I have to say, right off the bat, that I have NOT seen the recent Fantastic Four movie. I usually don’t let reviewers control my perception of a film, but this time the chorus was so unanimous that I figured it was better to wait until the film hit the Netflix-type venue. I couldn’t begin to say how uninterested I was in the motion picture!
Linked with that has been the news that Marvel is not bringing back the FF anytime soon. I’ve read a great many opinion pieces in the comics press begging the House of Ideas to bring them back as soon as possible! Otherwise, they could fade away into obscurity, never to appear anywhere again!
I have a different opinion.
LET THE FANTASTIC FOUR REST
The last time it was great, in my opinion, was back when Mark Waid was scripting it. As he often does, he took the team back to their roots as a family and rebuilt the book based on their “adventurer” status rather than, as he once put it, having a “4” signal shine on the New York night sky.
He was off the book way too soon to please me, and I’ve largely seen the main four heroes either be presumed dead or relegated to background status even in their own title. It’s a very bad sign when that happens, no matter how great the writer or artist may be!
Another thing I’ve seen happen is the replacement of one member of the team with another hero, like She-Hulk stepping in for The Thing. I understand that changing the group’s dynamic can lead to new story ideas, but I don’t think that should be happening now.
I know some of you will be shocked to hear me say this, but I agree with Marvel right now. For whatever reason, don’t keep grinding out mediocre FF tales. Give them a rest. To keep making poor FF will kill these characters more than anything else, I believe!
PUT THE ‘FANTASTIC’ BACK IN THE BOOK
My thoughts? I feel like many of the people who have been on the FF for years have been more worried about the “Four” part of it than the “Fantastic” portion of the title.
When I look back on those early Stan Lee/Jack Kirby days, it was the “fantastic” that drew me into the title. I mean, just look at all the truly amazing situations and people they encountered. Those creators made people and groups that Marvel is STILL using today, such as the Inhumans, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, the Watcher, the Kree and the Skrulls, the Frightful Four, the Negative Zone (yes, the Negative Zone!), Attuma, the Mad Thinker and the Mole Man. These were all new and all-different (to coin a phrase), and we haven’t seen the likes of them for many, many moons.
It’s important to make the characters breathe, and I loved the interaction between them all, particularly when the comic first launched. Ben and Johnny’s teasing each other as well as Sue’s and Richard’s subdued romantic inclinations helped us understand them enough so we cared about them. I think that, over the years, the children have overshadowed their parents because they’re too powerful or more of a blank slate writers could impose their own ideas on.
There’s a reason why the FF has been as classic as they have for so long. They were people we wanted to succeed facing incredible odds and obstacles! OF COURSE we pulled for them!
WAIT UNTIL THERE’S A GREAT IDEA TO BRING THEM BACK
I remember a long, long time ago, Marvel placed an ad in a publication that featured a young boy holding up a dime (or a quarter). The headline was something like, “Want to get his last dime? We’ll help!”
This is NOT the time for that kind of mentality (although Marvel’s making so many Secret Wars-related titles right now that they’re squeezing out lesser-known great comics in the process, I believe).
I highly recommend that folks considering rebooting the FF by making radical changes to the line-up or the group’s purpose go back and read the Lee/Kirby issues, then move on to when Mr. Waid was making the Fantastic Four. THAT is who they are; THAT is who they need to be, in my opinion.
I remember when DC said Green Lantern was a character who needed a racial change to be viable. Well, Geoff Johns did make “fantastic” things happen with Hal Jordan and the Corps, but they were true to who GL really was. The FF needs something like that!
I don’t care how long it takes, but I think Marvel should wait until they’ve got a writer/artist combination that understands the Fantastic Four at their very core before warping them into people we don’t recognize doing things we don’t care about. I think we’ll be ready for a GOOD Fantastic Four when it comes out!
What do you think? Should the FF come back immediately? If so, who should be working on this fundamental of all Marvel comics?