Comic Book Series of the Week: Fantastic Four

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"The Fantastic Four," co-created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1961, is what sparked the Golden Age of Marvel. Soon, heroes such as Spider-Man, The Avengers and Daredevil followed.

Parker Otto

With the Fresh Start campaign relaunching several iconic Marvel Comics series, it is fitting that the team which started the Golden Age of Marvel gets a new series. “Fantastic Four” is a great look at Marvel’s first family, and if anyone in Hollywood read a “Fantastic Four” comic, maybe there could be a perfect film adaptation, instead of the abomination of a film from 2015.

Published monthly, the series follows the team of four core members. Reed Richards, or Mr. Fantastic, can stretch his entire body in any direction, and his wife Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, can turn herself invisible and create force fields. Sue’s brother Johnny and Reed’s best friend Ben Grimm round out the group as The Human Torch, who can set himself ablaze and fly, and the Thing, a rock monster with impressive strength.

Fantastic Four 1-4, the first story arc of the comic series, sees Ben and Johnny find Reed and Sue along with their two super-children on a mysterious alien world after Reed and Sue’s apparent deaths a year prior. When the team returns, it feels triumphant to see an iconic group reappear in those iconic blue suits. At the end of issue 2, when all four at last reunite, it reminds one of the amazing 360 degree shot showing all the members of the Avengers preparing for battle in 2012’s “The Avengers.”

At the end of 2018, the series made a landmark issue in “Fantastic Four 5,” which saw the marriage of Ben Grimm and his blind girlfriend Alicia Masters, who loves him for what’s inside. This relationship had been built up since her appearance in “Fantastic Four 8” way back in 1966. Seeing this couple come together in matrimony is a lovely image.

The writing for these characters is what keeps readers coming back for more. Dan Slott, who spent nearly ten years writing for Spider-Man, perfectly encapsulates this group as a family. The bickering of Ben and Johnny is like that of brothers, while Sue and Reed strive to keep the group focused.

Currently, Aaron Kuder is the artist of the series, and his artwork is sensational. His artwork on “Fantastic Four 5” perfectly resembles the artwork of Fantastic Four co-creator Jack Kirby with sharp, dark outlines combined with bright colors. Despite trying to resemble Kirby’s style, the artwork is more smooth due to it being produced digitally.

The most recent issue of the series,Fantastic Four 6, sees a return to form for Marvel with dynamic poses and bright action. It signals the beginning of a three-part story arc, to which the next issue is to be released Feb. 27, and the return of classic villains Doctor Doom and Galactus. In this issue, The Fantastic Four must team up with Doom in his homeland of Latveria to defeat Galactus before he destroys the planet.

“Fantastic Four” ultimately seeks to balance character development with fun action, and it does just that. While the public waits for Hollywood to get its act together and make a good film based on these characters, this comic series reminds the world just how fantastic it is to be a hero.