A journey into a realm of the mind and a little bit of teenage drama…  but which will be more dangerous?  Your Major Spoilers review of Fantastic Four #31 from Marvel Comics awaits!

FANTASTIC FOUR #31

Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: R.B. Silva
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 28, 2021

Previously in Fantastic FourThe moment Mister Fantastic has been waiting for has finally arrived – he can finally use the Forever Gate to explore somewhere NEW –  to travel forth to a realm in the Marvel Universe where no one has ever gone before!  So of course he’s going to need his best friend and test pilot, Ben Grimm, by his side!  Join the FF’s two dads as they venture into the great unknown!

A LITTLE FAMILY BONDING TIME

After the events of the last few issues, Reed finds that he’s no longer connecting with his best friend, Ben.  In order to try and rectify this, he wakes up early and invites The Thing to enjoy him on a jaunt through the Forever Gate, exploring places no human has ever gone before.  He is immediately rewarded with scientific curiosities beyond his wildest dreams, but things are much more tense back home.  Valeria is getting over her first bad breakup, and Bentley 23 (the clone of the Wizard from the Future Foundation days) is trying to find a way to tell her he’s interested.  Franklin is angry and acting out, taking a Fantasticar out without permission and leaving his puzzled mother behind, while Alicia bonds with her new Skrull daughter.  In space, Reed realizes that they’ve landed in a region where their every thought comes to life, but (thanks to Bentley being a jerk), they can’t get home, and worse still, Ben keeps worrying about all the bad guys who might show up to punch them, causing those guys to show up to punch them…

AKA #676

It’s the last few pages of this issue that really make me happy, as Franklin Richards avoids the cliche of “Let’s go see Doc Samson!” and ends up working with Trauma, the psychic therapist from Slott’s ‘Avengers: The Initiative’ book.  It’s a strong moment, made even stronger as Frank sits down to do the work of unraveling his anger.  The issue has more than one moment that works that well, with Sue and Johnny having a sibling discussion that feels like a real conversation between family members, and Bentley’s discomfort at explaining his feelings is all-too-familiar.  The art is really spectacular this time around, especially the design of the space armor that Reed and Ben sport, but every quiet moment of conversation is equally exciting and dramatic, especially Alicia’s emotional interaction with her daughter.  Best of all, this issue doesn’t lose the thread of the overarching threat of The Griever, but folds it all in to the story in a way that feels entirely natural.

BOTTOM LINE: YOU HAD AT ME AT “FRANKLIN IN THERAPY”

In short, Fantastic Four #31 is a great example of how to do the “housekeeping issue” without having it all feel like a series of vignettes that doesn’t make for a complete reading experience, with truly impressive art combining with a heartfelt story for a better-than-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  Dan Slott’s take on the FF once again successfully balances the family and adventure aspects, building on things we’ve seen before without feeling like a Lee/Kirby clip show, and that alone is worth the price of admission.


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FANTASTIC FOUR #31

73%
73%
Good Stuff

The Fantastic Four doesn't really get the breather issue that another comic team might, but this one serves the same purpose and makes for a good read.

  • Writing
    7
  • Art
    8
  • Coloring
    7
  • User Ratings (0 Votes)
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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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