It is finally happening. The Fantastic Four are back in their own monthly title. The Fantastic Four are hands down the most storied franchise in Marvel Comics’ library of intellectual property. The Fantastic Four was born from one of Kirby’s earlier creations for DC Comics: The Challengers of the Unknown. The Fantastic Four is where Jack Kirby and Stan Lee built the foundation for the entire 616 Universe. I have always viewed the Fantastic Four as the main tentpole for the entire Marvel Universe. I have been eagerly awaiting a new Fantastic Four title since the moment that Marvel cancelled this title three years ago. Hopefully, Dan Slott is up to the task of delivering an exciting and epic return of Marvel’s first family in Fantastic Four#1. Let’s hit this review.
Words: Dan Slott
Pencils: Sara Pichelli
Inks: Sara Pichelli & Elisabetta D’Amico
Colors: Marte Gracia
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Simone Bianchi
Colors: Marco Russo
One Page Extra
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Scottie Young
Colors: Jeremy Treece
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a picture of the Fantastic Four including Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny, Franklin, and Val. Each member of the team describes what they think best defines the Fantastic Four. In the end, they all agree that being a family is what best defines them.
We cut to Ben and Alicia Masters at an animal rescue. Alicia wants to adopt a bunch of kittens. (Gross. Vermin.) We cut to Johnny and Wyatt Wingfoot at a Mets game. A camera puts Johnny up on the ballpark’s jumbo screen. A bunch of women all around Johnny mob him to get an autograph or a selfie. We hop back to Ben and Alicia. Ben agrees that they should adopt some of the kittens.
We then see a shadowy figure on top of a building. They fire a flare gun that creates a fiery “Fantastic Four” signal in the sky. We cut to Ben seeing the signal in the sky. Then we cut to the ballpark with Johnny seeing the signal in the sky. Johnny then yells, “Flame on!” and flies off into the air excitedly yelling that his family is back.
We hop back to Ben and Alicia sitting in a park. Ben tells Alicia that Reed and Sue are not back. That the signal is a hoax. Ben admits that he has been keeping something from everyone. That they all have to stop hoping for a miracle. That Ben was there on their last big adventure. That Reed, Sue, Franklin, and Valeria are all gone for good.
We shift to Human Torch flying through the city exclaiming that they are back. Johnny says that he can feel it. Johnny wonders what villain they will be going up against this time. That he had better be ready for anything.
Human Torch arrives on the top of the building and sees two members of the Yancy Street Gang. One of them has the Fantastic Four flare gun in his hand. Human Torch is pissed that this was all just a Yancy Street Gang prank.
We cut to a news report discussing that the recent Fantastic Four flare signal was a fake. The news anchor says that the Fantastic Four is still no more. The news anchor then recounts the origin of the Fantastic Four. (Really? I mean, I guess it is possible that there is someone out there who is buying this comic who has zero knowledge of the Fantastic Four’s origin, but that is highly unlikely.)
The news then shows video clips from various people for their thoughts about the Fantastic Four and the recent signal hoax. The Thing says, “No comment.” Medusa says that he has faith in Sue Storm more than any other person on this planet. (But, evidently, not Reed Richards. You know, only the smartest human on planet Earth. Ooookay.) Medusa says that if there is a way then Sue will get her family home safe. (No. It will be Reed.)
Crystal (Wow. When did Crystal get such an ugly look? I totally did not recognize her.) then says that she worries the most for Ben and Johnny. We then see Luke Cage. Luke says that as a father he feels that it is a shame what happened to Luke and Val. (But, Sue and Reed? Fuck ’em. They can die.)
Next is Jennifer Walters. (Who is back in successful attorney mode.) Jen says the “perpetrators” are minors and the offense is just a misdemeanor at best. Jen then says she is on her way to represent the Yancy Street members now. (No. A criminal defense attorney does NOT ever refer to their clients as the “perpetrators.” Is Slott insane? They would say “my clients.” The cops would call them “perpetrators.”)
