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"All-New Marvel Now!" Review: "Fantastic Four" #1!

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"Fantastic Four" has a lot of charm, and some great artwork to match. The only issue with this issue is that you're jumping onto a moving train story-wise. Maybe a moving Fantasticar.

RECAP:

As the book opens, Invisible Woman Sue Richards is writing a letter to her children. Apparently, things have gone bad. Mr. Fantastic Reed Richards has lost his intellect and struggling to get it back. The Thing is in prison for murder, thanks to Reed's testimony. Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, seems to be drowning his sorrows at a dangerous rate. Sue flies off, heartbroken?

How did it get this way? We flashback to the Four fighting Fin Fang Foom in Manhattan, using teamwork and skill to subdue him and hand him over to SHIELD. Reed wonders why Foom was rampaging mindlessly, and Nick Fury Jr. say not to overthink it.

That night, we get caught up on the status quo slightly; the Richards' daughter Valeria is in Latveria, after a disagreement with her parents. Sue wants to go get her, but Reed tells her she'll forgive them and come back. After a distraction from the Future Foundation and a Death-By-Chocolate Ray, the two go off to bed. The Thing meets up with his old flame Alicia Masters, and after a quick talk they decide to start dating again in an official capacity. Johnny meets with his manager and agrees to not take any detours off-world or off-dimension while he's on tour with his band.

Everything seems to be going well, but deep in Reed's lab, a restricted lock to Gateway F busts open. A flood of gargoyle-looking aliens comes pouring out, and the top of the Baxter Building goes up in an explosion. Continued!

REVIEW:

I have the same complain I did with the new "Wolverine" series, and that's that this is not a "First Issue" in the traditional sense. There is definitely a new direction happening here, but there's references to being off-world, and whatever happened with Valeria. I'm not just saying "whatever happened" because I'm reviewing this from the mindset of someone just coming on the book, I don't read "Fantastic Four" regularly so I don't know what happened.

The question is whether or not that's for the devoted buyers or something that will affect the direction of the book. Writer James Robinson clearly has a plan for the Four going forward, so it's anybody's guess if that'll be a major part of it. He does do an excellent job of making a seemingly average day for the family seem sinister; is Fin Fang Foom related to Reed's newfound lack of super-intelligence? Does The Thing murder Alicia? Is Johnny going to party like a rockstar? These things don't seem related, and yet...

Clearly Robinson is going to focus more on the family and less on the super-science aspect of the book, showing us what could happen to a usually tight-knit family to tear them apart. It's an interesting concept, but we're joining somewhat in progress, so this issue almost feels like it isn't for me, the new reader. Which is a shame, because it looks amazing. Leonard Kirk makes everyone look distinct, the panels capture moments and convey action at the same time, and even the two "dragons" in the book look either menacing or paternal, depending on the needs.

Bottom line, this book looks great, has action, and it's charming. I like it, I want to keep reading it, but where is the new reader in it? It's time to either get on Wikipedia or Comixology, or hope that the second issue bring us in more. If you just happened to get "Fantastic Four" on a whim, they may not suit you. If you're a diehard, or a more patient fan who enjoys stories about family, you could enjoy your time with this book. After all, you probably have a family of your own, so you know patience.

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