- 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: $5.99
- Release date: May 17, 2023
Fantastic Four #7 brings Marvel’s first superhero family to Aunt Petunia’s farmhouse for a little R&R when Doctor Doom shows up with a special mission in mind.
Is It Good?
Fantastic Four #7 is odd. Reaching the legacy numbering of #700, this issue gives the FF extra pages to have a little fun doing things a loving family does, only to suddenly get sidelined for a Doctor Doom solo story. Why is a semi-milestone issue telling a Doom story while keeping the FF in the background? Who knows, and that’s why this issue is odd.
Continuing Ryan North’s bizarre series of road trip one-shots while the FF waits for the Baxter Building to return from a one-year trip through time, the gang finally makes it to Aunt Petunia’s for rest, home repairs, and generally playful shenanigans. Unfortunately, Doom shows up to taunt the FF before embarking on a time loop to undo what Reed did in NYC to save young Valeria, who happened to be one of the kids trapped in the Baxter Building. Doom learns a powerful lesson (or does he?) along the way.
It’s as if Ryan North has interesting and cool ideas but doesn’t know how to put them together in a logical, cohesive way and doesn’t know how certain things work. The description above sounds cool. I want to read that story. I’m betting many FF fans want to read that story. But the description, while accurate, doesn’t reflect the devil in the details of the final product.
After Sue and Johnny race away from Maria Hill’s agents in the Fantasti-Car (the flying car that nobody wants to fly, apparently), they agree to meet Ben, Alicia, and Reed at their final stop – Aunt Petunia’s home. How or why did Maria Hill’s part of this story get dropped so easily? Why does Ryan North not know the Fantasti-Car can fly? The wings should be a giveaway.
When the FF arrives at Aunt Petunia’s house, they’re greeted warmly and warned to watch out for the ghost. Puzzled, the group gets right to work fixing up the place, including Alicia, who seems to know how to paint a living room despite the fact she’s blind (???)
As the group enjoys their rest and renovation time, the group suddenly begins to lose their ability to remember words, eventually devolving into the loss of all speech. Suddenly, a “ghost” attacks the group and leads them back into the house where Doctor Doom is playing the piano. The “ghost” is simply a nanite hologram, and the loss of speech is also due to a nanite infection Doom let loose on the house occupants.
If this seems weird so far, it is. Why did Doom create a ghost? Unknown, Doom dispels the ghost with no explanation as to why he created it. How did Doom get into the house without anyone knowing, and why is he playing the piano? Unknown. Presumably, Ryan North’s idea of fun is putting random “cute” elements together, even if they don’t make sense.
Why did Doom infect Reed and the others with nanites to take away their speech? This one does get a loose explanation. Doom wanted to stop the FF from talking to each other to weaken them, right before he gives them their speech back (???)
What does Doom want? Valeria was one of the children trapped in the Baxter Building when it was time-displaced, so he dropped in on the FF to tell Reed he is going to fix what Reed broke and bring the children back early. Did Doom need to visit the FF at all? No. Does Doom’s visit to the FF serve any purpose at all? None in the least.
What follows is an infinite loop of adventures where Doom tries and fails to overcome Reed’s time-displacement plan and bring Valeria home.
When you put all the pieces together, you have a lengthy, sometimes fun, mostly nonsensical, series of events assembled in service of a story that celebrates the FF’s greatest villain rather than the FF.
The only thing you could say that’s fantastic about this comic is Iban Coello’s art, so the story looks great, even if it doesn’t make any sense.
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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Bits and Pieces
Fantastic Four #7 looks great and has a few amusing moments during the family interactions, but the plot is a jumble of ideas that don’t make sense. Ryan North has ideas with potential, but so far in this series, he’s unable to make those ideas work in a logical or cohesive story.