Following up what I call one of the best three runs on Fantastic Four ever (Kirby/Lee, Byrne and Hickman for those keeping score at home), we have Matt Fraction penning both Fantastic Four and the FF titles. I have to admit I was expecting to be let down. It’s near impossible to follow up excellence with excellence. (Those types of things are left to the Niners and the Packers) But none the less, plenty of my fellow collectors stated I would not be let down and that I have to patient and let Fraction do his thing. So I did. Six issues and an Age Of Ultron later, we finally have some goodness to talk about.
What I’m talking about:
Fantastic Four Vol 4 #1-6
FF Vol 2 #1-5
The High: Fantastic Four #6 is by far and away the highpoint of either of the Fantastic Four titles thus far. Its a single self contained story. Our story flings us away from the the FF for a moment and places us as a bystander to an ominous council of deities reprimanding a chained and shackled being, whom is prevented from speaking for itself. The punishment? To be the very first being to die at the beginning of all life. Fast forward to the present (or I guess back to the past? time travel can be confusing) and we have the Fantastic Four showing up just minutes before the big bang. They spot an astroid floating in space with said prisoner shackled to it. With the Fantastic Four being the FF we know and love… they reach out to save the prisoner. (bad move) Upon freeing the prisoner from it’s shackles, the FF are faced with an enemy from their past… in the past… who is just as surprised to see them, as they are to see him. The foe exclaims that he has walked on their graves, just before he starts tearing them and the ship apart. The fight ensues and their ship gets severely damaged. The Family manages to get the prisoner off their ship just in time to flee the Big Bang and his demise.
This issue of Fantastic Four is pretty damn cool. I sure hope the series starts to pick and get better. Beyond this issue though, the book has been rather bland.
Outside of that single issue, the next best thing about these two titles is Mike Allred’s art on FF. Simply fucking beautiful! The FF team is a haphazard group of misfit-like superheroes, essentially Fantastic Four B team and his style perfectly matches that mood and theme. I would pick up a Mike Allred She-Hulk title in a heart beat.
The Low: The biggest problem I have with both of these titles is that they move entirely too slow and as a result, they both tend to be boring. I’m shelling out $3 a month for each book without any major payout. I’ve been reading since issue one and the best issue so far came in issue 6, and it was stand alone. I question why I tolerated the previous 5 months of books. I want a monthly return on investment, not a bi-annual one. All my LCS friends told me to be patient and let Matt do his thing. Fantastic Four #6 was good, but all in all, too little, too late.
Speaking of poor ROI. Something that totally confused the shit out of me. The Age of Ultron tie-ins. They are issues in the volume of the current title… and yet they are not. I never committed Fantastic Four to my pull-list (and won’t), so I grab it off the shelf. I snatched up Fantastic Four #5, but wait… its not #5 its #5AU. (whatever that means) It is essentially an Age of Ultron tie-in. BUT WAIT. Fantastic Four #5AU is not Fantastic Four #5. (WTF?) (I actually missed picking up #5 because of this) The proper order goes something like this: First we have issue #5 where the family has time traveled to ancient Rome, followed by issue #5AU where we have Reed and group dying during the Age of Ultron battle and then finally issue #6 has them all alive and intact to bare witness to the Big Bang. What the… I guess the answer is… time travel? (shrugs)
Until Next Time… I hate it when they mess with the issue number. In this instance I actually missed an issue because of it. DC is going to be doing it too, come this September with Villains Month, and they too will utilize the dot one numbering scheme. (Whatever) Pissy fanboy bitch or not, hit me up on twitter and/or check out our twitter, facebook or google+ page and let me know what you think.