being retold for new and old readers. See the formation of the team for the first time all over again. This hardcover release contains more than just the story you've heard before.
This is the story of the Fantastic Four and how they got started. In the different tellings over the years, it pretty much always begin right before the rocket took the quartet to the starts and the cosmic rays that would transform them. Here we get to see a little more. The added detail makes them feel more real. It's not simply added content to try to fill up pages. There is plenty of time for action and adventure but it's crucial, especially for new readers, to get to know the characters that will see their lives completely changed.
In the original origin, everything happened pretty quickly. There was little explanation as we plowed through it all to get to the formation of the team. There is more time here to flesh things out. The addition of Alyssa Moy adds another genius to the story. Reed Richards is an extremely super-intelligent but having someone else he could bounce his ideas off was great to see. It also shows the past relationship they had that almost felt sprung upon us when she first appeared in 1998.
There are other details such as Sue's clothes remaining visible when her body first disappeared or the reactions to their powers that moved the story along in a way almost taken for granted if you look back at the original story. Originally they all changed and soon accepted their powers and roles. It's logical that there should be more thought and analysis given to what this new situation could mean. Their bodies have completely changed and that's something that should be addressed.
The story and the characters clearly have an updated feel. This isn't meant to take over the continuity of the current comic book series but serves as a great way for new and old readers to see that story, perhaps for the first time, updated from the 60s. Current writer, Jonathan Hickman's first issue (FANTASTIC FOUR #560) is also included along with a characters sketchbook on the 'updated' designs.
The story is intended to be updated for today. That's great but it usually dates the story even more when current items or people, such as the Mad Men television show or J.J. Abrams are used.
The art was an interesting mix. Some elements looked great but there were moments when it felt off. Mole Man's design looked good but Reed's didn't. Reed is supposed to look like a bit of a nerd but he often looked like a dad with a bad haircut. Johnny is supposed to be the young good looking guy that gets the girls but having him start out with a six-pack from the beginning didn't seem fully necessary. If the aim is to add an updated, modern and more realistic feel, why not have some of the character builds appear less comic book-y?
The angle of the Baxter Building being a place where Reed, Alyssa and others can pursue scientific research is great but it's never explained who pays for all the costs. Reed does give an explanation as to why he wanted to go into space in the first place but with all the tests and devices used after their transformation, you can only imagine how must they must be spending.
When Johnny meets Namor for the first time, he knows all about him. He mentions reading comic books about him. What's odd is that he didn't know there was an original Human Torch. If there were comics about Namor, there should've been mention of the other heroes in the Invaders.
Due to the length of the story (over 120 pages), you get a more complete feel of who the Fantastic Four are and how they became heroes. Yes, this is an origin story but it goes beyond that. There are some minor changes but not in a complete reboot way. The 'season one' books look to be more than just origin stories. It might be easy to dismiss it as such but there is a lot more production put into it. It's a nice presentation and giving the story an updated feel adds a new level to the story that has been told many times before. This is what the Fantastic Four's origin would be like if it was told today for the first time. Reading it this way makes you realize that as great as the classic story was, there were some flaws if you look back at it now. FANTASTIC FOUR: SEASON ONE is a story everyone can enjoy. Seeing what happens beyond the origin and the way the groundwork is laid out gives the characters a refreshing new feel, while feeling like the characters we've known for years at the same time.
FANTASTIC FOUR: SEASON ONE is a hardcover release, on sale Wednesday, February 6.