Ultimate Fantastic Four #4 Review

Reviewer: “Starman” Matt Morrison
Story Title: The Fantastic (Part Four)

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Millar
Penciled by: Adam Kubert
Inked by: John Dell
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Publisher: Marvel Comics

There’s an old Fantastic Four comic from the Lee and Kirby days. I forget the issue number, but I remember the moment. The Mole Man has the entire team at his mercy in his underground city and says something to the effect of “But before I kill you, let me explain my brilliant plan to take over the world!”

This issue has much the same feel as that classic moment, being devoted for the most part toward The Mole Man (or is that the Mold Man now- his minions having been grown in a lab) explaining his plans for revenge on those who mocked him to a captive Sue Storm. Sue is quite safe from death, though. Of course, death may be preferable to eternal confinement in a lost underground city where your only companions are a group of leg-humping mold-midgets and a fat man whose proclaimed paternal affection for you seems to be more romantic than anything else. This moment epitomizes the book and how Bendis and Millar are taking the classic moments of the good ol’ days of the last 40 years of Fanastic Four and slowly reenacting them while adding a few modern touches… like leg-humping mold men.

In all seriousness, we do get to see some “famous firsts” here including the first time Reed has to wrap himself around an angry Ben Grimm, the first time Johnny says “Flame on!” to get his powers to work and the first time Sue Storm is taken hostage and is unable to do anything but gape in horror…

Well, that’s more like the “bad old” days of Lee and Kirby. Still, at least Sue isn’t thinking about how she should get her hair done and at least maintains enough presence to question her captor. I’m just worried that she is going to be stuck in the classic “damsel in distress” role and will not progress out of the quite justifiable panic that she is in now. Still, time will tell.

While the story is a bit on the slow side, you would never know it from the art. Adam Kubert is one of the best in this business and manages to portray the sheer epic scale of an underground city or a stone giant with an excitement worthy of the long history of the Fantastic Four.