Essential Fantastic Four—Volume 5

essential fantastic four volume 5 cover review marvel comics
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10

Classic Fantastic Four, strong stories

Essential line's black & white takes away from the comic

 
Comic Info

Comic Name: Fantastic Four (Volume 1)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby/John Romita, Sr./John Buscema

# of Issues: 28

Release Date:  2006

fantastic-four-#107

Fantastic Four (1) #107

Reprints Fantastic Four (1)#84-110 (March 1969-May 1971).  The Fantastic Four continue their adventures with a trip to Latveria and a confrontation with Dr. Doom.  Plus, Thing is transported to a planet of gangsters and forced to fight in gladiator matches.  The Fantastic Four also help ensure a safe lunar landing for the Apollo mission and prevent Magneto from enslaving the Earth.  Johnny and Crystal’s relationship heats up, but a tragedy ends up helping Reed find a possible cure for Thing.  A trip to the Negative Zone means another battle with Annihilus and Agatha Harkness become Sue and Reed’s newly named son Franklin’s nanny.

Essential Fantastic Four—Volume 5 falls right in the classic run of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s classic run on the Fantastic Four.  By the end of Volume 5 however Jack Kirby steps out and Steve Buscema fills in with John Romita, Sr.  Like the other entries in the Marvel Essential line of comics, the issues are printed on black-and-white lower-quality paper.

The Fantastic Four was marketed as “The World’s Great Comic Magazine!” during much of its run.  Though Amazing Spider-Man got the glory and while X-Men rose in the ’70s and early ’80s, Fantastic Four was really solid through the ’60s, ’70s, and much of the ’80s.  The Fantastic Four is part of the reason I read comics today, and it is great to go back and read some of their classic adventures.

fantastic-four-#104

Fantastic Four (1) #104

Like most Marvel Comics of this time, Fantastic Four is very serialized (much more than DC).  The issues flow from one issue to the next with multi-issue story arcs that vary in length (unlike  today’s pretty standard “six issue” collection).  The stories in this issue have a lot of variety from space and the Skrulls, to the Kree, to Dr. Doom, and the Negative Zone with Annihilus.  It is also nice, back in the early days of Marvel, when villains weren’t designated for certain heroes.  Here, you get Magneto fighting the Fantastic Four which is a nice change from his battles with the X-Men.  For the most part the storytelling is very even, a bit denser than today’s comics…but then also will open up for splash pages for Kirby and the other artists.

I like Jack Kirby, but I don’t love Kirby.  I like what he did and what he attempted to do, but the flatness of his characters sometimes take away from any emotion.  In this aspect, Fantastic Four is a bit better than something like his Eternals, but it is still there.  That is why it is nice to see Romita and Buscema for the final few issues.  Their art style has some similarities to Kirby, but also is a bit more full, too bad with Essentials you don’t get the color, but you get the quantity.

The Essential line from Marvel has some tankers, but the Essential Fantastic Four isn’t one of them.  The stories collected in this edition are a great add to fans of the series and those who might just be picking it up (something that the Essentials is great for since it collects enough issues for new readers to understand what is happening).  If you missed some issues or your just starting out Essential Fantastic Four—Volume 5 is a good choice.

Related Links:

Essential Fantastic Four—Volume 1

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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