Marvel just released a promotional issue of Fantastic Four. At nine cents US, or fifteen cents Canadian, it’s hard to come up with a convincing reason not to buy this issue. If you’re looking for reasons to avoid this purchase, then this is not a review you want to read.
Title: Fantastic Four #60
Credited to: Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo, Karl Kesel
Original Publication Date: August 28, 2002
Cover Price: $0.09US, $0.15Can
The popularity of the Fantastic Four is slipping, so Reed
Richards hires a consultant to come in and revamp their image for the
In our reality, sales of the Fantastic Four comic are
slipping, so Marvel found a new creative team to come in and try to
give them a facelift. The first issue with the new team is priced to
make sure that it’s hard for anyone in a comic shop to resist. My
advice; don’t try to resist. It’s a good comic. It’s also a perfect
introduction to the Fantastic Four in particular and Marvel in
Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm’s entry into the room near the end. I know
it was played for laughs, but it was just cheesy.
This was a fairly original story, I believe. I haven’t seen
one like this in the comics I’ve read. I don’t know if there were any
like this in the FF title before, but I’ll give them the
benefit of the doubt and assume there wasn’t. I give it 5 out of 6.
The artwork was clear and clean, which is the way I like my
comics. The detail was there when it contributed to the story or the
scene, but omitted in all other cases. The only character
consistently off-model was Mr. Fantastic, but I’m pretty sure that was
intentional. I give it 5 out of 6.
The story was sparse. There was a set-up, but not really any
plot. Instead, there are just enough events to expose the different
aspects of the way these characters interact with each other.
Although it hurts the story category, this approach really benefits
the comic. Still, the story gets 2 out of 6.
The characterization is excellent. There’s no prose with
people classifying others. Instead, we learn about who these people
are through their actions, and we learn them well. We learn a bit
about the publicist, but most of what we learn is about the Fantastic
Four, which is as it should be. If you’ve never read an issue of this
title, you can start today and be ready to go. I give it 6 out of 6.
The emotional response this produced was a bit limited. It
wasn’t necessary for an issue like this to really pull at your
heartstrings as much as to introduce you to the characters. It needed
to be interesting to keep you coming back next month, and it was. It
would help the issue to have a few laughs, and it did. Most of all,
it did really make you care for and about the characters. When the
reader reaches the serious revelations at the end, the revelations
work, because the reader is ready to sympathize with these people.
They had a very short span of pages to reach that point, but they hit
it, and they hit it without getting as dark and as serious as they
could have. I give it 6 out of 6, for doing a slightly imperfect job
in a serious shortage of space.
The flow was well done. Granted, most of the action takes
place in short scenes with little time pressure, but there were only
two places when the dialogue seemed to really outrun the action. That
dialogue belonged to Reed Richards on both occasions, and it’s very
much in character for him to be going on about that stuff while in the
middle of a battle. I give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, this was an entertaining issue that hit exactly on
what it was supposed to do, which is interesting people in the
Fantastic Four if they’ve never read the comic before. I
give it 5 out of 6.
In total, Fantastic Four #60 receives 33 out of 42.
Additional Notes and Comments
Obtaining the Essential Fantastic Four collections just got
bumped way up on my priority list.