Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fantastic Four: The New Fantastic Four Hardcover Review

Fantastic Four: The New Fantastic Four
Marvel Comics
168 pages
ISBN 9780785128472

Contributors: Dwayne McDuffie, Paul Pelletier, Michael Turner, and Paul Mounts

Reprints: Fantastic Four #544-550

Synopsis: After the events in Civil War Reed and Sue Richards go on a second honeymoon to repair their relationship.  Filling the void on the team are the Black Panther and Storm who were recently married and need somewhere to stay after the destruction of the Wakandan embassy in New York. 

The New FF's first mission is to find the body of the deceased young hero Gravity who gave his life saving several heroes from The Stranger.  Epoch has stolen his body for some cosmic reason, but is in danger of being devoured by Galactus!  Can the new team face down two heralds of Galactus and the Planet Devourer himself to discover Gravity's fate?

Meanwhile the vacationing Richards discover a mysterious space artifact with clues to a universal crisis.  Reed investigates leaving Sue open for attack by the new Frightful Four.  Can the new team and Reed save her before the Wizard can exact bloodthirsty revenge?

The artifact gives clues to a rift in space-time threatening Eternity's life (and therefore the universe).  Only Dr. Strange, the New FF, and the recently resurrected hero Gravity can save the day. 

Pros: Michael Turner covers for all issues are really dynamic, Pelletier's art is solid (reminiscent of Alan Davis), McDuffie's Panther is spot on with tremendous intelligence and strength, great colors by Mounts, great battle/confrontation with the Frightful Four

Cons: Attempt to build up Gravity into a meaningful character seems forced, McDuffie's interpersonal dialogue with the team didn't always click, space adventures with environment wristbands just seemed too impossible (having the Torch wear several so he could ignite in space? come on), Storm can use her weather powers in space?

Mike Tells It Straight: McDuffie doesn't do cosmic is the lesson learned here.  While the overall storylines were epic, action-packed and enjoyable it felt like everything just didn't mesh completely.  McDuffie unflinchingly went for the all-out epic stories and hoped all the pieces would fall into place.  My only nagging question: why did Gravity keep showing up?

TO BUY and Recommendations: