Graphic Novel Review: Fantastic Four: Fourever

Fantastic Four: Fourever

Fantastic Four: Fourever - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

In the wake of the reality-warping Secret Wars, the world mourned the loss of Reed and Sue Richards and their family. The Fantastic Four were no more, and surviving members Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm were left broken and bereft by their passing.

But rather than perishing in the conflict, the Richards clan, and their colleagues in the teen thinktank known as the Future Foundation, have actually been exploring the multiverse, with years passing for them while only a few months have gone by on Earth.

Now a new threat has emerged which will not only see the long-awaited return of the Fantastic Four, but will require the help of every superhero who has ever joined their ranks, including the likes of Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Luke Cage, Medusa, She-Hulk and the Black Panther… Plus unexpected appearances from Iceman and an apparently dead Wolverine.

But will the combined forces of the complete Fantastic Four be enough to destroy the Griever at the End of All Things before she lays waste to untold universes?

Fresh from a record-breaking run on the Amazing Spider-Man, writer Dan Slott was tasked with the unenviable job of resurrecting the FF after years in comics limbo. Marvel’s first family had gone on an extended hiatus allegedly because of behind-the-scenes wranglings over movie rights. With the House of Ideas’ studios now back in control, the time was perfect for their long-awaited return.

There is an awareness throughout the opening instalments of this collection just how important the FF are to the Marvel Universe, and the void they left behind when half of their members vanished. Slott wisely plays on the metafictional aspects of the team’s absence from comics since the start of 2016 and uses it to great success within his narrative.

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The cast of this title are so well-established that they almost write themselves, so rather than reinvent these Stan Lee/Jack Kirby archetypes Slott focuses on the extraordinary events around them and the reactions of those people who encounter the Fantastic Four in one way or another. It’s a formula which previous writers have used with great success, and it’s evident from this first storyline that we should be in for an epic ride at the hands of this latest scribe.