Written by: Gerry Duggan
Art by: Ron Garney
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: Februaruy, 26th, 2020
Ben Grimm, The Thing, his life is hard enough having to live with the fact that he will never really be human again, but now he’s suffering from a recurring nightmare. Or is has he always been living it?
Gerry Duggan was spot on with the tone of this book to really get that Noir feel, unfortunately the title is a bit misleading. Noir is a genre that is heavily connected with criminal acts, detective work. Real Dick Tracey stuff. Duggan brings that into this book, but not enough to name the book after it though. Ben does investigate this nightmare he is having, and it ultimately leads him to the antagonist of the issue, but from then on, the issue fits more into a doctor strange book or even in a stand alone Fantastic Four book. Slapping this one-shot with a $4.99 price tag and selling it as something new and entirely different, just feels wrong.
Although I disagree with Marvel’s notion to sell this book as a random one-shot, it was a gorgeous book. Matt Milla’s flat color pallet alone could sell this book regardless of the title. But of course Matt wouldn’t have had anything to color if it weren’t for Ron Garney. Garney’s art did have some John Romita Jr panels thoughout this issue, but it was something I could easily move past with how great everything else looked. One panel in particular you can see with the combination of Garney and Matt worked so well together in giving Ben Grimm a reaction full of emotion with just having his eyes in the panel.
I can’t see Grimm Noir getting a second issue or even being planned for a mini series, it plays into the fact that Grimm and Alicia have recently been married which implies that this story would in fact take place in continuity, in which case I would argue against making separate titles for books like this one, because readers rarely take the one-shots over on-going titles. If Duggan took over the Fantastic Four title and gave me this type of writing, I’m fairly certain Fantastic Four’s sales would improve dramatically. Now if Marvel is playing the field for writers to take hold of the FF on-going title, I can give that excuse to reason with why this book is coming out.
There does seem to be something teased at the end of this issue that contradicts my feelings on a mini or on-going story, so my only hope is that it isn’t drawn out too much. Duggan had a simple story here, he moved from point A, all the way through until the end at it all fit perfectly. It was fluid and it didn’t feel too out of the ordinary, but let’s be honest, when is anything not out of the ordinary with the Fantastic Four. We see the sweet and subtle romance of newly weds between Alicia and Ben and I hope that stays constant with Duggan’s storytelling.
Final Thoughts: This book was titled wrong, and it was just for sales, but it was damn good writing. Gerry Duggan needs to be given the chance to write the entire fantastic four. And give Ron and Matt that chance also, beautiful story telling from this creative team. The inception vibes I got from the ending were a bit cliche, but I can move past it.