Fantastic Four #39 is a great courtroom drama from start to finish. Slott knows the tropes of this genre very well from his time on ‘She-Hulk’ but he can still find new ways of surprising the readers. A high-stakes issue with Slott’s wry wit making an appearance from time to time to deflate the melodrama and remind us of the joy comics can be. Even when fighting over the custody of a kid!
It’s round two of the court case brought against the Fantastic Four by the Wizard in his attempts to regain custody of Bentley, his clone. And Marvel’s first family are most definitley on the back foot based on the proceedings of last issue. Furthermore, after Jennifer Walter’s performance I’m not too sure I’d want her as my counsel any time soon. But, how does she and her clients fair this issue? Well, based on the events writer Dan Slott’s allows to unfold, the jury’s still out on the She-Hulk’s skills. Especially when it’s Bentley who comes to the rescue in the end and not She-Hulk’s courtroom strategy. But, even she is a lawyer, I dare say she’ll take the credit. Indeed, if not for Bentley-23, I’d say the Wizard was actually ahead. Hmmm, maybe he should consider a career change? I mean, have you seen how much a kick-ass lawyer with no moral compass can make? Just ask O.J. Simpson’s defence team.
Although this vital courtroom drama isn’t the only drama in Fantastic Four #39. The Human Torch is having a major meltdown of his own when he throws his toys out of the pram and storms off in an alright huff because he isn’t Reed’s number one priority. And in his trademark hot-headed way, he only causes more grief before coming to his senses.
But, at the heart of this issue is the court room drama. And, as is often the case with such narratives, a very important last minute witness is called forth. Thanks to Bentley and his brain. And it’s one you will not see coming but certainly surprised and delighted this reader. A witness that turned the whole case on its head and one I have to commend Slott for. Well done that man. And doubly well done with the twist within the twist that’s deliciously revealed at the end of this issue. In both surprising and filling the readers in just a few pages, Slott proves why Marvel love him so much. And why I’ve enjoyed his run on this title too. It;s one of the very few Marvel titles I still pick up each month.
Thankfully, with Francesco Manna proving the art once more we have anther issue that is stylistically consistent with recent issues. And Manna is certainly a good replacement for R.B. Silva. But, what Manna does bring to the party is a slightly more cartoonish take on some of the facial expressions on display, but all to better get across the pithy humour of Slott’s scripts.
Jesus Aburtov delivers on the colour art too, with the many various recounted scenes by the numerable interviewees taking the stand coloured differently depending on who’s speaking. It’s an effective style choice and with the more muted colours use to outline the characters in these scenes helps differentiate them from the present.
And, hats off again to letterer Joe Caramanga who manages to letterer an oft-times heavily dialogued script against oft-times crowded panels. The end results are definitley not obtrusive but rather helps the plot flow.
Fantastic Four #39 may not be the most action-packed issue on the stand, but it’s certainly one of the more enjoyable ones out this week, and out now from Marvel Comics.