The Thing enjoys a day out with Alicia Masters, and the Human Torch attends a Mets game with Wyatt Wingfoot. Their days are interrupted when the Fantastic Four signal lights up New York. The Human Torch races to where the signal was shot from, assuming Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and their kids are finally back. The Thing knows it must be false. It was a fake; a pair of Yancy Street kids found the flare gun and fired it. Johnny is furious, but Ben hires Jen Walters to represent the kids. Ben returns home to reminisce and decides what he should do next with his life. However, the day isn't over, and another sign may be waiting for Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm.
In a back-up story, Doctor Doom returns to Latveria.
The Fantastic Four are back… sorta. As you can probably glean, this first issue doesn't quite have the First Family of Heroes reunited, but it's on the way.
Coincidentally, this reads like another issue of Marvel Two-in-One. Ben and Johnny are the focus, and their respective pains at the apparent loss of the Fantastic Four are at the forefront. Ben and Johnny fight, and it's genuinely heartbreaking.
I was… concerned when I heard that Dan Slott was going to be headlining the new Fantastic Four book. This issue shows a lot of promise, though. It shows an emotional maturity and an ability to write genuine characters that was missing from much of Amazing Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, and his stint on Mighty Avengers years ago. This is a genuinely good comic.
It is a little frustrating that the emotional catharsis of seeing Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny reunited is held off for another month, and the Skottie Young strip in the back with the Impossible Man is a little too cute. That said, I'm ready. This was a good primer for the reunion, and, hopefully, next month can deliver that FF issue we've waited years for now.
Sara Pichelli was a name that did genuinely excite me though, and she certainly delivers in this issue. She does justice to both Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm, and the facial detailing and body language is consistently quality. That said, there is still a playfulness in the style that is well suited for an FF comic. Marte Gracia gives a deep and varied color treatment that gives the comic an extra kick of life. Simone Bianchi and Marco Russo create a foreboding atmosphere for the Doom story that has me even more excited for what lies ahead for Victor von Doom.
Fantastic Four #1 isn't quite what I had hoped it would be, but it is a quality comic nonetheless. Slott shows growth as a writer that is needed for the World's Greatest Comic Magazine, and Pichelli, Gracia, Bianchi, and Russo show their artistic strength in their respective segments. Despite a rough $5.99 US price tag, I do still strongly recommend this comic. Give it a read.