Once a year, Ben Grimm gets to spend 24-hours in his natural human form. With what little time he has, he decides to go back to a certain point in time to prevent something terrible happening to someone he knows. Instead, he comes across a pair of hoodlums accosting a hard working businessman and decides to help teach the punks a lesson. Meanwhile, Franklin and Valeria tell their parents of a dream they had containing a secret Ben has been hiding from everyone.
Matt Fraction is doing a wonderful job following Jonathan Hickman in writing Fantastic Four. He has a clear understanding of the kind of stories he wants to tell, where family is key. This issue concentrates heavily on Ben, not so much on his desire to be completely human, but rather his perceived notion of righting wrongs. But think the thing that will really jump out most with this issue is its reference to Age of Ultron. In fact, this is the first comic where the mainstream storyline does so and it sets the stage for what could be a very intriguing arc that will run with both this and FF.
The artwork by Mark Bagley works perfectly with the story being told. Bagley has a clear understand of how the scene should work and the best way to make it pleasing to the readers. He is also quite careful to make sure that the look of the characters fit with the story. I look at the Fantastic Four and I see them as the warm, loving family that they are who do what is necessary when the time calls for it. There’s a nice quality to go from Ben engaged in a slug-fest in the rain to Franklin and Valeria excited with glee over their next time travel destination. Just look at how cute they are hiding in the corner with smiles on their face even though Reed and Sue are giving Ben the “you’re in deep trouble” glare.
Matt Fraction has turned into more than a worthy successor to Fantastic Four following the phenomenal success of Jonathan Hickman. He is writing such wonderful stories that remind readers the true heart and soul of the series, that being family and how important and precious it is to the team. Mark Bagley is quite frankly the perfect illustrator to bring the story to life and is able to create drawings that bring a smile to my face. I highly recommend Fantastic Four to any reader, even those who have yet to climb on board. This is turning into a fun ride.
If you had 24-hours to be who you really are, what would you do? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.