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: April 12, 2023
Fantastic Four #6 find themselves in a pickle when a piece of algae, infected by the mirror universe, beings to spread.
Is It Good?
There are two words in the English language that most people equate with the word ‘smart,’ but these two words have different meanings, and everyone should know the difference. Those words are ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom.’
‘Knowledge’ is the accumulation of facts and data. If you were to transplant the sum total of information from Wikipedia into your brain, you could rightly say you have a lot of ‘knowledge’.
‘Wisdom’ is knowing how to take the information from that ‘knowledge’ and using it to make good choices and make good things. ‘Wisdom’ applies ‘knowledge’ to achieve some result. It’s the difference between having the ingredients to make a cake and actually baking a cake. They’re related, but they are not the same.
In Fantastic Four #6, Ryan North displays an impressive amount of knowledge on scientific matters related to algae spreads, photosynthesis, and solar effects on a planetary scale. Conversely, Ryan North displays a disappointing lack of wisdom surrounding how to write a compelling Fantastic Four comic. You get the ingredients for a good story cobbled together in the facsimile of a comic book, but the combined result falls far short of entertaining.
When last we left the FF, they survived the world’s slowest assassination attempt by Nicholas Scratch. However, a tiny piece of the mirror goo that was intended to starve the FF to death escaped notice on a lonely highway. Now, the goo somehow made its way into algae in a lake somewhere, and the FF have to figure out how to kill the mirror algae, spreading faster than they kill by traditional means can be stopped before it takes over the world. The plan they come up with is best described as boneheaded.
This issue, as with the last issue, appears to be a sandbox for Ryan North to incorporate scientific knowledge into a Marvel comic while de-prioritizing the main objective – to tell a good story.
Somehow, the FF conceive of a plan to block out the Sun over the American midwest for three days to kill the algae. Instead of using some form of algae killer or tapping Tony Stark for a nano-tech swarm to do the cleanup or picking up the Fantasti-phone to call Dr. Strange for magical assistance, the FF launch right into their plan with no warning to the public or conversation with the government. In effect, the FF repeat the exact same mode of thinking that got them in trouble during the attack on NY.
In fairness, Thing does bring up the foolhardiness of the plan, but he’s overruled, shrugs his shoulders, and simply goes along with it.
You might be thinking, “Wait a sec, Mr. Reviewer Man. Cool your jets. You got a problem with having silly fun?”
No, I don’t have a problem with fun, as long as it’s done well. Here, the silliness isn’t done well, and it’s more like “silly dumb” instead of “silly fun”. To be blunt, the last five issues have all been silly (although, not to this extreme), so North is long overdue to figure out if he has an actual story to tell or if he wants to repeat the same mistakes from the Unsellable Squirrel Girl.
The first family of Marvel deserves a comic created with a lot more wisdom than this.
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 #6 tries very hard to tell a scientifically smart story and comes off as silly to the point of being dumb. It would serve this series better if Ryan North spent more time writing a compelling story than showing off his prowess for technical jargon.