We cut to an undisclosed location. We see the two Yancy Street boys sitting in a lobby. There is a cop behind a receptionist desk. Jen is signing paperwork. Jen is talking with a police officer and thanking him for his help. Jen says that this can be worked out with some days of community service. (I am assuming this is a city jail. Jen did say she was going to “represent” the two defendants. That could mean she was going to court or to the jail. Since this is a lobby with a cop at a receptionist desk then I am going with a jail. I have no idea why Jen would be having this conversation with a desk sergeant. He has zero control of the disposition of the case or over a recommended plea deal. The judge controls the disposition of the case. The prosecutor controls the recommended plea deal. I am not sure even Slott knows what he is doing at this point.)
Johnny and Wyatt approach Jen. Johnny is angry that Jen would defend the Yancy Street boys. Johnny says that the boys should be tried as adults. (What?! Why is that even coming up at this point? Jen just bailed them out of jail. The prosecutor would be the one to recommend trying them as adults and the judge would make the ruling. That would not happen until they have a hearing at court.)
Jen says that the boys are just dumb kids and that no one was hurt. Also, Jen says that defending criminal defendants is her job. Jen then says “Hi” to Wyatt and says that he looks good. Wyatt then replies that Jen looks good, too. Johnny asks if the two of them really are going to flirt with each other at this moment. The two Yancy Street boys talk about how Jen and Wyatt used to date.
Jen then tells Johnny that the Thing hired her to represent the Yancy Street boys. Jen also said that Ben is dropping the charges for breaking and entering. (Wait, if Ben is dropping the charges then why do these boys need an attorney? They should have just been released. And if the charges are being dropped then why is Jen talking about having to negotiate the criminal charges down to just community service? None of this makes any sense at all. Also, if Ben is dropping the charges then the location that the burglary occurred at must have ben Ben’s personal residence.)
We cut to Ben and Shecky at Ben’s place. Shecky apologizes that he must have not properly locked up the apartment after he finished watering the plants. Ben and Shecky enter Ben’s apartment. Ben has a bunch of mementos from his adventures with the Fantastic Four.
Ben grabs an alien box and opens it. Ben tells Shecky to sit down so that Ben can tell him the story what is inside of this alien box.
We flashback to a time when the Fantastic Four were on a mission in space. They made a wrong turn and ended up lost in space. They met an alien named Astronomica who agreed to help them get home. Astronomica had an orb called the Stellarex stone that could light the way back home. The stone was powered by sound. More specifically, singing. Astronomica asks who is the best singer among them. Sue says that she is the best singer. Everyone else says that Johnny is the best singer.
Johnny sings into the Stellarex stone. Suddenly, it lights up a portal that leads them to Earth. They cross through the portal and are suddenly back on Earth.
We cut back to Ben’s apartment. Ben says that Astronomica told him that if he ever got lost again that this stone would help him find his way home. Ben says that he has been lost for some time now. That he has been without his family and without hope. But, after the Fantastic Four signal hoax that Ben now knows what to do. That he is ready. That it is time for him to go on his biggest adventure ever.
We hop over to Alicia’s apartment. Ben knocks on the door. Ben gets down on one knee. Ben says that Alicia will always be the light that leads him home. Ben holds up an engagement ring and asks Alicia to marry him. Alicia yells, “YES!” (This was a sweet scene and pretty much the highlight of this entire story.)
We shift to the Human Torch landing at a rooftop restaurant. We see Ben and Alicia at a table. Ben is in a suit. Alicia is all dressed up. (And her hair has evidently magically grown from a short bob to long bangs and a bun.)
Johnny asks why Ben is in a suit. He asks if he was supposed to be in a suit. Johnny asks if they are going to court. Ben says that they invited him here to tell him the big news. Alicia shows Johnny her engagement ring. Ben then says that they are family. Ben says that Johnny is like his brother. Ben then asks Johnny to be his best man.
Johnny screams, “NO!” Ben and Alicia are stunned. Johnny says that this is all wrong. That there is only one person in the world who should be the best man at Ben’s wedding: Reed Richards. Ben says that this was a beautiful moment and that Johnny has ruined it.
