In ‘Fantastic Four’#25 by Dan Slott and R B Silva we get a status-changing issue that wonderfully sets up adventures for future issues. There is loss, there are secrets revealed and there is the return of Doctor Doom too. A family-centric issue that has more than its fair share of dynamic drama and family operatics. A great issue all round and a worthy jump-on pint if you aren’t yet reading this titanic title! Excelsior!
What with so many debut issues coming out from Marvel these days, any one of their comic books to get to issue number twenty-five is something of a celebration. And so Fantastic Four #25 was an oversized issue that sets up the next chapter in Dan Slott’s ongoing family saga with the introduction of a very powerful device where once the Baxter Building stood. But not before a super powerful alien comes calling looking for… well, that is never revealed, although this traveller from the stars certainly leaves a lasting impression on Earth and Marvel’s first family. As such, his presence on Earth is the catalyst for much of the long-lasting, status-changing events in this issue. Events that I cannot really go into without spoiling the book for anyone who has yet to tread it. Needless to say, this issue is both revelatory and a scene setter for future stories to come. A prologue to further adventures, but one does with style and that great streak of warm humour I have come to expect from Slott on this enjoyable and entertaining book.
We also get the rightful return of Doctor Doom to the fore, as he is drawn into the latest crisis to hit New York City. That and artwork by R B Silva that evokes the classicism of Jack Kirby while maintaining its own unique style too. A style that reminds readers that the Fantastic Four are one of Marvel’s premium books, even though that hasn’t always been the case. Having an artist of Silva’s stature on this title is a huge endorsement for this book.
A particular panel that best sums up Silva’s stand-out style – in a book of outstanding art – comes when Franklin Richards attempts to take on the all-powerful alien visitor in a shower of Kirby crackling that washes across the double-page spread like the release of a supercharged bomb. A great example of a contemporary style paying homage to the Fantastic Four’s amazing artistic legacy without losing one’s own style. Slott continues to be blessed with some of the greatest comic book artists working at Marvel today.
It’s also a book that spends a lot of time focusing on families, as you’d expect. After all, it’s what this book is really about after all. The biological family of Sue and Reed Richards as well as the newly formed family of the Grimms, with their adoption of the two Empyre survivors Nicki and Jo. And, with families comes both sadness and happiness. And, in Franklin’s case, there is a great sadness for him after his attack on the alien.
In any family there is always tension too. Although, I doubt the tension in most families comes from the secret undercover work Sue Storm is doing for Nick Fury or the secrets Reed is hiding from her. Still, they both seem to get over it quickly enough with the promising of no more secrets. Well, until the next time, that is.
Meanwhile, we get an update on the current status of both the Watcher and Nick Fury Sr. on the dark side of the moon in a back up strip that adds further to the set up of future storylines.
All in all this book was a reminder, for this particular reader, of what great fun the Fantastic Four is at its best. Wise-cracking dialogue continues to full the book and it’s a real selling point for me, which is only accentuated by the artwork in this issue. Kiby and Lee’s historical run on this book will always be the best, while many like myself (and I suspect Slott too) have a great fondness of the groundbreaking work of John Byrne too. Hell, there’s even the more recent Hickman run that is also lauded. But, not many others stand out as stone-cold classics. Something tells me, however, that when Slott is done with this book (and, I doubt it’ll be any time soon, do you?) I reckon it too will go down as one of the better runs of the book too. Here’s to at least 25 more issues! I can’t wait to see where Slott seeds them next, especially after the introduction of a device that can take them anywhere they wish. Looks like the next phase in Slott’s masterplan could well take them into other dimensions; something we haven’t seen too much of yet. After all, their adventures in the Negative Zone and other such dimensions are as big a part of their history as fighting against Doom or exploring space. And, an area that Slott hasn’t covered too much of so far. Will Annihulus feature in future plans for the FF I wonder? And, if time will tell, I’m not going anywhere as I’m enjoying this book far too much.
Fantastic Four #25 is available now from Marvel Comics