Written by: Ryan North
Art by: Iban Coello
Colors by: Jesus Aburtov
Letters by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover art by: Alex Ross
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: February 15, 2023
Fantastic Four #4 finally delivers the big reveal surrounding the “mystery incident” that created a crater where the Baxter Building once stood and created a rift between the FF members and the public.
Is It Good?
Well, Fantastic Four #4 delivers exactly what was promised – answers. Whether or not FF fans will like the answers, and more importantly, what Ryan North does with those answers will make for some lively conversations.
When last we left the title, Johnny Storm managed to foul up a weird solo adventure that presented as a thinly veiled, poorly written morality tale about workers’ rights. Johnny is summoned to help Reed and Sue when they find a large dome textured like Ben Grimm’s skin.
The dome isn’t Ben but a construct grown by an alien parasite to protect to comatose bodies of Ben and Alicia inside the dome while it feeds on them. During their comatose state, readers get a first-hand account of what happened to the Baxter Building and the implications of its disappearance.
Be Warned! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Manhattan was attacked by a monster invasion from the Negative Zone. Faced with overwhelming numbers, Reed uses a theoretical attack to destroy the army and save all civilians. Unfortunately, the plan worked. Without giving the details away, it’s clear North drew inspiration from the MCU’s “Blip.”
Back to the present, Johnny, Sue, and Reed work to sever the parasite’s connection and burn it to ash.
Is the answer to the Manhattan incident satisfying? Maybe just a little. If Reed had the tech to accomplish what he did, you could imagine him doing the same thing by choosing different parameters, causing a far less devastating outcome. Also, where are the rest of Earth’s heroes during the crisis? Indeed they could have lent a hand.
In short, the incident is creative but relies too much on contrived choices that someone with Reed’s intellect wouldn’t make.
What makes the issue far less satisfying, however, is the ending. The FF are reunited but choose to do nothing about the incident to try and reverse it or make it better. It’s as if North said, “You want an answer? Here’s the answer. Now, we’re just going to move on with other things.” In effect, the answer is treated as a throwaway scene, and there’s nothing to do but wait until the event’s consequences are revisited later.
Back to the main question – is it good? It’s okay, but the payoff didn’t live up to the hype. The pacing and dialog are solid, and Coello’s art is excellent, so the technical execution is spot-on. But if you were hoping the incident would lead to something big, you will be disappointed.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
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Fantastic Four #4 answers the big question about the incident in Manhattan that forced the FF apart. Unfortunately, the answer is treated as a throwaway flashback that won’t lead to anything other than more FF adventures on the road.