Johnny says that Ben does not get to be like that. That Ben is the one losing faith. Johnny says that their family is still out there. Ben tells Johnny to wake up. That they have checked under every rock in the multiverse. That Reed, Sue, Franklin, and Val are gone. Ben says that we owe it to them to move on.
Alicia tells Ben and Johnny to stop arguing. Johnny says that he is done and that he is not taking this anymore. Johnny flies into the air. Johnny screams out, “REED!” Johnny yells that he knows that Reed is out there. That Reed has to have some way to see or hear Johnny. That Reed is smart enough to figure out a way to show Johnny a sign. Johnny yells for Reed to do it now and show him a sign. (Well, if Reed had the ability to show Johnny a sign wouldn’t Reed have already done that while Johnny and Ben were traipsing around the Multiverse looking for him?)
Johnny levitates in the air. Nothing happens. Johnny flies back to the rooftop restaurant. Johnny starts crying. (Is Johnny surrounded by an anti-gravity field? His tears are floating off of his face like he is in space.)
Johnny says, “It’s true. Isn’t it?” (Oh, now Johnny finally believes Ben?! After he randomly shouts into the sky above New York? Not after he travelled all over the Multiverse and could not find them?) Johnny says, “They’re really gone.” Ben says, “I’m sorry.” Ben and Alicia hug Johnny.
We cut to an unknown location in some far off universe. We see Reed working on some machine. Sue is by his side. Sue asks if this is really going to work. That Reed’s plan seems impossible. Reed asks Sue if she believes him. Sue responds, “Always.”
Reed replies, “And that is why I can do the impossible.” Reed then activates the machine.
We cut back to Johnny, Ben, and Alicia in a group hug. Suddenly they look up into the sky. Ben says, “Unbelievable.” We cut to Medusa and Crystal looking into the sky and being surprised. We see Luke Cage surprised by what he sees in the sky. We see Wyatt and Jen looking into the sky and being surprised.
We cut back to Ben, Johnny, and Alicia. Johnny says, “It’s about damn time.” We see a massive “4” signal in space above Earth. End of story.
We get a backup story about Doom. We see Sentinels enforcing martial law in Doomstadt, Latveria. We see a woman sneaking into Castle Von Doom. The woman says that their angel has returned to them. A Doombot appears and calls her an intruder.
Several more Doombots appear and they surround the woman. The woman begs them to take her to their master. The Doombots are about to kill her when, suddenly, someone from off panel takes down all of the Doombots. We then see that this person is none other than Victor Von Doom wearing nothing but a loincloth and his hood and cape. (Ummmmm…that certainly is a different look.)
Doom tells the woman to leave. The woman says that her name is Zora Vukovic. Doom says that she means nothing to him. Zora says that the people have been praying for Doom’s return. That he would one day liberate them. Zora begs Doom to be their savior once again.
Doom says he has been a god and played at being a hero. Doom says that he has paid handsomely for it. Doom says that he will show her. He pulls down his hood and shows his disfigured face. Doom asks if this is a face of a savior or of an angel. Zora picks up a mask from one of the Doombots. Zora says that Doom’s homeland has suffered in his absence. That dictators and strongmen have taken over. Zora bows and holds up the iron mask and says that what Latveria needs is Doom’s true face.
Doom takes the mask and says that men fear this mask. Zora says that only outsiders fear the mask. To Latverians the mask is the face of hope. Doom puts the mask on and thanks Zora for reminding him. Doom says that there is the face that he was born with and the face that fate would keep forcing upon him. But, the iron mask fo Doom is the face that he chose. (Okay, now this was a badass scene!)
We cut to Zora leading a band of Latverian rebels against the foreign army occupying Latveria. The army is unimpressed by Zora and her rebels. Zora says that she did not come alone. Suddenly, Doctor Doom appears on the scene.
The Sentinel style robots then recognize Doom’s voice and call him “Master” and await his commands. Doom destroys all of the Sentinel style robots. Zora asks why Doom would destroy the robots when they would have served him. Doom tells Zora to never question him. Zora begs Doom to forgive her.
