It’s finally here! The official return of the World’s Greatest Comics Magazine. The Fantastic Four have returned after an over-extended hiatus. And I, couldn’t be happier.
The Fantastic Four was my first love for comic books, and it is all thanks to the grandfathers themselves, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Their original storylines defined what comics could be, and at the forefront of that is creativity. A word that has defined who I am, creative expression is what I believe to be our purpose on this rock spinning around a fireball. Lee and Kirby managed to develop a book that not only shook the core of an entire media but broke boundaries. And, every month they continued to take this family places that some of the time’s most celebrated artists would never think of. That tradition carried through with some of the most exceptional talents in the industry doing their parts to take the FF new to new world, galaxies, and universes.
We are finally here once more. The tradition of the ultimate creative comic book is alive once more and in good hands. More importantly, that void that has been missing from the comic world is filled, and Marvel’s first family can once again be the heart of an industry.
There are an incredible amount of variant covers and for good reason – it has been nearly a decade since an artist could put there work on a Fantastic Four title. But, two covers truly stand out for me personally. First is the A cover, the one that shall always be remembered for bringing our family home. Esad Ribic puts a good magic into this painted cover and really makes it for a new generation. Meanwhile, the legendary Alex Ross brings us a spin on the classic FF with his ability to bring any character to life. This cover is everything I have ever wanted and I need it, I don’t know for what, but I need it.
The story carries on from the work Chip Zdarsky has been doing on Marvel 2-in-1 – which if you haven’t read, you should really start. Old Ben Grimm is dealing with the acceptance that his friends have all passed on, and how to share that with the few friends he has left. And, Johnny Storm continues to carry the torch as it were, as he holds out hope for there imminent return. Those emotions culminate with a flare that has not been seen for decades (and, they have been sharing this moment in previews for a month or so now.), but it is not what we expect. Or, maybe it is, depending on what your guesses were. Either way, Ben moves on by making a monumental decision that was long overdue.
We also are given the opportunity to read an untold story of the Fantastic in a Thing flashback. This little tale is the heart of what these books are about, and we get to see the family be a family again. There is humour, and love, and deep friendship, all wrapped up in a sweet story about coming home. I couldn’t have asked for anything sweeter, and it drives what the return of the Fantastic Four means for fans like myself.
Finally, after Johnny really hits his breaking point, we are given hope for the future of this magazine. Reed and Sue are in fact alive, and the world’s smartest man continues to push forward. A beacon in the sky offers the characters on Earth, and fans hope again. The Fantastic Four will be together again, and soon. Notes from the editor and a special panel from Skottie Young promise that we will only need to wait for one more month to see them reunited.
I have honestly been broken with my favourite comic title absent from the shelves for so long. Since I began my blogging journey, I have been quite active in expressing my love of these characters and how important this title is. I cannot find where I wrote it, but years ago I sent an open message to Marvel with a commitment to purchase an FF book regularly for a number of years should they bring it back. I plan to follow through on that promise. I also had a mini-campaign on The Twitter that I called #MakeFantasticFourGreatAgain. This book means a lot to me, and reading this first issue brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. No joke, this moment meant the world to me.
I couldn’t be more satisfied with this issue. The creative team that has been assembled understands the heart and importance of these characters and they are in safe hands. Sara Pichelli’s artwork is so expressive and brings life to everyone, even ones made out of rock. I also really dig her innovative way of drawing the Human Torch. While Dan Slott managed to hit all of the right spots in a single issue. The flashback scene really showcased how Slott cares for this family and will offer us a real-world look at characters that we already know and love. It is more exciting to know that the title is not just back, but we will be reading fresh and creative stories to bring the World’s Greatest Comics Magazine back to its namesake.
It’s really happening. The Fantastic Four have returned. The comic stands are complete again. We have a title that will help to drive Marvel into the future and define what this universe can be once more. There is so much potential, and news that Disney intends to carry the Fantastic Four into the big screen gives so much hope. One day soon, the world will see the greatness of this team the way we comic fans do. Reading this book was an experience that I have been waiting ages for. The torch is lit, “flame on!”