Overview

Fantastic Four: First Family #1

Review

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Fantastic Four: First Family #1

Credits

  • Words: Joe Casey
  • Art: Chris Weston
  • Inks: Gary Erskine
  • Colors: Chris Chuckry
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 8, 2006

Ever wonder exactly how the Fantastic Four went from their fateful test flight to become the heroes of New York? Now that story is told.

Over the years, the origin of the Fantastic Four has been told and retold. Most of the time that story has been left intact with only a few tweaks to modernize the events and for the most part those stories begin and end with Reed Richards’ ill-fated rocket launch. Joe Casey now explores what happened after the four crashed back to Earth but before they became tenants of the Baxter Building, the saviors of New York, and a family.

In keeping with Casey’s focus, this issue opens moments after the crash and follows the four through the first few days after. While Reed appears catatonic, Ben struggles to control his rage at his fate, and Johnny remains pretty much clueless, it is Sue Storm who seeks to begin the process of pulling them all together. Unless they are very clever, their new abilities could cost them their freedom.

A series such as this poses a number of challenges for a writer. Since fans of The Fantastic Four already know how this story ends, the writer must find other ways of creating tension and capturing the readers’ imaginations. Joe Casey has proven with his series Godland that he can channel the spirits of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee with a modern twist. As such, he should be the perfect choice for this series. Surprisingly, though, I found this issue fell a little flat. Casey does not generate much in the way of rising tension, as you would expect in a first issue. He does, however, engage the reader with a hint of mystery surrounding the accident that gives the FF their powers and he introduces two new characters that will play a potentially large role to come. It is really, though, only at the end of the issue that the reader feels that something important is about to happen.

The choice of artist for this series is another slight departure for a Fantastic Four title. Chris Weston’s art is amazingly detailed and hyper-real, along the lines of Bryan Hitch. Such a realistic style has not often been used for The Fantastic Four. Here, though, it works to help ground the story hard, giving it a feeling of place and time. His talent is undeniable as well when viewing his version of the Thing, or Reed’s catatonic mindscape.

Overall, this issue may not have been fantastic (you know I just had to do it) but it was solid and the ending left me actually looking forward to the next issue. Fantastic Four: First Family looks to be a title that takes an issue to warm up instead of sprinting out of the gate and I look forward to seeing how Casey brings this group together over the next five issues to create not just a team, but also a family.

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