Doom says that he does not require any robots. No armor. No person fighting by his side. Doom says what he needs is for all of Latveria to watch Doom free them from this tyranny by his own strength, will, and hand alone. End of back-up story.
We then get a one page Impossible Man story. We see Impossible Man finishing reading this issue, Fantastic Four #1. Impossible Man is pissed that he waited this long for a new Fantastic Four comic and they are not even back, yet. Impossible Man asks how hard it is to do a new #1 issue and not get all four of them back together.
A mailman then appears and hands Impossible Man a letter. Impossible Man reads the letter which is from Marvel Comics. The letter says that the Fantastic Four will be back together in next month’s issue.
Impossible Man then says that this is not so bad. That he has waited this long. That waiting one more month won’t kill him. The Impossible Man then says that he will be watching Marvel, though. We see Impossible Man turning into the Watcher. End of one page story. End of issue.
The Good: I was not that impressed with Fantastic Four #1. Having said that, there were several positive aspects to this issue. Obviously, the best thing about Fantastic Four #1 is that a monthly Fantastic Four comic is being published by Marvel once again. All is right with the world.
I loved that Slott made sure to insert numerous classic Fantastic Four supporting cast characters from Johnny’s longtime friend Wyatt Wingfoot to Alicia Masters to She-Hulk. The best aspect of the Fantastic Four is the incredible cast of supporting characters that this franchise has built up over the years. The utilization of these characters shows Slott’s commitment to the continuity of the Fantastic Four. It also highlights Slott’s desire to do research into a franchise’s past and to have a strong working knowledge of that past.
Of all the characters in Fantastic Four, Slott did the best job writing the Thing and She-Hulk. Slott clearly understands these characters and has a great feel for each character’s unique personality and external voice. Ben and Jen have such well crafted external voices. Their dialogue is spot on.
Ben gets all of the character work in Fantastic Four #1. Slott’s Ben Grimm is just how I like the Thing. He is gruff and feisty, but is really just a big softie on the inside. The weight on Ben’s shoulders over the loss of Reed, Sue, Franklin, and Val is palpable. The concern that Ben has for Johnny and his denial over the loss of his family is genuine. Slott is able to make Ben the most textured and fully developed character in this issue.
Slott did a wonderful job building off of the events in Marvel Two-In-One where Ben had to come to grips with the fact that Reed, Sue, Franklin, and Val were gone. The flashback scene with the alien who led the Fantastic Four home was the perfect moment for Ben’s epiphany as to what to do with his life in the wake of the loss of the Fantastic Four. The concept of Alicia being Ben’s light who always leads his home was heart touching and felt authentic to both characters. This moment grows organically out of the story.
Of course, this all leads to the absolute highlight of this issue: Ben getting engaged to Alicia. This is a moment that long-time Fantastic Four fans have been waiting for forever. Ben’s proposal to Alicia was a sweet and touching moment that was delivered perfectly by Slott. You would have to have a heart of stone to not be touched by this scene.
Jen is the only other character that I thought Slott did an excellent job writing in this issue. Slott gives us the She-Hulk that we all know and love. This is not the weak and traumatized victim that we get over in the pages of She-Hulk’s monthly title. Nor is this the cheap Bruce Banner rip-off that we get over in the pages of the Avengers. Nope. Slott treats the reader to the real She-Hulk. Jen is smart, confident, sexy, and kick-ass. I love Jen in her kick-ass attorney mode. Jen is such a fantastic character and I like that Slott is giving us the proper Jen Walters. Hopefully, Jen sticks around in the pages of Fantastic Four.
The Doctor Doom backup story was rather wrote. Having said that, it is fantastic to see Victor Von Doom back to where he belongs and back to wearing the iron mask of Doom. Again, all is right with the world.
While the back-up story itself was generic and predictable, what was nice was Slott’s handling of Doom’s character. Again, this is nothing ground breaking. But, what makes Slott’s Doom so great is that Slott is not trying to re-invent the wheel. Slott gives us a Doom that feels authentic and true to his character’s core personality traits. I love that Slott makes Doom supremely confident and regal. Slott effectively gets Doom over as a powerful man who is not to be taken lightly. Slott also gets across the fact that Doom is not short on ego and confidence, either.
