Review: ‘Fantastic Four’ #21 Interrupts Your Regularly Scheduled Family Saga With An Unnecessary ‘Empyre’ Tie-In

by Olly MacNamee

And so we have our first Empyre tie-in, and another break to normal services. Marvel are nothing if not persistent, and while Fantastic Four #21 contains enough of that Dan Slott brand sass, with characters wisecracking at one another throughout this issue, Unfortunately, this comic has to serve a greater cause, the Marvel summer cross-over, and so we get a drawn out fight in the streets of New York when the two Skrull/Kree kids picked up by Marvel’s first family in Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 go at it.

What I am grateful for, however, is that Fantastic Four seems to have finally found a regular artistic team in Paco Medina and Sean Izaakse, who I’ve really enjoyed on this book, even though they came on at a time when I felt their adventures in space were not a high point on this thus-far fun relaunch. With this tie-in issue, I feel I am once again robbed of the opportunity to see more of the saga Slott wants to write. 
There are some cross-overs that offer up great tie-ins, while there are others. – like Secret Wars II – that are tenuously tied in at best. This is a bit of both. I know we’re are meant to recognise that these two little kids, N’Kalla and Jo-Venn, will become important components in this unfolding space-faring saga, but they just come across as yet another set of spoilt, misunderstood kids, and the FF already have those in spades in Val and Franklin. That, and the revelation of a Buddhist-like order who worship plant life shoe-horned in to make some sense of the threat posed by the Cotati – revealed to be the true threat behind Empyre – and you have an issue that seems to be steered by editorial demand rather than creativity. The promise of Wolverine and Spider-Man in their FF threads isn’t even realised, although there is a fun visual gag included involving Logan and Petey that reminds you even in a dull issue like this, there’s alway something from Slott to keep you smiling. But, with this threatening to be at least a two-parter, I ain’t smiling now. I just want my Fantastic Four back and fighting the likes of Psycho-man, Dr Doom or even Diablo. Anything but these interruptions to our regularly scheduled program.
Fantastic Four #21 is available now from Marvel.

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