FANTASTIC FOUR: SEASON ONE PREMIUM HC
What did the
Art by David Marquez
Colors by Guru-eFX
Cover by Julian Totino
Size: 0 pages
If you want proof that Marvel is starting to run out of ideas, then look no further than the ‘Season One’ concept. Once again we have a company rehashing origins of our favorite superheroes to earn a quick buck. Now maybe it makes sense for heroes like Doctor Strange or Ant-Man. But do we need ANOTHER retelling of Hulk, X-Men, and (in the case of this review) the Fantastic Four? By the tone of this review so far you know where this is going. For the sake of sanity though, let me elaborate.
Now right of the bat I should defend the writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Because he has wrote the Fantastic Four many years ago, for Marvel Knights, and it was a very good run. Having Marvel hire him to do this origin story seemed like a good idea. However, this entire graphic novel reads so fast it will make your head spin. For some reason Sacasa decides to never slow down at all in this story. So we go beat for beat at the turn of the page and never get much character development or get into the story as much as we should. In fact what this basically is really is combining several of the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby issues and trying to turn it into one cohesive story. We get the origin of the Fantastic Four and then suddenly they’re fighting the Mole Man in a span of a few pages! Or somehow get Namor involved in one of the weakest moments of the entire story. There are some good moments in this book. Like, the fact that Mole Man gets a bigger role in this is interesting and I like it he becomes somewhat friendly to them. That’s really about it though and the characterizations aren’t all that impressive either. It’s like reading cardboard cutouts of the characters and there is not much emotional depth to them. I wonder if this is really Sacasa’s idea or did Marvel give him an outline and make sure he follow it beat for beat. Because he is a much underrated writer and there should be no reason why this story should be so vanilla.
Now David Marquez has done a few works before getting this job. My favorite would be ‘Days Missing: Kestus’ which is a sequel to a Phil Hester series I highly recommend. It’s about a guy who time travels to make sure incidents actually occur from history….Kind of like Doctor Who. Anyways when you look at Marquez’s art, at first, it all looks really good. Everything and everyone looks beautiful and the colors by Guru-eFX (the hell?) really make the designs stand out. His work reminds me a lot like the late Michael Turner actually the more I think about it. But then you actually look at the pencils and you see the numerous problems. Yes the characters look great, but they are very stiff and they never emote like they should. When they do emote, like Reed getting angry, it all looks silly and it’s like I’m reading a manga by how over the top it is. The action is also pretty sub-par with the simple designs on creatures. Plus the way he draws Human Torch when he’s using his powers, and the coloring as well, is very weak and it actually hurts my eyes at points. He is pretty good on Thing and Mr. Fantastic though; although since everyone looks beautiful, people complaining on how others look is kinda silly. (Grimm pre-transformation is mentioned to be washed up but he looks anything but in that gym sequence) I don’t understand why this all looks so ‘cheap’ because Marquez’s work on ‘Days Missing’ is really good. Maybe he’s better at doing indie or original concepts more than established heroes?
There are many things that anger me about this concept of ‘Season One’. No, it isn’t that they are wasting perfectly talented writers to do origin stories. Or that the artists involved wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice for each character. What angers me most is this: Why on Earth would you want to read anything else when you have the most amazing issues already dealing with the origins of these classic characters? It’s not like we need a do over when the likes of Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and many others took the reins to create these pop-culture icons. All you need is either the Essential reprints, or the Masterworks, or just find anything that has these classic stories. You don’t need a retelling, or a rehash, or a ‘Hollywood’ style reinvention of these characters. I guarantee that if you give a kid a Fantastic Four comic by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee then they’ll be happy enough. You give a kid this ‘Season One’ book? They’ll throw it away in a heartbeat.
Art: 2 - Average