Fantastic Four #6 Review

by Charles Martin on January 16, 2019

Fantastic Four #6 Review
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Aaron Kuder
Colourists: Marte Gracia & Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Fantastic Four versus Doctor Doom and Galactus! What decade is it!?

When I say this comic could fit into just about any period in the FF's vast publication history, I mean it entirely as a compliment. The core plot is straight outta the Silver Age, the astute characterization would fit the celebrated Waid/Wieringo run, the cliffhanger-tastic pacing is a 70s throwback, and so on.

The fabulous foursome is racing into Latveria to deal with Galactus even before Mr. & Mrs. Grimm get to start their honeymoon, and you better believe the Thing is grousing about it.

What they find in Latveria is another wonderful throwback. Suddenly, it's a proud (if suspiciously primitive) Ruritanian monarchy again, packed with peasants who love their Master and won't hesitate to beat the Thing with a pole if he accidentally smashes their goat pen.

I'm focusing on the Thing because he's my favouritest hero ever, but everyone on the team gets sterling attention here, particularly Johnny Storm.

He doesn't just flirt shamelessly with Doom's mysterious new Herald, Victorious. His flirting is weaponized by his sister and brother-in-law, who know perfectly well that Johnny's gonna schmooz no matter what. They turn him into an intelligence-gathering tool, and he's powerfully effective in that role.

Even in its one-page cutaway to the supporting cast, this comic's characterization delights. Aunt Petunia continues to be a blast, Alicia is wonderful, and Valeria and Franklin have very astute complaints about being sidelined for a Doom-Galactus fight: Those are their jams and they could totally help! Poor kids!

This issue delivers powerfully when it comes to visuals, too. The character work is outstanding all around, and plenty of attention is lavished on design work. (The FF's new costumes - meh, black - are the one exception.) 

Almost all of the scenes take place outdoors, in pre-dawn darkness. Linework and colouring combine to make the grandest possible use of the setting, employing both hard shadows and modulated hues to give depth to the characters and their world. Victorious gets neon-fuchsia Kirby Krackle to represent her Power Semi-Sorta-Cosmic; the effect is a perfect balance between familiar and novel.

The script works together with the art to do some remarkable pacing work. Victorious and Galactus are de-emphasized in the first act in a way that verges on frustrating. It's entirely intentional, though, and it succeeds wildly at increasing the dramatic impact when they start taking action later on.

The art also delivers the issue's one minor weakness, though. At some points, it is less than successful at illustrating motion. That peasant lady beating on Ben Grimm that I so love? Her attack happens in a stiffly-posed panel where sound effects are forced to do storytelling work the art should be doing. The lack of motion isn't chronic - but the goatherd attack isn't the issue's only example.

Doctor Doom, Galactus, and the Fantastic Four all explode across Latveria, shaping an FF story that is timeless in all the right ways. The plot is epic, the art is formidable, the Herald of Doom is a fascinating novelty, and the characterization is quite simply flawless. This is Classic Fantastic Four with a capital C.F.F. 

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
Okay, yes, "capital C.F.F." doesn't, to my knowledge, mean anything. I thought it sounded cool.