16th Sep2021

‘Fantastic Four #35 (Legacy #680)’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Dan Slott, Mark Waid | Art by John Romita Jr., Paul Renauld | Published by Titan Comics

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been woefully neglectful when it comes to reviewing Fantastic Four books. It’s odd, as I really like the characters a lot. I still think the John Byrne years are the absolute pinnacle, but there’s been a few highpoints since. Anyway, I couldn’t not review this book, celebrating 60 years of the World’s Greatest Comic Book. Yep, Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny first appeared in Fantastic Four issue 1, cover dated November 1961, meaning it was on newsstands right about now. Pixar will tell you what a great idea it was to have a family with super powers, and Stan Lee always felt it was a stroke of genius by him to have them based on the elements of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. Comics were sure never the same again.

So, to celebrate 60 mainly impressive years we have a oversized 35th issue, with 2 main stories and a short 2 pager by writer/artists Jason Loo. First up is ‘Death in Four Dimensions’, by Dan Slott, John Romita Jr and JP Mayer. This continues on the ongoing storyline from the book, where Dr. Doom has managed to have Johnny stuck in his flame form. Not only that, but burning brighter and hotter than ever. Reed has rushed back to the Baxter Building to try and find a cure. As if that’s not bad enough, they’ve detected a chronal intruder in the building. I suspect this has something to do with current gathering of minds in Neverspace, a nexus in-between time and space. Rama-Tut, Kang, the Scarlet Centurion, and Immortus are all present. That’s odd enough, as they are all incarnations of the same person at different points in time. Even odder, a new, previously unknown incarnation has popped up. Meet Scion, the end of time future self of them all.

They are all here for a timeline treasure hunt, seeking something called simply ‘The Prize’. All they know is it was scattered into 4 pieces, all of which are somewhere on Reed Richards timeline. So, we get the expected four different stories recounting each incarnations encounter with ‘their’ Fantastic Four, with fantastic mocked up Fantastic Four comic book covers for each adventure. Rama-Tut defeated a just formed version of the FF, the Scarlet Centurion used the Thunderbolts to fight a later version of the FF, Kang took on a FF in its Future Foundation days, and Scion took on the current incarnation of the FF. A fun story device to wallow in some classic FF stories, costumes, and eras. It gets even better.

Scion was not who he claimed to be, but was actually Reed Richards in disguise. What’s more, he rescued a single member of the FF from each timeline before they were killed, and now leads a cross-time Fantastic Four against the Kang incarnations. A Sue from the early days, Ben in his mask wearing days, Johnny in his heyday. Despite all being from different timelines, they all still fight as a team, as a family. Something’s are truly timeless. Cameos from the Time Variance Authority and Nathaniel Richards tie everything up, and everyone returns to the correct time and place, just in time for Reed to get something of a personal bombshell. More on that next issue.

‘Some Family Time’ by Jason Loo is a 2 page Mole Man story, but one that packs a lot into those 2 pages. It’s light and fun. ‘Stars’, by Mark Waid and Paul Renaud, follows, and focuses on the annual Marvel Universe Fantastic Four Day in Manhattan. This provides the perfect framing sequence for Mark Waid to do what he does best, an entertaining walk down memory lane, putting the magic of these characters front and centre. We get a new look at the origins of the Fantastic Four, of the before and after the cosmic rays. Credit to Waid that he makes what’s old feel new again, giving fresh spit and polish to a many told tale. It is a love letter to an era that all fans and pros truly hold dear.

What an issue. Dan Slott delivered a perfect story that continued with the new but paid loving homage to the past, and Mark Waid wrote a love letter to characters he clearly holds dear. The art in both stories, by John Romita JR and Paul Renaud respectively, was outstanding. Romita’s big and bold panels were a throwback to the bombastic style of Kirby, widescreen action adventure at its finest, while Renaud’s art was simply classicly and beautifully rendered. I loved the art in both stories equally, but in completely different ways. Stunning.

This was a superb book from cover to cover, well written, well drawn, and well edited. Did I say superb?

I meant Fantastic.

***** 5/5


Comments are closed.