In many ways, Fantastic Four #22 is the quintessential Marvel comic book. Not only does it have Marvel’s premier super group, but it throws into this Empyre tie-in so many tropes and tricks that Marvel fans have lapped up over the decades making this a real fun read, even though the first part of this crossover had me doubting its necessity.
Well, thanks to some dynamic writing by Dan Slott and even more dynamic artwork from Paco Medina and Sean Izaakse – both delivering some of the most amazingly choreographed and illustrated fight scenes across this acton-fuelled issue – this tie-in just got much more interesting, and the promise made on the cover of last month’s issue is finally realised as Wolverine and Spider-Man both eventually climb into their FF suits. Although, the promise made on the cover of this issue is a rather interesting one, but the payoff is a great and specific example of Slott’s engaging and entertaining writing that keeps us readers on our toes.
All the while, Slott also throws in an elite Cotati fighting force onto the dark New York that will have you reminded of the Hand immediately. Although their vegetive powers make them far more deadly than the Hand, and they puts up a more than decent attack on Wolvie, Spider, Val and Franklin. Plus it’s great seeing Wolverine back in the brown and tan suit I grew up with. See what I can about this being the quintessential Marvel comic? A vegetable version of The Hand, classic Wolverine, callbacks to times when others have donned the mantle of the Fanatics Four, battles on the mean streets of New York… it really is all in there, including some wisecracking dialogue from your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man too. Slott has always had an ear for this kind of speech, and it simply adds a more rounded edge to the roughhouse action on display and keeps this book as bright and breezy as it can be. Even at its darkest, the Fantastic Four always seen to find the slightest glimpse of optimism. It’s as much a driving force behind this team as their individual powers and Reed and Val’s big brains.
The main core book, Empyre, may not be my personal cup of tea, but I did enjoy this issue of the Fantastic Four and while I still think tie-ins are often cheap gimmicks that I am sure most writers would rather live without, in this case Slott has made it count. Especially when this issue includes a great recognition of Reed’s kids’ growing maturity and responsibilities from their dad, which adds yet another welcome plot development to proceedings.
Fantastic Four #22 is out now from Marvel Comics