Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fantastic Four Hardcover Review

Fantastic Four
Marvel Comics
Hardcover
144 pages
$19.99
ISBN 9780785120292

Contributors: J. Michael Straczynski, Mike McKone, Andy Lanning, and Paul Mounts

Reprints: Fantastic Four #527-532

Synopsis: Recent events have seen the Fantastic Four lose all of their patents and corporate income to the US government.  It's been a struggle to stay financially afloat for the entire family, save one member.  Ben Grimm discovers his financial fortune is still intact and very sizeable.  He gets a taste of the good life for a change.

In the meantime Reed is brought on a secret government project to investigate repeat phenomena of the cosmic rays which originally transformed four ordinary humans into the fantastic.  They plan to send up a score of servicemen and women with hopes of the same purposeful transformation.  The question of why each member of the team was affected differently by exposure to the same cosmic rays is answered with amazing results.

While Reed is away Sue gets a visit from New York child services to investigate the safety of their two children.  When Blastaar or some other cosmic menace appears every week how can they possibly be in a safe environment?  Sue must face down the scariest foe yet -- bureaucracy!

Pros: Straczynski's take on the FF is spot on, McKone's art is lushly detailed, great colors by Mounts, story is initially fascinating, great real-world situation as child services investigates the safety of the Richards' children's surroundings

Cons: After initial setup the story quickly falls apart becoming too cosmic in scope (even for an FF tale)

Mike Tells It Straight: Great art and characterization, but story is too far-fetched and all the pieces don't quite fit together in the end.

TO BUY and Recommendations: