August 2021 marks 60 years to the month since the original Fantastic Four #1 launched the Marvel Universe way back in 1961. And to celebrate, August's Fantastic Four #35 will be an oversized issue which will include not only John Romita Jr's first apparent work on interior pages since his return to Marvel but the return of Mark Waid to the Fantastic Four.
"This year, Marvel Comics is proud to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Fantastic Four! Home to concepts and characters that revolutionized comic book storytelling, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s beloved creations have enjoyed one of the most memorable sagas in comic book history and this year will see some of their greatest adventures yet!" reads Marvel's announcement.
"Following the highly anticipated 'Bride of Doom' storyline, August's Fantastic Four #35 will be a special giant-sized spectacular that will see series writer Dan Slott teaming up with legendary artist John Romita Jr."
'Bride of Doom' launches this week in Fantastic Four #32, with Doctor Doom proposing marriage to his enforcer Victorious so she can rule Latveria in his stead while he is in space with the Guardians of the Galaxy - though the involvement of Johnny Storm and Reed Richards has added some wrinkles to Doom's wedding plans.
Marvel's announcement also gives some insight as to what the FF will be up against in the story launching in Fantastic Four #35, which involves the many incarnations of Kang the Conqueror uniting for a scheme that targets the FF not just in the present day, but across their entire past - including an apparent new villain named Scion.
"The entire Kang bloodline is out to destroy every era of the Fantastic Four! How can Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny hope to survive simultaneous attacks across their lifetimes by Rama Tut, the Scarlet Centurion, Kang the Conqueror, and Kang’s final descendant, the sinister Scion?!" reads Marvel's official description of Fantastic Four #35.
"Still dealing with the repercussions of Doctor Doom's climactic wedding, the groundbreaking changes to the Fantastic Four's status quo are just beginning," it continues. "Plus: Mark Waid and Paul Renaud deliver dramatic new insights into the origin of the fabulous foursome in an all-new anniversary tale and a third story written and drawn by Jason Loo in his Marvel Comics debut!"
There was a previous Marvel character who used the name Scion, but that minor character has no apparent connection to Kang or his other identities.
Mark Waid's return to the main FF title is notable, as he previously wrote a fan-favorite run on Fantastic Four in the early '00s alongside artist Mike Wieringo that remains a highlight among the team's many eras over the years. Waid has returned to the FF before, with both an Invisible Woman limited series and a limited series alongside artist Neal Adams titled Fantastic Four: Anathema.
The untold aspects of the FF's past that Waid and Renaud's story will address apparently go all the way back even further in Marvel's history (even before Marvel Comics or the Marvel Universe technically existed) as Renaud has tweeted some art of WWII heroes including Captain America and Human Torch which the artist says relates to the story.
Work in progress for my FF book pic.twitter.com/yyVGOTD7w4May 12, 2021
Romita Jr.'s return to Marvel after a stint of a few years at DC has so far included some promotional art, but Fantastic Four #35 will mark his return to interiors for the publisher.
"I've read and been told by much smarter people, that 'luck is the residue of design' so I won't even attempt to claim I designed the events of these last few months, but I will take this kind of luck any day any time," Romita Jr. states. "I was lucky to begin my career with Marvel and now am extremely lucky to re-connect with Marvel. That's an enormous amount of good fortune. I sincerely thank all the folks up at Marvel, and Disney, who worked for this fortunate re-connection to happen."
Over the years, Romita Jr. has drawn nearly all of Marvel's major characters from the X-Men, to Daredevil, to Spider-Man, to the Avengers, and many more.
"To add to all this, and I hate to add a third section to my good fortune, is the opportunity to start off with a huge project, which is the 60th anniversary of the Fantastic Four!" Romita Jr. concludes. "It is an honor and extreme privilege to be asked to work on this along with a friend and former collaborator, Dan Slott! Along with ink artist JP Mayer, I am looking forward to this being up for viewing in August!"
Fantastic Four #35 is due out August 25 with a cover from Mark Brooks, seen here alongside uncolored interior pages from Romita Jr.
Stay tuned to Newsarama for Marvel's full August 2021 solicitations later this month.
We combed through hundreds of stories over 60 years to find the best Fantastic Four stories of all time.