The Fantastic Four have had a rough go of it for the last few years. Between the cancellation of their last comic, the disastrous Josh Trank-directed movie and the send-off they received in Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s Secret Wars, it seemed like the Fantastic Four were getting drawn down in scope. Especially with the Thing and Human Torch being scattered around different team books and ongoings. But we’ve had time to miss the Fantastic Four, Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli both late of two different runs of Spider-Man come together to tell the return of the Fantastic Four to prominence.
Slott’s first issue focuses on the Human Torch and the Thing as they try to move on in a world without their family. While that’s largely been the remit of Chip Zdarsky’s Marvel Two-In-One book featuring a still-handsome Doom, Slott takes a different tack and shows us where they’re at when they’re at their lowest and fresh out of hope. And while Slott has written the FF a lot over the years, he gets more than a few chances to show what makes them unique even among the Marvel pantheon. It also makes a lot of big moves that help to show this run will definitely be moving the team forward. The same respect is also given to Doctor Doom who’s also been in a curious place post-Secret Wars and post-Infamous Iron Man. While it would be simple to take Doom’s time as Iron Man and reset him to being a villain again, Slott wisely embraces what happened to Doom and takes him into a new state.
Of course a great deal of why the comic works so well is down to the art team. In particular: Sara Pichelli and Marte Gracia on the lead story do a sublime job defining their version of the characters. Pichelli as always does a great job of refining real-world fashion for the characters, as well as scenes with the Torch using his powers. Marte Gracia’s colors also help in this regard making Pichelli’s colors pop especially with the Human Torch. Simone Bianchi’s art for the Doctor Doom story is no slouch either with a more raw look in mind, that contrasts with the hopeful and bright look of the lead story. There’s also a Skottie Young story, but that one is best experienced without explanation. Either way, if you’re a an avid Marvel reader, a lapsed fan, or a new reader this is the comic to start with.
4 Torches out of 5