Written by: Ryan North
Art by: Ivan Fiorelli
Colors by: Jesus Aburtov
Letters by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover art by: Alex Ross
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: March 8, 2023
Fantastic Four #5 finds the FF traveling the highways and byways of America when an unexpected traffic jam caused by Nicholas Scratch and Salem’s Seven gives the FF a bit of tummy trouble.
Is It Good?
I’m going to define a new phrase for comic reviews. That phrase is “dumb science fiction.” That phrase pertains to a story steeped in technical concepts and ideas that give the appearance of scientific depth, but when you look at the big picture, it’s basically a lot of big words hiding a dumb plot. Fantastic Four #5 is dumb science fiction.
When last we left the FF, the team reconciled after their time apart due to the hurt and trauma over Reed’s rescue plan that sent the Baxter Building and an entire NYC block into a temporal bubble for a year. Now, the FF are enjoying the fresh air and sunshine as they take a road trip to see Aunt Petunia (the Baxter Building and the NYC block are still trapped, BTW). Suddenly, traffic is jammed by the appearance of Nicholas Scratch and Salem’s Seven to implement the slowest, lamest plan to kill the FF in Marvel history.
“Why is it dumb, Mr. Grumpy Reviewer?” you ask.
I’ll tell you, boys and girls. It’s one moment after another of things that don’t make sense, explanations based on impossible assumptions, contrivances that come out of nowhere, and a resolution that negates any dramatic tension from the story. Here’s a short list.
The Fantasticar is stuck in a traffic jam. Why? The Fantasticar is a FLYING car. You’re immediately put off by the lack of sense in the story.
Nicholas Scratch appears to “kill” the FF. Why does he appear well down the road so that the FF will only find out he’s there when they go to investigate? Did Scratch plan a traffic jam on hte odd chance the FF would be nearby and forced to check out the source of trouble holding up their flying car that isn’t flying?
What’s Scratch’s plan? He dimensionally alters(??) the teams’ guts so they can’t eat and eventually starve to death after a week or so. The plan is silly on its face, but the monumental amount of assumptions, handwaving, and technobabble nonsense Reed goes through to figure it out is astounding.
I’m sure North put a goodly amount of effort into researching dimensional mechanics, but the misapplication of that research is shockingly bad. It’s as if North said to himself, “I researched all these cool science things, so I’m going to wrap an FF story around it. Zoop!”
Eventually, Reed figures out a solution by teaching himself to see in four dimensions(??????), and the team goes back to their road trip. There’s no effort to figure out why they were attacked by Scratch or what effect the dimension-hopping would cause to the Earth or people around them in the traffic jam.
In every aspect, this issue feels like a silly, throwaway one-shot that should have been thrown away before it went to print.
At least the art is excellent. As ludicrous as the script turned out, Fiorelli and Aburtov put 100% into the art with great character designs, trippy action sequences, and bold coloring. This issue looks great, even if the story is junk dressed up in fancy wrapping paper.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
Follow @ComicalOpinions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Fantastic Four #5 continues the bizarre road trip with a magical attack that sounds scientific and smart but ultimately hides a boneheaded plot. The leaps in logic are ridiculous, the dramatic tension is completely absent, the villain’s plan is silly, and the outcome makes it seem like this entire issue was intentionally pointless. At least the art is great, so that’s something.