Slott also did an excellent job making Fantastic Four #1 incredibly new reader friendly. You do not need to know anything at all about the Fantastic Four in order to enjoy this issue. Slott spoon-feeds the reader everything right down to the fact that Wyatt and Jen used to date. Everything a reader needs to know to enjoy this story is delivered in this issue. Slott also does a good job making Fantastic Four #1 all-ages friendly. This is a smart move. A title like the Fantastic Four should always strive to be friendly to readers of any age.
The artwork in Fantastic Four #1 is solid. I am not a particularly huge fan of either Sara Pichelli or Simone Bianchi. Still, they are both solid artists who get the job done.
The Bad: Fantastic Four #1 was a disappointing read. Now, admittedly, I had high expectations going into this issue. We have not had a Fantastic Four title since May, 2015. It has been three long years without Marvel’s first family. There is no doubt that the Fantastic Four are the keystone for the Marvel Universe from which Jack Kirby and Stan Lee built the 616 Universe.
Unfortunately, the war between Disney and FOX lead Marvel Comics to cancel the Fantastic Four comic and make the group disappear. Disney was in no desire to promote the Fantastic Four while FOX still had the movie rights to the franchise. However, since Disney now has the green-light to purchase FOX this means that they will be gaining back the movie rights to the Fantastic Four. Cue the sudden return of the Fantastic Four comic book to the 616 Universe. As always, movies and TV is where Disney’s true interest lie and the comics are a mere after thought that follow what the needs of the film and TV studios.
After a three-year wait for the return of Marvel’s first super hero team I was incredibly anxious for this issue. I was ready to crack open Fantastic Four #1 and see the return of our beloved family. I was ready for Slott to deliver his mission statement for this new Fantastic Four title and to see what role Marvel’s first family was going to play in the 616 Universe. I thought this was practically guaranteed to happen given all the build up to this dramatic return that we have gotten over in the pages of Marvel Two-In-One.
Welp. That certainly did not happen. Slott failed to give us the return of the Fantastic Four. Slott also failed to deliver the mission statement of the title. Slott failed to tell the reader how the Fantastic Four was going to fit into this post All-New All-Different Marvel Universe. Slott failed to tell the reader what we can expect on a monthly basis from this title. All the various tasks of a debut issue of a new title were completely ignored by Slott.
Fantastic Four #1 should have been more appropriately titled “Fantastic Four: Prelude.” Because that is all this issue is: just a teaser for the next issue which is the real Fantastic Four #1 issue. Outside of Ben proposing to Alicia, absolutely nothing happens in this issue.
The plotting and pacing to Fantastic Four #1 is bad. Slott delivers a ridiculously decompressed and repetitious read that trudges forward with zero sense of urgency. Most of the issue feels meandering as if Slott is simply dragging his feet.
The story is shallow and lacks any real substance. The vast majority of Fantastic Four #1 is pure fluff designed to burn panel space because Slott really does not want to do anything of substance until Fantastic Four #2. This just contributes to the feeling that this issue is really just a teaser issue or a prelude issue at best.
Slott begins this issue with a one page scene of the various members of the Fantastic Four explaining how they view their team. We then get a four page scene with Ben and Alicia buying cats and Johnny and Wyatt at a baseball game and then the appearance of the Fantastic Four flare. At this point, we are five pages into the issue and nothing at all of any substance has happened.
We then get four pages of Ben talking about how Reed, Sue, Franklin, and Val really are dead and Johnny, still in a state of denial, and ready to welcome back his family members. We also get the reveal that the Yancy Street Gang were the ones who shot the Fantastic Four flare. So, now we are nine pages into the issue and absolutely nothing at all of any substance still has happened in this issue.
We then get two pages of the news report that re-tells the origin of the Fantastic Four in one page and then spends another page with pointless interviews with people about the Fantastic Four still being gone. It is hard to believe that anyone needs to be told the origin of the Fantastic Four, but I get the compulsion to re-tell their origin. At least Slott did it in a succinct manner in just one page. I can live with that.
