The recent developments of the Fantastic Four are some of the most bizarre in the history of the medium, or at least they would seem to be. One of the widest ranging developments in the medium of comic books is recent years actually comes from another medium, that of movies. With the successful roll-out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it changes how comics are seen and consumed, as company wide stories are now possible for Marvel and DC Comics. Although Marvel got the ball rolling and has a good lead thus far on its shared universe film universes, it does have a distinct disadvantage, that being while DC has almost all of the rights to its major players, Marvel’s were sold off piece by piece long ago. Thus while the Marvel Cinematic Universe is popular, it can be said for some fans that it contains mostly Marvel’s B-List of heroes while the remainder are held by other companies. Although Spider-Man seems ready to be re-intergrated into the fold, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four are still outliers, and though it would complicate the MCU, they are still properties that Marvel Films would most definitely want to get back. This fueled the rumors about the demise of the Fantastic Four in the comics. It is apparently taking an approach more in line with the Ultimates version of the team, and it would seem that no one at Marvel is happy, to the point that they are breaking up the Fantastic Four to spite them.
That much is conjecture about the behind-the-door dealings of the film business, but what is a certainty is that this is the last issue of the Fantastic Four, and that it will be the last issue for a while, with various plans for the characters. Johnny is joining the Inhumans, Reed is going to go missing, and Sue is going to go looking for him. For those that have been following the Fantastic Four, there is obviously a story to wrap up from this run of 18 issues, and it wastes no time in getting to that. It wraps it up, almost too efficiently, and as an ending it probably would have fallen a bit flat, but there is a lot more here than that. It is the follow up stories which really do this issue justice as a final issue. It focuses on what makess the Fantastic Four such a strong concept, that they are family first and a superhero team second. The stories explore some of the finer points of the characters, while also showing why this team has always so much soul.
It is these stories which act as the best send-off for a team that we probably won’t be seeing again for a while, at least not until the followup story lines are resolved. For followers of the medium and especially those of the superheroes stories, there are likely few that have not been exposed to the Fantastic Four in one way or another, and so the stories are inhrently approachable, and in this case even non-fans of the team and its characters will find enough to take away in this issue to rank it a worthy of a look. It is with a sad heart for the diehard fans that this is the end for now, but as they say in the issue Fantastic Four Fourever, and it is inevitable that these characters return to the team in the long run.
Story: James Robinson Art, Karl Kesel, Louise Simonson, Tom DeFalco and Jeff Parker Art: Leonard Kirk, Joe Bennett, David Marquez, Tom Grummett and Pascal Campion
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy