FANTASTIC FOUR #18
Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Paco Medina, Francesco Manna & Carlos Magno
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Art: Nick Bradshaw & John Rauch
Rating: 8/10 Soul Bond Bangles
The current run of Fantastic Four has been a pretty fun ride so far. We got the return of the missing half of Marvel’s First Family. Classic confrontations with Doctor Doom. Fun family hijinks on Yancy Street, and even the wedding of The Thing. What I wasn’t expecting though, was a revisit to what started it all for these four that would lead to a revelation that changes so much. What do you do when you discover your entire origin story was never an accident? Dan Slott gives us the fallout of that reveal in this issue. Careful of cosmic spoiler rays.
It was awfully nice of Slott to make sure Reed Richards didn’t leave a scientific endeavor unfinished, with the family rocketing off to their original destination before that crazy cosmic storm got them all sorts of messed up. Our reveal last issue that this was intentionally done by the Seer, the leader of the planet Spyre, out of fear of trespassers to his home world was a shock. Even more so when Mr. Fantastic does the “smart thing” and shouts this out in the middle of a three-way brawl between the rest of the family, the planet’s “heroes,” and the monsters that came from failed attempts to be transformed by the very same cosmic rays. The results are definitely not a crowd-pleaser.
I am never against a small tweak to an origin change such as this one and I feel like Slott found a great execution for it. It doesn’t take away from the original origin but adds another layer while also paying off what the characters set out to do. The fallout of this revelation to the citizens of Spyre is engaging. I felt amped up to see how most of the major players introduced would react and even more surprised when a few more reveals came up after. The real weight though from this reveal came from Ben Grimm. Of all the characters to be affected by this, Slott changed my reading experience from a casual “looking forward to enjoying another fun read of Fantastic Four” to “Oh *&#@!” as we see all of Ben’s anger, sadness, resentment… basically every bad feeling he had at Reed and at what he became resurfaced and directed at the real person responsible.
Consistently a solid read, Fantastic Four just kicked things up a notch with this revelation to the Fantastic Four’s origin. I can’t say I know the strengths or limitations of Slott as his writing for this series continues to be one of my favorites and doesn’t see to be slowing down. Medina and Manna’s art were great and blended beautifully (almost couldn’t tell them apart), and their transition into Magno’s art was all perfectly kept together in style thanks to Arciniega’s colors. If you haven’t been reading Fantastic Four already, I highly recommend picking up issue #13 where Point of Origin begins and get ready for a fantastic future ahead for this series!