The Fantastic Four need some downtime after their adventure in Latveria. A Yancy Street block party is in order. But you can’t throw a party without somebody crashing it, so Malekith’s forces turn up uninvited. That’s right. It’s a War of the Realms crossover.
I knew this would happen.
The last issue was strong and exemplified everything the FF should be about. Family, science, adventure. Keep it simple. We don’t need to bring magic into this.
Then this issue stands still and exemplifies everything that’s irritating about mainstream comics. The big summer event comes along and knocks over everybody’s drinks while acting like a loudmouth jerk.
OK, that’s a little unfair — Dan Slott does a fine job of working around the sweater that the publishers made him wear for this month’s issue. The War of the Realms intrusion doesn’t feel shoehorned into proceedings. But it doesn’t exactly fit perfectly either. Somewhere in this issue Dan Slott is doing something incredibly despite it.
Is it the emphasis on Yancy Street and the neighborhood pulling together? Bringing some old-fashioned sense of community back to the Marvel Universe? No. But that’s good too (and I like the effort that this book and Tom Taylor’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man are making in this respect).
Is it the way Slott writes the FF? Giving each character their distinct traits but also not writing Johnny so much as a jerk but more the cool uncle he is? Or how he plays the right amount of genius and father with Reed, making him endear rather than insufferable?
That’s not it… but that is also done well.
No. The most astounding thing Slott tries to do with this issue is to give Franklin Richards complexities, character, and intriguing layers that I can’t ever remember him having before.
Franklin is always written as a typical kid with the godlike potential who more plods than purposefully develop.
Slott writes him with legitimate conflict. You feel for this boy coming out of boyhood and grasping, not only the potential of his power but the fact that he’s losing it slowly as well. He’s noticing that he doesn’t fit in this world and he reacts in an authentic way.
It’s just a shame that Slott doesn’t really get to explore it amidst everything else going on in the book.
Good to see the superstar art team of the last arc has streamlined down four this issue. Paco Medina has really developed as an artist and toned down some of the more cartoony elements to his style. Because of this the character moments and the interactions between family and community really hit their marks.
His work here only reiterates that the last arc, indeed no comic, needs multiple artists for no good reason. Any one of the last arc’s three artists could have shone on their own. Just like Medina thrives here.
I’m just as much a fan of reading about Marvel’s first family at home, around the dinner table or exploring the changing dynamic and meaning of family values as I am a jaunt in the negative zone or on the blue area of the moon. It’s getting this balance right when this book is at its best.