Family fun and fisticuffs in a nostalgic setting that ends with everyone having a seat at the table.
This story encapsulates the basics of Marvel's first family while setting them into the larger fictional continuity. The core value of this intellectual property is family, and Dan Scott's script really nails the close, personal connections between characters.
The issue hits both all elements of the modern-day while getting into nostalgic moments so steeped in the zeitgeist of the properties' creation that you'd half expect to see civil rights protests in the background. The FF and associated intimates are gathering to celebrate the rocky hero Ben Grimm and his blind wife, Alicia, finalizing the adoption of two extraterrestrial children, a Kree boy, and a Skrull girl. This gives some great moments of Reed and his daughter Valeria bonding over absentmindedly losing track of time due to science, Ben and Alicia adapting to parenting, Sue forced into the fretting housefrau role, and Johnny is questioning his life choices. The instigating incident is oldest son Franklin gets a "cool" ride home from the hidden mutant island of Krakoa, which throws Johnny into his Anakin-level immaturity and looking into a flashback story.
The visual storytelling from Paco Medina, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna offer great action scenes and emotional clarity. The wonderful obliviousness of Reed and Valeria as two kindred spirits was enjoyable. While the impulsiveness of Johnny and self-doubt of guest star Bobby Drake all came through clearly.
About all, you could say that went wrong was that, for all the struggle and conflict, very little of it mattered. AIM goons doing a product demo, Red Ghost and the Super-Apes, even Puppet Master wielding Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, all while Johnny Storm sat in a clearly segregated soda shop (which is not bad to depict, but it does set this in a certain time effectively) … it's all kind of frivolous and confectionery. Not for the people whose property was destroyed by Khankwestaa and his "mighty mecha-mace," of course, but they too are not examined in detail.
Oh, there's also a very pretty looking Fortnite-related backup story that is wholly unimportant and easily passed by.
If you love the FF or this kind of wholesome, family adventuring, Fantastic Four #24 will be right up your alley. If you're looking for something deeper, this might not scratch that itch. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Hey, remember that time Iceman replaced the Human Torch as a member of the Fantastic Four? No? Well, Johnny Storm sure remembers! And now it's time to let everybody else in on the secret of the Fantastic Four story we were never supposed to talk about!
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
Plus, get free weekly web comics on the Operative Network at http://bit.ly/combatshaman.