The Fantastic Four are more than just the original four members. This is something we've seen a lot of emphasis put on before and it's something that Matt Fraction understands as well. The Fantastic Four are more than just a group of superheroes. They are a family of adventurers. This is something thankfully Jonathan Hickman focused on before and Fraction is as well.
As a long time fan of the characters, I never understood when people expressed disinterest in the characters. They are all about big and dynamic adventures. With Mark Bagley on board, you can immediately see that Fraction is going to capitalize on that. Even though this is a first issue, the first time we see the team, they are in the midst of a grand adventure. It's not a typical scene with the good guys always winning. This is a scene where you know there are risks involved. But because of the nature of the team and who they are, they do what they have to do.
Now jumping into the middle of a scene isn't a bad thing. What it does is put us all on equal footing. New and old readers can easily realize this is just another day for the team. There might be some comparisons between this run and the previous (which I've tried to avoid), but there really shouldn't be a comparison. This is a new series with a (slightly) new direction but on the other hand, it's not completely ignoring everything we've seen the last few years. Franklin and Valeria are still around, the Future Foundation is still a thing and they still have the black and white costumes.
What Fraction does do, aside from reassuring fans that too much won't change immediately, is set the stage with a bit of a mystery. Something happens which will clearly lead into the next adventure for the team. When you see Reed Richards say "Uh oh," you know it can't be good.
Mark Bagley is spot on here. I've always dug his art and with Mark Farmer inking, we get to see all the members of the team in different locations, Johnny still has that weird Negative Zone thing on his arm, Ben visits Yancy Street and the kids look like kids. I can't wait to see where Fraction is going to take the team so Bagley can draw it all.
As a F4 fan, I've been enjoying HIckman's run. It's a huge relief having Fraction and Bagely taking over to guide the book in this Marvel NOW! period.
One of the Marvel NOW! titles I've been looking forward to and dreading is finally here. My silly fears can be set aside as you can clearly see the characters are in safe hands. If you're going to relaunch a successful comic series, this is the way to do it. All the familiar elements are still here from the previous series yet the book is pretty accessible to new readers as well. This is a team of superheroes that are also a family. Fraction gets what they're about and is ready to take them all on an adventure they may never forget. Bagley gets to shine as there are so many different characters and settings he gets to draw. Having Mark Farmer on inks and Paul Mounts on colors makes the issue that much sweeter. Just thinking about where this series may go has gotten me excited once again. That doesn't happen too often with today's comics.