Friday, November 16, 2012

Fantastic Four #1

One big part of the Marvel NOW initiative, at least for me, is switching series from trade to digital. With Marvel raising the price of TPBs to MORE than the single issues combined, it doesn’t make sense to wait for the trade anymore. I won’t be doing it for many books at all after this relaunch. Fantastic Four is one of the books that I was buying in trade, but will now be collecting digitally.

Because of that lag, I’m sort of lost on the exact status quo of the FF. I’ve seen a little of the Future Foundation, but not much. Even so, they seem like a pretty fun bunch of supporting characters. But this is the book focusing on family, and Matt Fraction does a nice job keeping focused.

While fighting a gigantic creature, Mr. Fantastic’s arm gets torn in a pretty gross way. Not only does he get hurt in a fairly normal situation, his arm doesn’t heal the way it should either. This prompts Stretcho to do some more tests, where he realizes that his powers are fading out, and could in fact kill him. Naturally, Reed is worried about the rest of his family, and comes up with a plan to seek out a cure. He also wants some quality family time, so he decides to take the kids along on what should on the educational trip that might just save his life.

Franklin seems a bit younger than I remember. He’s suffering nightmares and doesn’t want to go on the trip. Valeria doesn’t get quite as much screen time, but she’s an alpha character and will get her chance I’m sure.

Mark Bagley’s art is as fresh and dynamic as ever. I’ve been a fan of his work for years, and I remember an issue of FF he guest-pencilled years ago as one of my faves. He’s a perfect fit for the book; I’m hoping he gets to draw a few classic FF foes in addition to all the weird vistas and alien landscapes that will no doubt fill this run.

I do find this new Marvel trend interesting. X-Men, FF, and Captain Marvel all recently launched with first issues that didn't have a direct bad guy. And Red She-Hulk has the lead as the villain! Once there is a true antagonist in this title, I figure the pace should pick up nicely.

So as the Marvel NOW books continue to pour out, I think I’d rank them Uncanny Avengers, Deadpool, Iron Man, Red She-Hulk, Fantastic Four.  No drops on the list yet!


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