Written by: Ran North
Art by: Iban Coello
Colors by: Jesus Aburtov
Letters by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover art by: Alex Ross
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: November 9, 2022
Fantastic Four #1 takes a road trip with Ben and Alicia for a romantic getaway. Unfortunately, their latest roadside stop leads to a town that shouldn’t exist.
Is It Good?
Fans of the Fantastic Four will either love Fantastic Four #1 from Ryan North, or they will hate it. There are probably not going to be many readers who fall in between.
Unsurprisingly for a #1, Fantastic Four #1 restarts the series after Dan Slott’s wildly uneven take. According to North’s own words in a letter at the end of the issue, he wanted the FF to be “fun,” “adventurous,” and “accessible.” Technically, North succeeds on all counts, so if you take the issue for what it is without an ounce of expectation, this is a nice, safe, family-friendly adventure.
However, this is not an FF adventure. Specifically, this is a Scooby-Doo adventure starring Ben and Alicia. North’s script centers on Ben and Alicia taking a couple’s road trip vacation. During a stop in Pennsylvania, they stop at a small motel in a town that doesn’t show up on a map. They soon learn the town is stuck in a time loop, Groundhog Day-style, for the last 75 years, so with a hearty “Jinkies!” and a “Scooby Dooby Doo!”, Ben and Alicia set out to solve the mystery.
Again, this is a nice, safe, family-friendly adventure, but therein lies the problem. This isn’t a Fantastic Four comic. It’s an extended backup story, or if you prefer, a YA Scholastic adventure for the middle-grade crowd starring the Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing. If the goal was to reset the FF title with a bang, North’s choice of stories fails miserably.
There is a slight exception to the YA critique, which may cause excitement or concern. At the very end of the issue, Ben casually drops that NYC now hates the FF due to some undefined event that left a massive crater in the middle of the city. This should sound very familiar if you’re reading Zeb Wells’s Amazing Spider-Man run. In ASM, Wells casually dropped the info about a cataclysmic event occurring in Pennsylvania in issue #1 but has yet to refer back to it since, and ASM is now on issue #13, leading to much dissatisfaction among readers. If the FF editorial takes cues from the ASM creative team, FF could be off to a rocky (no pun intended, Ben) start.
Coello and Aburtov’s art looks great, so visually this is a fantastic (again, no pun intended issue) looking issue.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
Fantastic Four #1 is a bizarre way to start the series. It’s not a FF comic but a Scooby Doo-style adventure in Pennsylvania starring Ben and Alicia. The story has all the wholesome charm of a YA adventure but lacks any sense of danger or drama. It’s unclear why Ryan North chose to kick off a FF reboot without the Fantastic Four, but here we are.