Fantastic Four #1

by BradBabendir on November 16, 2012

            Fantastic Four #1 is a very odd book, and that seems to be about the theme that the Marvel NOW! titles come with. With new writers starting new runs on different books, it’s only natural that they’ll have the inkling to shake things up a bit more than usual, and I respect that.

            But this book, and again, very similar to a host of Marvel NOW! releases, was all over the place (as was Thor’s #1 issue). We bounced back and forth from many different points in time and character point of views and it was hard to follow when reading. The book wasn’t at all boring and Matt Fraction seems to be setting himself up very well for a strong pairing between this title as well as FF, and he undoubtedly did a good job of planting multiple openings through which to explore characters and take the plot, but this book simply does not stand alone well.

            I know that being a singular work isn’t the primary goal of individual releases, but I still expect to feel some sense of fulfillment when I shut an issue, and this didn’t give me that, nor did it seem very interested in doing so.

            Fraction is working with a big name in the universe, so he gets the opportunity to do this a couple times. People are going to keep coming back because it’s the Fantastic Four and people want to read the book no matter what, but it’s still important to understand that, eventually, you have to start leaving something at the end. All Fraction did this issue was plant a lot of seeds. And he planted a whole lot of seeds. There are myriad was that he can continue this plot in a logical fashion, and in all honesty, he may have put in too many facets for him to handle. But the point is that eventually the seeds need to grow to something, and it’s a very worrisome thing when things are only started and nothing is finished.

            Right now, it’s okay and I liked the book. The art was evocative and expressive and played well with Fraction, and the dialogue was tight and compelling. The ending wasn’t really there, but again, it’s a #1 issue and I’ll let it go. What he didn’t do, and maybe he doesn’t care, is much of anything to rope in people who didn’t already like Fantastic Four. In fact, I’d imagine it would be a pretty rough dive for somebody who hadn’t read much of the team before.

            All of the issues are definitely things that time can iron out, but for now, I remain hopeful but skeptical. It’s a good base, but it could easily go either way. If Fraction keeps his head in the game, this could be a fantastic book. If he doesn’t, it’s a disaster. And he appears to be walking a very fine line.

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