Fantastic Four #3 review

With the Fantastic Four separated and without access to their money, Johnny Storm, in his brand new secret identity of Jonathan Fairweather, has taken a job in a big box store.

Deciding to do something about the lousy pay and conditions, the Human Torch pays Merrill a visit, not realising they met years ago when the shop owner was a low-level Maggia thug.

It’s a dilemma – how do you defeat a guy who’s not scared of your power because he knows the Torch would never sear a regular human? Merrill is smart and believes his hotheaded employees is anything but. Johnny thinks that too, as we see at the start of the issue when he’s trying to save Wisconsin from a tornado.

Except Johnny is smart. What is ‘smart’ if it’s not listening to what Reed told him, remembering it and putting the information to good use (he’s also ‘tough’ and ‘powerful’, but that’s by the by).

So it’s no surprise, really, when Johnny finds a workaround for the matter of Merrill.

The new run of Fantastic Four delivers another cracking issue as writer Ryan North follows his focuses on Ben and Alicia, and Sue and Reed, with a spotlight on Johnny. ‘A shoptastic day’ is superhero vs Superstore as our hero tries and fails to spark a union into life, it’s great to see him have a go at the secret ID thing (if memory serves he’s done it at least once previously… but when?). While there’s no supervillain to fight, Merrill’s arrogance does motivate lots of flaming on, which is beautifully rendered by illustrator Iban Coello and colourist Jesus Aburtov – there’s a real sense of heat rising when Johnny’s flame is on. And a pair of panels showing the Torch melting through a wall are positively primal in their power, as if Johnny’s channelling his Golden Age inspiration.

I’m not so hot on our hero’s new look as the first time we see him he looks like the Wingless Wizard on Dress Down Friday, a leering loon. Still, we do get a few shots of de-flamed Johnny in his fireproof shorts, to compensate.

Speaking of bare flesh, which I kinda sorta was, the real threat from Merrill is Johnny being flashed to death after he uses the belt of his robe to cover his hand.

Blimey. The man really isn’t scared of being burned.

Add in delightfully precise lettering from Joe Caramagna and an unusually soft cover treatment from Alex Ross and you have a thoroughly satisfying opening to the new creative team’s debut arc. Next time we’re going to find out just why the Fabulous Fantastic Four are on the outs with New York, and I cannot wait.

6 thoughts on “Fantastic Four #3 review

  1. I am curious to find out if what happened to the FF is related at all to ‘what Peter did’. Which has long needed to be addressed if only to find out how in the world MJ is playing mom to two kids and in love with another guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m enjoying this run so far — I love a fun one-shot story, and we’ve gotten three of them in a row!

    It’s also a nice change of pace from the Slott issues, which, while I enjoyed them, were so frenetic and packed with characters. It’s good to have a breather from all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Honnestly? I don’t think is for me. I’ve seen too many ‘F4 nrek up
    stories in fifty years and this continues the streak of not liking any of them. The art is a step down from the artists Slott was paired with. (And it looked like Texas Twister whenever the himbo burned his hair dye off) If Alicia and Ben’s kids are written out and the Richards siblings are de-aged I’ll be gone definitely. Slott left behind a great set up so I don’t get using none of it so far. They weren’t even living in the Baxter Building when Slott left so what? They popped over, rebult it, then cratered it? Lot of steps to do sepeating the team for the umpteenth time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I certainly agreed before reading the first issue, but I’ve enjoyed these stories a lot and it looks like there getting back together next issue. I agree entirely that the kids need to return sharpish.

      Like

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