So, if all has gone according to plan, this will be my first review on The Geek Initiative, so to readers of that blog who haven’t read my reviews yet: Hello, I’m Wes and I review comics. And as such, if this is my first review on a new site, it seems poetic that we review an issue from Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four.
A lot has been happening with the FF lately. Creatures that originated from Franklin Richards’ dimension broke free from the Baxter building and ran amok in New York City, The Human Torch lost his powers, and finally, to add insult to injury, the FF were put on trial for… pretty much everything, resulting in Sue and Reed having their children taken away from them. So, naturally, it’s been a rough time for our heroes.
I should also probably mention before I begin that this issue is also a tie-in to Marvel’s event comic, Original Sin. I haven’t been reading Original Sin but from what I’ve been able to piece together, The Watcher has been murdered for some reason that’s caused a lot of people to have weird visions or something. This will become relevant later on.
Synopsis (Note: Spoilers Ahead)
We open with a very distraught Fantastic Four flying home from the trial in the Fantasticar. The Thing, hoping to give the struggling Reed and Sue some alone time, goes off, apparently hoping for some alone time of his own.
The rest of the team arrives at the Baxter building to find Captain America and the Avengers waiting for them. Cap tells them that on behalf of everyone assembled here, we’re sorry. Reed thanks them for their show of solidarity, but Cap corrects him saying that what they’re actually sorry for is the fact that they’re under orders not to allow them back into the Baxter building. This finally sends Sue over the edge, causing her to release a massive burst of energy that knocks everyone present off their feet, including the Hulk.
Meanwhile, at Camp Hammond, the place where the children the FF have been caring for have been placed, the children are all crying because their friend and babysitter, the robotic Dragon Man, has been taken away. Jim Hammond, the original Android Human Torch arrives and, as an android himself, is sympathetic to Dragon Man’s plight and agrees to do what he can to help the children and their friend.
Cut to two days later: Ben Grimm arrives at the home of Johnny Storm, apparently pissed as all hell. He claims that he knows what Johnny did and tells him never to call him a friend ever again. Johnny has no idea what he’s talking about so Ben explains.
This is where the tie in to Original Sin comes in. Ben says that he was there when the Watcher was murdered, and when it happened, he got a strange vision of the past. Apparently, Reed found a way to turn Ben back to normal, but Johnny seems to have done something to the machine that caused Ben to mutate erratically. The comic ends here.
The beginning of this series billed it as the end of the Fantastic Four, a story of the FF reaching their lowest point and this issue definitely does a good job capturing the emotion that would entail. Everyone seems defeated, crushed and destroyed emotionally. It’s really well written and allows the reader to truly feel the emotional weight of the situation.
I especially like Sue’s outburst. While it isn’t the first time we’ve seen a superhero lose it like that, the situation is relatable as I’m sure everyone has been at a point where the weight of all the stress in their lives finally collapses on top of them and they just snap. Also, I’m glad that the front cover seems to have decided to spell out Fantastic Four properly for once as opposed to that really stupid Fantfourstic spelling they had before.
While I did like the bit with Jim Hammond sympathizing with the plight of fellow androids, it wasn’t very long and a little too heavy-handed for my taste. As far as the Original Sin stuff is concerned, I found it mostly confusing. I know I said that Johnny did something to the machine, it really isn’t made obvious so I’m honestly not sure if he did or not. It felt very tacked on. I feel it would have been better as an opening to the next issue instead of a cliffhanger for this one.
This issue was kind of a mixed bag. It had excellent character moments thrown in with confusing or just plain unnecessary plot elements. Overall, not bad, but could have done with another once over by the editor.