After the Empyre event, Dan Slott and R.B. Silva chart a new course for Marvel's First Family in Fantastic Four #25. Consisting of a main story by Dan Slott and R.B. Silva with backup stories by Slott and the likes of Paco Medina and Will Robson, this oversized issue delivers a lot of beautiful imagery and action, as well as some new additions to the team. However, not everything works as strongly as the fight scenes.
Written by Dan Slott
Art by R.B. Silva, Jesus Aburtov, Paco Medina, Marcio Menyz, and Will Robson
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
The issue's main story, 'There Shall Come a Reckoning' by Slott and Silva opens with a bizarre alien searching Earth for an item. The alien operates as an explorer for a mysterious helmsman who communicates via telepathy with the alien and gives commands to it. These opening images are done in gorgeous two-page spreads by Silva and color artist Jesus Aburtov, providing an epic sense of foreboding to the rest of the issue.
From there we meet up with the various members of the Fantastic Four family via a series of vignettes. This works great as a way to catch readers up on some various status quo changes.
If a reader didn't check out Mark Waid's Invisible Woman series, you'll learn she's been a spy for Nick Fury here.
Didn't know Franklin was a mutant? Here's a conversation between him and Johnny regarding his activity on Krakoa.
Slott's dialogue works well with Silva's art to convey a lot of information in a streamlined manner while avoiding exposition. The conversation between Franklin and Johnny comes up due to Franklin listening to music by Dazzler and then asking Johnny about his friendship with Iceman. The new status quo for Ben and Alicia is introduced when they put Jo and Nicki to bed as they prepare the kids for their first day of school. It all has a naturalistic feel which serves the characters well… and sets up the storm that is the rest of the issue.
From there, things explode. The alien's search for the Fantastic Four leads to some nice action scenes, climaxing in an all-out battle at the Baxter Building. The art by R.B. Silva is stellar, and the use of two-page spreads with a mix of splash images and smaller panels makes for a dynamic read. Not every character gets their moment in the combat – Sue and Doctor Doom feel particularly underutilized – but a moment late in the fight makes great use of Kirby Krackle. Jesus Aburtov's colors really shine here, as various flames, beams, and other forces fire across the page. Aburtov provides a dazzling light show, without letting the geography of the fight get away from the reader.
Fantastic Four #25 preview
After a thrilling conclusion, Slott moves some of the threads introduced in the issue forward before Fantastic Four #25 shifts to its back-up stories. The first, told entirely in double-page spreads by Paco Medina and Marcio Menyz features the return of Uatu, following the events of Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four #1. This story serves more as a continuation of that issue than the rest of Fantastic Four #25, and so works more as a tease for what's to come. Finally, there's the single page back-up 'Fantastic Forum' by Slott, Will Robson, and Marcio Menyz highlighting some of the technology shown in the main issue. It's a fun aside that provides a bit of levity after the main story's dramatic close.
Altogether, Fantastic Four #25 works well as an action book. The character moments are more restricted here, but given the visual feast provided by Silva and Aburtov, that's not a bad thing. While the bulk of the issue will certainly satisfy readers, the backups that help contribute to the monster page count feel a little out of place, especially 'Sight Unseen' which has nothing to do with the preceding 30 pages. Had this story been tied into the overarching issue in a more meaningful manner, it would have added a lot to the cohesiveness of the issue. Still, Fantastic Four #25 is a nice milestone issue, with Slott setting up some new status quos and room for character development as the series moves forward.
Like the Fantastic Four? Make sure you've read the best Fantastic Four stories of all time.