Fantastic Four #2 review (2018)

Somewhere out there, Sue and Reed Richards, children Franklin and Valeria, and a gaggle of teenage super beings – the Future Foundation – are world building. Literally.

They’re re-stocking the Multiverse after a cosmic event known as the Secret Wars wiped out many a reality. They’ve been at this task for a good while, creating any world they can imagine, with no end in sight…

… famous last words.

With Franklin no longer a little god, someone who has been watching them for a long time sees the opportunity to strike.

Molecule Man, one of the strongest beings in Creation, is no more. The Griever at the End of All Things – who seems to have Mindless Ones on her payroll – begins undoing the work of Franklin and friends.

Reed and Sue realise that someone who can wipe out worlds with the snap of her fingers isn’t an entity they can take on without a plan. And to make time for thinking, they must flee.

Kid geniuses Alex Power and Bentley Wittman help Reed see that there is hope. But Valeria, self-proclaimed ‘smartest girl in existence’, has other ideas.

There she goes, as big-headed as her father and twice as obnoxious… if anyone, Valeria rather takes after godfather Victor Von Doom, and she looks set to get everyone killed.

Except, Reed has a plan, one that makes a lot of sense, and a great final page. It won’t spoil much to say that it involves the arrival of Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, and when you have the Human Torch and the Thing with the Invisible Woman and Mr Fantastic, you have the Fantastic Four, together at last. And I couldn’t be happier, although I did enjoy writer Dan Slott’s detailing of what the Future Foundation have been up to. We’d been told, but seeing it is something else. And I have to say, the Griever has a point, what the heck were they up to, making new realities based on random whimsy? If we accept planetary rebirths were required – and I’m not convinced Man should be poking his nose into this kind of thing – Franklin and the Molecule Man should have restored things to what they were.

I do concede that the Griever killing everyone is a tad heavy handed.

Sue narrates this issue and boy, I wish she’d listen to herself.

That’s husband worship, that is, and we don’t need that kind of thing in 2018. Otherwise, Slott does a lovely job with the Sue/Reed relationship, even if their idea of ‘happily ever after’ is downright peculiar.

Please God he’s going to utterly ignore the more extreme characterisation of Reed over the past couple of decades >cough< Illuminati, >cough< Civil War because there’s no justifying such matters and leaving us with a hero.

The best scene in a book full of smart, emotion-filled moments, shows that Reed and Sue’s ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t necessarily hold true for their offspring.

Speaking of Val and Franklin, they have fresh superhero names, respectively, Brainstorm and Powerhouse. I shall call them Val and Franklin…

Has the Richards family been gone years, or have the Richards bairns aged according to some multiversal rules? I realise that Franklin was a toddler for decades, and both he and Val have been artificially aged, then de-aged, but I want to see them grow up naturally; instant adults is one of the superhero tropes I cannot stand. I can’t imagine why Slott didn’t take full advantage of his own writing here to take Franklin down to manageable power levels – his abilities unbalance the Fantastic Four family and make him a problem to fit into a story; there’s no situation he can’t handle, meaning writers have to constantly write him out or put a block on his powers. Slott has either too much respect for his writing forebears, or a plan. I hope it’s the latter

Ignoring her humongous Sunday name, the Griever has potential – massive power and a definite role in the Marvel cosmology. Sara Pichelli’s visual is almost there, but the helmet hiding half her face is weird, and as coloured she doesn’t pop against the artwork. While Marte Gracia has the colour credit, I assume Pichelli, who designed her, came up with the colour scheme… they may want to dial down the black.

Minor moan aside, I like the artwork a lot; Pichelli’s storytelling is splendid, there’s a keen sense of movement and the new worlds she draws are interesting enough for the story purpose they serve. The Richards and friends look terrific (though the sooner Reed loses that messy beard, the better). And could someone with a better memory than me remind me what the little lightning bolt on Reed and Sue’s chests represents… a madly stylised FF? Elisabetta D’Amico inks alongside Pichelli and I couldn’t see the join, this is a nice-looking comic. Gracia and letterer Joe Caramagna also deserve credit for the success of this issue, along with editors Tom Brevoort and Alanna Smith.

The thing I like least this time is Esad Ribić’s cover, the composition is fine but the finishing is wispy, the colours too washed out. It lacks impact.

Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of the Fantastic Four, I heartily recommend this book. All the characters are on form, the family dynamic is classic, the storyline make sense and the images are attractive. Go Four it.

2 thoughts on “Fantastic Four #2 review (2018)

  1. Reed Richards is not “obnoxious.” If people write him that way, it’s because they don’t understand the noble, humane visionary that he is. We may take issue with Sue “worshipping” her husband, but there’s no one more worthy of her admiration than the man she married. I agree about that bloody beard, though; it’s atrocious. It makes him look like some Luddite farmer.

    Your usual, dangerously well-written review, Mart. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, I should have made that distinction. I’m a fan of Reed at his best, when he’s a caring family guy, smart as all get out, but blimey, he’s been ill served by a lot of writers. And thinking on, Reed gives Sue a lovely compliment when he’s building the machine this issue.

      I’m really looking forward to seeing where Slott, Pichelli and co take this version of the FF; they already have me thrilled by the presence of Wyatt, Alicia and co. Bring on the reborn Agatha!


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