REVIEW: ‘Fantastic Four,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Fantastic Four #1

Fantastic Four #1 is written by Ryan North, illustrated by Iban Coello, colored by Jesus Aburtov, and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna. It’s published by Marvel Comics. “The Last Town On The Left” finds Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, attempting to take a vacation with his wife, Alicia Masters-Grimm. They end up in the small town of Cedar, but strange happenings put a crimp in their hotel plans. A mysterious event happened on July 12, 1947, that keeps the town in a time loop – forced to relive the same day over and over. Ben and Alicia attempt to solve the mystery behind the time loop while also staying alive, as people obviously don’t take too kindly to his rocky visage.

Every Fantastic Four story, in this writer’s humble opinion, should have two elements. The first is the “Fantastic” part, as the First Family’s adventures have pitted them against all manner of threats while often testing the boundaries of time and space. The second is the “Four” part. More than anything else, the Fantastic Four are a family first and superheroes second. North perfectly captures both of those elements in his script, putting a sci-fi twist on the classic “road trip” story while also using it as a vehicle for Ben & Alicia to work out their grief over their missing children. North also pens a passionate letter at the end of the issue that more or less convinced me he’s the right man for the job; he GETS the Four in a way few other writers do.

And he’s paired with a great artist in the form of Coello. The same sense of frenetic kineticism that powered Coello’s work on Venom and Dark Ages is present throughout the issue, especially in a sequence where the Cedar residents try and ram Ben with their truck. Slight spoiler alert: it doesn’t turn out too well for the truck. Coello also has a great grasp of proportions, especially when it comes to drawing Ben and Alicia. Ben looks every bit like the walking, talking mountain of stone that fans have come to know and love, while Alicia looks positively tiny in comparison. And since this story deals with a time loop, Coello has plenty of chances to depict the flow of time, with one sequence that will shatter hearts near the end.

Aburtov brings a wide array of colors to the mix, depending on the setting. Nighttime brings a cool blue sky, with the moon glowing in the distance. The daytime is warm and sunny, with golden rays shining down upon Cedar. Even Ben and Alicia have different colored wardrobes; he wears mostly gray hoodies that offset his rocky orange skin, while she wears a variety of bright yellows and pinks. The color also seeps into Caramagna’s lettering. When a boy sees Ben in all his rocky glory, his high-pitched scream turns blood red, leaving a chilling effect.

Fantastic Four #1 begins a new era for the First Family by tapping into the elements that make them an iconic team. With future issues set to focus on the other members of the Four, and a jaw-dropper of a final page, it’s safe to say that the creative team isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to their approach to the title.

Fantastic Four #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Fantastic Four #1
5

TL;DR

Fantastic Four #1 begins a new era for the First Family by tapping into the elements that make them an iconic team. With future issues set to focus on the other members of the Four, and a jaw-dropper of a final page, it’s safe to say that the creative team isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to their approach to the title.

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