Fantastic Four #10 Review

by Charles Martin on May 29, 2019

Fantastic Four #10 Review
Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Paco Medina with Kevin Libranda
Colourist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Fantastic Four #10 plays with some interesting tensions. The characters' own plans lean hard into the cuddly, domestic side of the title, but the intrusion of the War of the Realms demands a more fighty, Fantastic response.

That tension reflects a long-standing storytelling divide in Fantastic Four comics. Personally, I've always been strongly in favour of the domestic stuff. I think it's because family tales are harder to mess up and easier to make memorable. 

The flipside - as demonstrated, I would argue, in #10 - is that it's hard to make every fight noteworthy after the Fantastic Four has set the bar so ridiculously high. This team was tromping Galactus before I was even born; the temptation to summarize a Frost Giant street brawl with "yadda yadda yadda, good guys win again" is strong.

The script's well-intentioned character work has tensions of its own. More than a story about beating up Frost Giants, this is a story about Val and Franklin struggling to fit into Yancy Street. 

I say well-intentioned because I suspect Dan Slott wanted to make this a Franklin-first script. Franklin does get the lion's share of panel space and attention. But for me, the smaller dose of spotlight given to Val ends up providing far more satisfaction.

Val's problems - missing her Foundation friends and seeing the stars at night - are a lot simpler than Franklin's - mourning (preemptively, I hope!) the loss of godlike power. 

Within the confines of this issue, that gives Val a huge advantage. One quality team-up with Moon Girl is enough to get her into the swing of the neighbourhood. (And to have me baying for more Lunella in the future - her integration into the supporting cast here is exquisite.)

The problem with this take on Franklin is that the fixes offered by his elders - and, frankly, his creators - are way too small. Extra chores, forced socialization, a fleeting connection with a new friend, and being vaguely inspired by the collective bravery of Yancy Street? I don't buy it as a cure for "I used to be a god and now I'm just a kid" depression.

Devil's advocate: I think it's highly likely that Franklin will be putting in more work before truly overcoming his problems. He gets a warm fuzzy feeling from helping win the Battle of Yancy Street, true. But experiencing a blip of happiness does not mean he's been magically converted into a healthy and well-adjusted teen.

Before I disappeared down the characterization rabbit hole, I slagged off this issue's share of action. Which is not really fair to any of the creators, but it particularly discredits artists Paco Medina and Kevin Libranda. The visuals for the fight are epically good, packing a lot of distinctive action moments together without ever fumbling the flow of the story. 

The visuals are just as solid in the pre-battle segments. Yancy Street is brought to life with scads of detail and a huge cast. I know artists hate crowd scenes, but you'd never know it from the intricate slice-of-life scenes in the front half of the book.

Jesus Aburtov works a little colour magic. The bright shades of the early scenes feel like the most vibrant possible portrayal of Yancy Street. Yet the battle brings out more even more intense colours, and they invest the action with boldness and clarity.

The Fantastic Four try to have a quiet day on Yancy Street, but the War of the Realms drops Frost Giants in their laps. The brisk script and gorgeous art make the fight satisfying and also turn it into a vehicle for further character exploration, particularly of Franklin and Val. I believe the creators do better with the latter than the former, even if their intentions were the opposite. It's an ambitious story that doesn't achieve all its goals, but it'll definitely warm the heart of a reader who likes her FF familial and friendly first.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I'm bummed that we only got one tiny peek at Izzy, Franklin's new friend. More time with her is the best possible thing for Franklin - and it wouldn't hurt us readers, either!