Review: FANTASTIC FOUR #3

FANTASTIC FOUR #3
Written by James Robinson
Art by Leonard Kirk
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 23, 2014

FANFOUR2014003_DC11_LRThe First Family of Marvel Comics continues to fracture as forces conspire against the Fantastic Four in issue #3 by James Robinson and Leonard Kirk.

James Robinson is coming at this family full force, attacking Johnny Storm’s powers and throwing threat after threat at the team. He’s not messing around, titling this arc “The Fall of the Fantastic Four”, and the high stakes of the threat coming at them from the shadows looms over the comic at all times. Robinson writes these characters well, especially with respect to them being a family. There is genuine concern coming from the characters about what has happened to Johnny, and in this issue Sue spends time with the kids of the Future Foundation, showing the extended family that has been built around the Four. With the primary team threatened you can’t help but feel the loved ones of the Four may also come under fire, and the undertones of dread run through this comic at all times. Robinson finds a way to keep the book from being all doom and gloom, however. He writes this comic like a grand Golden Age adventure in it’s grand scope and themes, but with modern storytelling sensibilities. This tone really captures what is great about the Fantastic Four without dumbing the story down to the kind of dialogue and straightforward plot lines found in early F4 adventures. Robinson balances the many plot threads of this series well, and gives readers a good bang for their buck with this issue. There is a lot going on and the story is always moving forward, with a really entertaining cliffhanger featuring some old “friends” of the family. He does a good job of covering all the moving plot pieces in this comic, and writes a really solid story. His comfort level with the characters is becoming more apparent as the series moves on and it feels like Robinson is hitting his stride with this issue.

…And so is Leonard Kirk! Kirk is settling in nicely with this series, delivering solid art from start to finish. He captures the fantastical nature of the F4’s adventures well, from a sight seeing trip with the Foundation in an exotic locale, to the various parts of Reed’s lab, every panel has some aspect that is visually engaging. Kirk’s style suits this story very well, and he and Robinson work well together to tell this tale. His layouts are great throughout the issue and he highlights the emotions of the family well. With respect to The Thing, in particular, Kirk does a great job of showing emotion through Ben’s old baby blues, adding dimension to the character and making sure readers can’t help but love the big, rocky, powerhouse. The one complaint I have with the art in the comic is some of the colour work by Jesus Aburtov. At times, characters are so glossy their skin appears to be reflective, which threw me off at times. His work is strong during many parts of the issue, but the level of glare from skin was jarring at points, and took away from the skilled work of Kirk and his colouring elsewhere.

Fantastic Four #3 is a very solid comic that showcases how the series is hitting its stride. Big threats are looming for the Family and we get a nice check-in with the supporting cast that has made Fantastic Four and FF such fan favourite titles the past few years. Robinson and Kirk are definitely in sync and their work in this issue shows this team is capable of great things. This comic captures the adventurous spirit of the Fantastic Four perfectly and Robinson & Kirk have me hooked.

The Verdict: 8.5/10

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