‘Fantastic Four’ #26 may be an issue of catch-ups and talking heads, but Dan Slott’s snappy banter, quick pace carried to R B Silva’s art will have you entertained and enthralled nonetheless. An issue that sees the return of more than one familiar face, but not all are welcome returns. There’s trouble ahead for at least one meter if the FF.
With the introduction of the Forever Gate last issue offering up the potential for countless dimension-hopping, time-travelling storylines ahead (and something we’ve not seen to much of up till now), you’d think this would have been an all-out action issue of exploration and peril. But, no. We are given another issue of exposition and explanation, but you won’t hear any complaints from me. Not when it’s done with such pace, melodrama and artistic flair.
Fantastic Four #26 gives us Johnny Storm and his soulmate from the stars Sky, heading out to check on other nexuses into other dimensions and a trip to the swamps and a brief encounter with Man-Thing before their recent domestic bliss becomes very strained, very quickly. But then this is Johnny Storm we’re talking about. He’ not the most mature of people when it comes to commitment. Especially as his current relationship feels a little too arranged for my liking.
Meanwhile Sue and Reed face questions from an inquisitive press pack back in New York City. That, and other separate scenes of domestic melodrama pepper this issue. Of course, these days, the Fantastic Four comic book is anything but the story of four adventuring heroes, so it’s not too long until Valeria investigates this new gateway. A girl who seems to have a grip on this whole situation it would seem, judging by her initial journey through the Forever Gate. All this new potential and the end result for Valeria is boy trouble. No matter the reality, here are at least some constants out there, it would seem.
Dan Slott presents another catch-up issue and with such a soap-opera sized cast these days and soap-operatic storylines too, that can take up a lot of comic book real estate. But, in doing so he sows the seeds for so many more storylines and sub-plots for future issues while keeping readers engaged and enthralled with the odd surprise and revelation too. Especially the reappearance of a face from Johnny Storm’s past that no-one would have seen coming and will spell further troubles I have no doubt. The Forever Gate seems to already be paying its way as the latest TARDIS-like gateway the Fantastic Four have domain over. Like I said, it’s a talking heads issue, but one with plenty of spice.
Much like the 90s saw the Big Two purposefully ape the art style of Image Comics founding fathers, there seems to be a real push at Marvel for a new House-style that takes its lead from artist Stuart Immonen. R. B Silva is undeniably one of Marvel’s hot star artists and one of those artists that best reprints Marvel in the here and now. His art was a big draw on the X-Men and its a big part of this titles success too. He would make paint drying look dynamic. This may well be a book that leans into the dialogue a good deal more than the action, but each page is still a sight to behold as Silva lays out even the most mundane of moments with flair. Although, to be fair, even those mundane moments are set against dramatic backdrops. You won’t know it’s just talking heads until it’s too late. Slott has been blessed with great artists all along and its a testament to the place the Fantastic Four once again holds at Marvel.
Another entertaining issue; it may be light on action, but it’s heavy on setting the scene for the next great chapter on the the ongoing family saga that is the Fantastic Four!
Fantastic Four #26 is out now from Marvel