Friday, February 1, 2013

Fantastic Four Season One by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and David Marquez

I am methodically working my way through as many of the Marvel rebooted first volumes, as possible. Just for fun and also to figure out which to buy for the teen and adult collections. I bought this one before I had read it, since the couple Fantastic Four collections we have do check out. I'm sure this one will, although it's a bit more adult angsty than teen adventure and blowing up bad guys, but personally I really hated it. I liked Ultimate Fantastic Four (not ALL of them, just the first couple volumes) and the only character in this reboot that made sense or that I liked was Johnny, which was weird because usually I find him kind of annoying.

Reed is an egomaniac who purposely risks the lives of his friends and family to be the first into space, ahead of the official launch. He's a really unpleasant personality and one wonders exactly why Susan likes him. Until you realize that she apparently has no job or means of support, so I assume she's living off her sort-of-fiancee while doing lunch and shopping with her girlfriends and complaining about him. He spends a lot more time with his lab assistant, Alyssa, and it's never really clearly defined whether he's just totally clueless and selfish, or whether he was cheating on Sue, or just thinking about it. Or if he actually has a relationship with Susan outside of her own mind. The same problem with Ben as always - he's supposed to be this giant dumb lunk, but also...a crack airforce pilot? Johnny actually makes sense in this one - he loves cars and models on the side to pay for his cars. He is also a mechanic and enjoys what he does.

These are supposed to be fresh starts for the characters so people not familiar with them can just pick up and start reading, but a huge portion of the story has Namor attacking Johnny because he thinks he's the...previous Human Torch? Who was somehow involved in the destruction of Atlantis and causing Namor to become a street guy? And Mole Man is good but misunderstood? I don't know where any of these storylines came from and found it confusing. There's an additional comic at the back, which I didn't really look at - all the characters were heavily-muscled and there were multiple Reeds and...yeah.

The art is pretty basic, not so weird that it can't be followed, but it doesn't seem to have any particular style. That's fine by me - when I read a superhero comic I want to think about the action and characters and not the artistic ability of the creators. However, it was so generic that I didn't get any good feeling for the time period. No time maybe? The hairstyles, behavior, and language seem contemporary, Reed's competing with a shuttle launch for space tourism? And Ben Grimm and his friends in his childhood flashbacks wears a cap and seems to be in the 1920s.

Verdict: This is rated T+ and although there aren't a lot of graphic situations (unless you count Sue's friends and Alyssa joking that they wouldn't date Reed because he feels like an "inflatable pool toy") it feels much more slanted toward an adult audience. The concerns and emotions of the characters are all adult and I particularly disliked how Sue and Reed's characters were presented. However, Fantastic Four is popular and I think it will circulate. If I had read it first I might have put it in the adult collection though.

ISBN: 9780785156413; Published February 2012 by Marvel; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library


middle grade ninja said...

I fully support your important work:)

Jennifer said...

Thank you. I just finished Animal Man and I am glad someone recognizes my sacrifices! Soooo...icky. And I am a Deadpool fan!