10 Essential Fantastic Four Comics To Revisit Thanks to DisneyFox Merger

first_imgUnthinkableThere is no Fantastic Four without Dr. Doom. The metal-masked monarch of Latveria has been the team’s most fearsome foe since Reed Richards met him in college, and his eternal quest for domination and revenge has hatched some truly awful schemes. The ultimate Doom story came courtesy of Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo, where he uses the Richards’ daughter Valeria as the key to a mystical plot that sees the Four tormented in Hell and Reed forced to learn how to contend with the supernatural to defeat him.Terror In A Tiny TownAfter the property foundered a bit in the 1970s, writer-artist John Byrne took over and brought the Four back to basics in a way that hit a nerve with fans. Byrne started off with snappy single-issue stories that captured the team at their best, and then started weaving them together to create some very memorable moments. His “Terror In A Tiny Town,” where Dr. Doom and the Puppet Master transfer the foursome’s consciousness into tiny duplicates in an artificial world, is a prototypical FF adventure that still holds up. Disney buying Fox is a massive deal in the entertainment world, and it’s going to have aftershocks in just about every sector of the business. But for us, there’s just one thing that’s important: the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be whole once more.You see, Fox licensed the rights to chunks of the Marvel universe – most notably the X-Men and related characters, but also the Fantastic Four, the cornerstone on which almost all of Marvel was built. Without Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny, there was a gaping hole in the center of the MCU. And Fox’s attempts to exploit the property were – and let’s be charitable here – massive stinking turds. They just didn’t capture what makes these comics so special to the geek heart.So to celebrate the FF getting on the good foot, we put together this list of Fantastic Four storylines and eras that are essential to understanding why this team is so important. These are damn fine reading.AdChoices广告The Galactus SagaYou can’t go wrong reading any of the classic Stan Lee / Jack Kirby Fantastic Fours. Those two men single-handedly defined what superhero comics would be in the 1960s with a mix of high adventure, human drama, and internecine conflict. The run starts out a little clumsy, but once you get to the introduction of the Silver Surfer in #48 they’re firing on all cylinders. The coming of Galactus, the devourer of worlds, would kick the Four into the full-on cosmic era, where they contended with foes from beyond the scope of human imagination and defeated them with science, ingenuity and sometimes a punch in the face. These are essential comics for any true fan. FFThe Fantastic Four is Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny, right? What if… it wasn’t? In this brief series from Matt Fraction and Mike Allred, the original four go on a space journey that’s supposed to only last three minutes, leaving ringers Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and Miss Thing in charge. What’s interesting about these comics is how the familiar comforts of the Fantastic Four – the family dynamic, the science, the plots – assemble themselves around four very different personalities. The climax features one of the best standoffs with Dr. Doom ever, as Ant-Man travels to Latveria to get revenge for his dead daughter Cassie.Buy it at Amazon.comPlanetaryThis is cheating, obviously, but one of the best Fantastic Four stories ever written in comics didn’t star the Fantastic Four at all – and wasn’t even published by Marvel. In Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary, a team of archaeologists exploring the hidden history of the universe come into conflict with “The Four,” a quartet of astronauts who went on a voyage to another dimension and came back horribly changed. We’ve seen a fair number of Evil Reed stories over the FF’s history, but with the gloves off Ellis created a truly scary take on the concept. Into The Time StreamWalt Simonson is one of those creators who put his indelible stamp on everything he touches. He’s best known at Marvel for his tenure on The Mighty Thor, but his run on Fantastic Four delivered some solid stuff. Probably the best yarn he spun saw the team use Dr. Doom’s time machine to jaunt to the future, just as Galactus arrives to menace the planet again in the present. Big ideas, super science and punching out dinosaurs – this one has everything we want in a FF tale. The Inhumans SagaRight before they introduced Galactus, Lee and Kirby casually dropped the existence of a whole civilization of superpowered humanoids living apart from society – the Inhumans. Some of the greatest Kirby visual and character designs are here, including Black Bolt the mute ruler, Karnak the flaw-visualizing martial arts master and Lockjaw the giant teleporting bulldog. It’s high adventure and high-concept sci-fi in the mighty Marvel manner and it’s way better than the TV show. Unstable MoleculesWhat made the Fantastic Four so successful when it launched is that it was grounded in the reality of the 60s, as America raced Russia into space and women’s lib put the fairer sex on the front lines. Four-issue miniseries Unstable Molecules, by writer James Sturm and artist Guy Davis, took an alternate universe look at the titular quartet, imagining them as real people who could have inspired Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It’s a mature, intelligent examination of the social realities that were transmogrified into fantastic adventures and very worth a read. 1234Grant Morrison didn’t pen the FF too often, but his four-issue Marvel Knights miniseries offers a fine capsule of what makes the team great. When Reed disappears during an experiment, the other members of the team have to contend with bad memories, old flames and Doctor Doom. It all comes together at the end in a reality-bending climax that taps into the potent mythology the series has built up while delivering new spins on the concept. Great art by Jae Lee is just the icing on the cake. The Council Of ReedsJonathan Hickman’s run is far and away the defining modern take on the Fantastic Four, a massive clockwork device that spans history, alternate dimensions and all of time and space to give the team increasingly dangerous threats to surmount. It’s sort of impossible to split off just one part of it, but one of the defining moments comes early on when Reed gets snatched through a portal and meets a confluence of alternate-dimension versions of himself who have bonded together to fix the problems of creation. All is not as it seems, of course, and things just get wild from there. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

September 20, 2019 0