REVIEW: Fantastic Four #4 – “New Kids on the Block”

Fantastic Four #4
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencillers: Stefano Caselli & Nico Leon
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 11/28/18
Rating: T

Fantastic Four

Plot: After defeating the Griever, the Fantastic Four return to Earth. However the team comes back at the same time that the Fantastix make their public debut. Adding insult to injury, the Fantastix are the new owners of the FF’s longtime headquarters, the Baxter Building.

Story: Dan Slott’s dialogue is one reason I always check out his work. In this issue, Slott perfectly captures the Fantastic Four’s family dynamic. There’s some great bickering between the team’s various members. Also there’s a funny sequence where Ben takes Franklin to see Alicia and she hugs him too tight. Anyone who’s had an aunt like that can understand Franklin’s point of view. Plus the dialogue itself is very entertaining, particularly when Sue and Reed find out Spider-Man owned and lost the Baxter Building. There’s even a funny line where Johnny references his time with the Uncanny Avengers and Franklin expresses his surprise.

Meanwhile, the Fantastix make their public debut as a new superhero team by stopping a Wrecking Crew robbery. Readers do not learn much about this new team, mostly because their dialogue briefly mentions their real names and previous hometown without revealing much else. The only major thing we know about them is they’re the new occupants of the Baxter Building. The lack of information does fit with Dan Slott’s writing style. Slott is known for playing the long game with bigger story arcs, so he’s definitely setting the Fantastix up to be some major recurring characters for his run.

Even though the Fantastix are getting the spotlight, the real star of this issue is Valeria Richards. At first Valeria is pushed aside from the battle because her intelligence isn’t considered a real super power. However Valeria quickly figures out the Fantastix’s fight with the Wrecking Crew is staged. Also she gets the Wrecking Crew to turn themselves in when she offers to double their pay. However, after the crew is in custody Val uses a legal loophole so the FF do not have to pay the Wrecking Crew a dime. Franklin and Valeria have been in the book for a long time and it’s great that they’re now an active part of the team.

Art: This issue has great layouts that take advantage of double page spreads. The double splash pages provide an easy transition between panels, and they really emphasize the action during the fight between the Wrecking Crew, the Fantastix, and the Fantastic Four. The design of the Fantastix is pretty much expected. One look and readers can clearly see them as a rip-off of the FF. However, that’s pretty much their whole character concept. While the Fantastix’s are designed similar to the FF, they do have a few minor differences which work.

Verdict: Even though the Fantastic Four’s debut conflicts with the Fantastix’s first public appearance, this is still an entertaining story. Dan Slott provides a nice introduction to the Fantastix and sets them up as possibly recurring characters for his run on the title. Plus this issue gave us an awesome moment for Valeria Richards which proves she and her brother will have big roles in up coming stories. Overall, this new Fantastic Four title keeps the momentum going as one of Marvel’s must read titles.

Rating: 4 out of 5