But, then burning an entire page on pointless interviews with various Marvel characters that does nothing at all to advance the story or flesh it out in any way whatsoever is ridiculous. Especially since we are now eleven pages into the issue and all we have gotten of any substance is that Ben thinks the missing Fantastic Four members are dead, Johnny thinks they are alive, and we get the origin of the Fantastic Four. That’s it. All of that could be accomplished in just five pages versus eleven.
Slott then gives us a one page scene with Jen bailing out the Yancy Street Gang members. Again, I love Jen’s character so I enjoyed seeing her. But, this scene was pointless and useless.
Slott then spends a stunning seven pages giving us the story about the alien who led the Fantastic Four back home and then gifted Ben a part of her magic gem that would help him find his way home if he ever got lost again. This was ridiculously decompressed. There was no need to waste so many pages for this small amount of plot progression. This scene could have been delivered far more succinctly and powerfully if done in half the pages. All the reader needs to know is that Ben has this magic gem and it reminds him to keep in him where his home is and who is the light that keeps him from getting lost.
We then get the two page scene of Ben proposing to Alicia. This two page scene was pure perfection and the highlight of this entire story.
However, at this point, we are now twenty pages into the issue and all we have gotten is that Ben thinks the missing Fantastic Four members are dead, Johnny thinks they are alive, and Ben proposes to Alicia. That’s it. In twenty pages. That is unacceptable.
Slott then delivers a three page scene of Ben and Johnny arguing if the missing members of the Fantastic Four are dead or alive. Again. We have seen this over and over in the pages of Marvel Two-In-One. We also have already seen this earlier in Fantastic Four #1 itself. We really did not need to burn another three pages beating this simple storyline into the ground.
We then get two pages of Johnny screaming like an idiot into the night sky and then returning to the restaurant to admit that Ben was right. We are now twenty-five pages into the issue and all we have gotten is Ben thinks the Fantastic four members are dead, Johnny thought they are alive, that Johnny now agrees with Ben and Ben proposed to Alicia. That’s it. And it took Slott twenty-five pages to perform that paltry amount of content and plot progression.
At this point, on page twenty-six, we finally get to see Reed and Sue. We get a four page scene of Reed activating his machine to create a massive “4” in the sky and for multiple characters across New York to see the signal.
The Doom back-up story is not much better, either. We get three pages of Zora sneaking into Doom’s castle and then being confronted by Doom himself. Slott then burns three more pages with Zora trying to convince Doom to rescue Latveria. We then get three pages of Doom arriving to take down the army that is now controlling Latveria.
Again, the Doom back-up story just feels like a teaser of a plot line that we are going to see running through the regular pages of Fantastic Four and Doom reassumes his classic position within the 616 Universe.
All in all, there is only about two pages worth of compelling reading nestled in this nine page back-up story. This back-up story is just fluff added into Fantastic Four #1 in order to justify the hefty cover price.
It is stunning how little plot progression and actual content that Slott puts into this preview issue masquerading as Fantastic Four #1. Keep in mind that Marvel Comics is asking readers to fork over $6.00 for the privilege of getting this issue with little in the way of any substantive content.
The one page Impossible Man story is crap. This one page story was a pathetic and transparent attempt of Slott trying to get out ahead of the obvious oncoming criticism of Fantastic Four #1 for being nothing more than a prelude issue. Slott is notorious for being highly defensive and thin-skinned. This one page story just solidifies that perception of Slott.
This one page story is also patronizing to the reader. THis is Slott taking a condescending tone to the reader and telling them why any criticisms of this issue are unfounded and that if they could wait three years for the return of the Fantastic Four then surely they can wait just one more month.
I have no idea why the editorial staff and Marvel Comics thought this was a good idea. This is just another example of Marvel Comics being hostile to their readers. I do not understand why Marvel Comics thinks it is fine to attack their fans or to poke fun at them whenever possible. Why would any business want to wage war with their money paying core fanbase? The very people who keep them in business. It is bizarre. It is like Vince McMahon is running Marvel Comics.
