‘Fantastic Four Life Story’ #4 covers the nineties in rather upbeat fashion. Well, that is until the Silver Surfer makes an appearance. And where the Silver Surfer goes, so too does Galactus.
We get to the ‘90s in this issue and some of the Fantastic Four are certainly looking their age. Some more than other. Particularly Reed Richards. But with the powers of elasticity at his disposal he can easily shave off the years with a quick early morning self-applied facial massage. Although Sue has certainly aged well, but not as well as the ever-loving blue eyed Thing who hasn’t seemed to age one iota since being transformed by cosmic rays.
And it’s the Thing that narrates this issue and remains a big focus throughout too. An issue that takes no time to fill us in on the intervening years since the last issue, with the action starting in the mid-‘90s when grunge and punk ruled the airwaves and the fashion of the ear too. Sue has long since parted ways with Namor, and Reed is still obsessed with the coming of Galactus, but at least we get a sniff of the Devourer of Worlds in this issue. Or at least his herald, the Silver Surfer.
Considering we witnessed Johnny Storm’s death last time round, Mark Russell instills this issue with a rather upbeat tempo. The Thing seems to have finally made peace with himself and even started dating a certain Alicia Masters who is rather incongruously presented in this issue, I have to say. When first we meet her she seems of a similar age to the FF; middle aged. But at other times she seems far younger. I’m assuming that’s due the swap round of artists during the run of this issue. While Sean Issakse is the lead artist he is aided and abetted by Francesco Manna. A great choice, as the change is mostly unnoticeable, offering the reader a smooth, consistent reading experience expect for this one minor distraction.
But the main event – well, other than Franklin Richards wedding, I suppose – has to surely be the entrance of the Silver Surfer. a far spikier version that that of the 616. His entrance is nothing short of spectacular as he bursts from the page courtesy of the stellar artwork of Isaakse. In this comic his explosive first appearance is emblazoned with a cosmic array of colours that help herald his arrival in style. The colouring of Nolan Woodward in this particular scene contrasts hugely with the more subdued colours of Earth and really brings the fireworks and drama to this double page spread. No-one can miss this guy coming.
But, with the coming of the Silver Surfer, the inevitable is now nigh upon us. An event this whole series has been building up to issue by issue. Not only has Russell shown he can juggle the complex dynamics of the Fantastic Four’s domestic trials and tribulations but he certainly knows how to builds up dramatic tension too worthy of a foe like Galactus. A character who I felt was overused in recent years as writer after writer expanded his backstory, origin and more. But here in the decluttered out of continuity story Galactus is once more an imposing, seldom seen figure. Well, until the grand finale next issue as the FF enter the 21st century and must face the toughest challenge of their lives!
Fantastic Four Life Story #4 is out now from Marvel Comics