This completes the reviews of the Fantastic Four title from Mark Waid’s first issue up to (but not including) the current Civil War arc, which will be reviewed within a week of the publication of issue 541.
Title: Fantastic Four #527-535
Author: J. Michael Straczynski
Illustrator(s): Mike McKone did the pencils for all issues. Andy Lanning did all of the inking on the
first seven issues, and contributed to the last two with assists by Simon Coleby on 534 and Cam Smith
on 535. Paul Mounts did all colours.
Original Publication Date: These issues cover dated from July
2005 to April 2006.
ISBN: Issues 527-532 are collected with ISBN 0-7851-2029-7, and issues 533-535
are collected (along with the Wedding Special, the “My
Dinner With Doom” special, and the “Death In the Family” special not reviewed here) with ISBN 0-7851-
Cover Price: The hardcover of the first six issues is $19.99 US, while the paperback of the
Past comic reviews can be found here.
issues 527-532, we explore the origins of the team, and determine why the cosmic rays had such varied
effects on the team.
Issues 533-535 finish off a subplot from the first set and help set up the Planet
Convincing the government to let the kids stay. For once, the complete lack of scret identities leads to a story that wouldn’t work at all if these characters had secret identities.
Major spoilers: If Reed could rewrite the cosmic rays, why was Ben still a monster? If he did it the first time, why did they behave differently the second time? I trusted JMS and his meticulous attention to details to get all of the time travel continuity right, but he let me down.
This has some original elements. JMS reinterprets the origins of the characters he writes onces again, and tells a B-plot story that wouldn’t work in another comic. The Hulk story is also the first in a line of stories JMS tells that reconnects the Fantastic Four to the rest of the Marvel universe, turning the book into the continuity pillar it used to be. I give it 5 out of 6.
The artwork is usually quite good. Some of the work on small objects or objects at a distance is week, such as Reed’s introspective moment while determining the random factors, but the medium and closer viewpoints work great. (I don’t know if this is McKone’s issue or Lanning’s. I didn’t notice it from McKone when McKenna inked his work on Exiles, though.) I give it 4 out of 6.
The story is generally well done. The only issues I have are with the causality concerns in the first story arc, but they’re a major part of that story. I give it 4 out of 6.
The characterization is and always has been the strongest and most fundamental portion of anything JMS writes. I give it 6 out of 6.
The emotional response was decent. This was interesting and entertaining, but it didn’t have the immediate and sustained levels of fun and energy that the Waid / Wieringo run had just before JMS took over. I give it 4 out of 6.
The flow is smooth throughout, aided by the government subplot that ties the two collections together just as Stan Lee used to do when he launched the title: supervillains come and go, but the personal lives march on. I give it 5 out of 6.
Overall, it’s a strong collection, but it may feel like a let down coming out of the fun of the Waid / Wieringo run. I give it 4 out of 6.
In total, Fantastic Four 527-535 receives 32 out of 42.