Comic Review – “Ultimate Fantastic Four #1”

Some of the most influential people in the Ultimate
Marvel Universe have teamed up to create the next
cornerstone of that continuity. Did it work, or was
it overhyped?

General Information

Title: Ultimate Fantastic Four #1

Authors: Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar

Illustrator(s): Adam Kubert on pencils, with Danny
Miki on inks

Original Publication Date: January 2, 2004

Cover Price: $2.25 US, $3.25 Can


The Fantastic Four have already been established in
the Marvel
Universe as characters who’ve been around a lot
longer than
Spider-Man. This, however, flashes back 11 years to
tell their
origins. In this issue, we see Reed’s early
friendship with Ben and
his relationship with his parents. The Storms just
barely get
introduced near the end, and nobody has any
superpowers, yet.

High Point

“… we thought we’d gone nuts.”

Low Point

“cos2 a”. Are they really incapable of superscripts?

In retrospect, perhaps the High Point should have
been that the only
possible Low Point I can find is a remarkably minor
quibble that has
no impact on the story.

The Scores

The originality of the first issue isn’t
quite there, yet.
We’ve got some interesting setups about how this is
going to diverge
from the originals, at least in their origins, but
the rest feels a
lot like a young Peter Parker. I know Reed came
first originally, but
the distinctions between the two aren’t clear yet. I
give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork is better than I remember from
either Kubert.
The switch from the narrow page to the wide view
pages was an
excellent comment on the change in Reed’s world at
that point in the
story. I’m very impressed. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is the element I was least certain
about going in.
Bendis is fantastic, and Millar is pretty good, and
they did create
the foundations of the Ultimate Universe, but their
styles are
radically different. The idea of them collaborating
concerned me a
bit; anyone who has seen A.I.
knows that you can
take two great talents, put them together, and get
some massive style
clash. I was afraid that would happen here, but I
see no sign of it
in these pages. (In fact, it reads a lot like Bendis
working solo,
which is definitely a good thing.) Instead, we had a
very solid
opening to the story of these characters. I give it
6 out of 6.

The characterization here is loud and clear.
We get good
looks at Ben and Reed, as well as Reed’s immediate
family. I’m
interested in seeing where they go with the Storms in
the next few
issues. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was moderate. I was
interested, but
not yet enthralled. We’ll see where I’m at at the
end of the first
story arc, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow was very smooth, which isn’t too
tricky when you
don’t have any combat to deal with. I give it 5 out
of 6.

Overall, it’s a solid opening to a series,
but it’s certainly
not complete. We’ll have to wait until May to see
how the first story
arc is really going to pan out. I give it 5 out of

In total, Ultimate Fantastic Four #1
receives 34 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

I’m going to write reviews of The Marvelous
Adventures of Gus
Beezer and Spider-Man #1
and at least one more
movie today, but
I’ll post them tomorrow to avoid a review flood like
the Daredevil one
we had in September.

2 replies on “Comic Review – “Ultimate Fantastic Four #1””

  1. Excellente
    As said in the review, the jury’s still out on the big picture, but I thought this issue did a great job of starting an origin that fits in with the “younger, hipper” Ultimate mold.

    The change I thought turned out best was tossing out the idea that Reed’s pop was a genius himself and giving Reed some solid childhood trauma. It always seemed odd to me that classic Reed was simultaneously absent-minded (missing cosmic rays) and yet so well adjusted in terms of having confidence and being adventurous. Making his dad something of a schlub also helps make Reed’s intellect seem more unique and interesting – he’s always been characterized as the single smartest guy on the planet (with VvD running second) and it’s a better story (to me) if that intellect sprung up from nowhere instead of being an inheritance from his father.

    Then again, maybe I’m just happy because I thought Nathan Richards was one of the worst things that ever happened to “The World’s Greatest Comic.” :)

  2. Excellent Read
    I really enjoyed this book, and it’s now permanently on my pull list. It did feel a little like Ultimate Peter Parker for a while, but yet it feels subtly different. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this series goes in the next few months.

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