Outside of Ben and Jen, Slott’s character work was unimpressive. Wyatt has no real personality. Alicia is a bit bland. But, the worst is Slott’s take on Johnny Storm. Look, I get that Johnny is supposed to be written like a stereotypical fraternity guy. However, Slott takes it too far and makes Johnny just appear brain-dead. Like, I am surprised Slott’s Johnny knows how to breathe.
Slott has Johnny say just the dumbest things. It is the kind of stuff that takes the reader out of the story. Also, there are times when what Johnny says simply lacks any internal logic to the story. Slott needs to tone it down a bit when it comes to Johnny’s character. Because, at this point, Johnny is more of a caricature than a real character.
Also, outside of Ben and Jen, Slott’s dialogue was average at best to unbearably cheesy at worst. It is odd because there are moments where Slott nails the dialogue that are then immediately followed by moments where it reads like a child is writing the dialogue.
The story in general is shallow. There is no much depth to Fantastic Four #1. The story does not have lots of meticulously detailed plot lines. The plotting is barebones. The story seems simplistic. There are also moments in the story where Slott’s writing seems juvenile. The story also lacks the details that help to bring a story to life in a vivid fashion and to help pull the reader deeply into the story.
There is also no connective tissue in this story. There seem to be gaps in the story as Slott just hops from scene to scene without organically building each scene off of the previous one. There is also the problem that Fantastic Four #1 suffers from a lack of internal logic at times. Things either happen for no reason or happen in a fashion that is far too convenient. This only serves to pull the reader out of the story. One great example is anything having to do with the legal system and Jen representing the Yancy Street Gang. That was a mess.
Another example of this is Johnny seeing the Fantastic Four flare and immediately thinking the missing members of the Fantastic Four are back and are fighting some classic Fantastic Four villain. After failing to find his family in the pages of Marvel Two-In-One after going across the Multiverse, I am not sure why Johnny immediately believed this flare signal was really his family. And then I am not sure why Johnny would double down and believe that not only his family was back but that were already engaged in a battle with a classic Fantastic Four villain.
One more example is when Johnny flies into the night sky and screams for Reed to give him a sign. And after getting no response Johnny finally believes Ben. Wouldn’t traveling through all of the Multiverse and not finding them get Johnny to believe Ben more than just randomly screaming into the New York sky and not getting any response? This scenes made no sense. And then Reed hitting the “4” signal right after such a silly scene made it all look too convenient.
Pichelli’s art is too inconsistent. There are panels that look great. Then there are panels that look like a sloppy mess. Then there are moments that make no sense like Johnny crying tears that float off his face as if he is in zero gravity. Pichelli’s artwork also lacks detail in many of the panels as if she was rushed and hurrying to slap some art on the page as fast as possible.
Bianchi’s artwork is also inconsistent. There are some panels that look dramatic and are undeniably cool. The final splash shot of the back-up story is an excellent example of that. Then there are other panels that look way too messy. There is also a constant issue of the inks being too heavy and the colors being far too dark and dull.
Overall: Fantastic Four #1 is an excellent teaser or prelude issue. However, as a debut issue of a new title, Fantastic Four #1 fails in all of the basic tasks of a #1 issue. There is no way to divorce the $6.00 cover price of Fantastic Four from the reading experience that you get from the issue. There is simply no way in the world that Fantastic Four #1 offers enough bang for your buck to warrant you spending $6.00 of your hard-earned money on this title. The competition for your entertainment dollar is far to fierce these days for me to ever recommend spending $6.00 for Fantastic Four #1.
I would only recommend Fantastic Four #1 to die-hard Fantastic Four fans. For everyone else? Just hope aboard with Fantastic Four #2. Yeah, you will miss the brilliant two page scene where Ben proposes to Alicia. But, I cannot justify telling people to spend $6.00 for two pages of content. Other than those two pages, readers will miss absolutely nothing at all by skipping Fantastic Four #1. instead, hop aboard with Fantastic Four #2 which promises to be the true debut issue of this new title.