Comic Reviews: Fantastic Four and Sandman Universe!
Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s been a dark time for Fantastic Four fans. The past few years have seen the team removed from the Marvel publishing slate, and whether that was due to declining sales, a way to build up anticipation for their inevitable return, or because the head publisher didn’t want to be promoting a property that Marvel didn’t have the film rights to, their absence has been felt. But luckily with the team returning with Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli’s Fantastic Four #1, the team is brought back to their glory days, and are ready to take back their title as “Marvel’s First Family”.
Just not in this issue.
If you’re waiting for the Fantastic Four to return to their former glory, you’ll be waiting a little longer than you might want to. I won’t spoil the events of this issue, but I will say that those of use who’ve been following The Thing and the Human Torch in Marvel Two-In-One will definitely feel a lot of deja vu while reading this opening issue, and possibly even get some spoilers from that series as well. You do get a nice flashback of an unknown adventure with the team, which showcases Dan Slott’s ability to effectively give each member of the team their own unique voice.
Speaking of Slott, I was a little concerned over how he’d handle the Four. While I’ve been a defender of his run on Amazing Spider-Man, I’ve been pretty cool on his work on Silver Surfer and the recent Tony Stark: Iron Man. Unfortunatley, there’s not a lot to gleam from this issue for his take on the whole team, but he does have a solid handle on Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm, giving the two of them some very nice, brotherly moments, so I have high hopes for his takes on Reed and Sue.
Sarah Pichelli is easily one of, if not THE, best artists that Marvel has right now, and Fantastic Four is a great showcase for her. While there’s a definite lack of crazy space adventures in this issue, her depictions of the Thing and Human Torch are of the same quality we’ve come to expect from her, and like Slott’s writing, I have some high hopes for this run under her pencils.
While Fantastic Four #1 isn’t the slam dunk, outrageous opening issue that I was hoping for, I’m still extremely curious in what lies ahead for Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben. Slott clearly has a lot of enthusiasm for this aspect of the Marvel Universe, and that’s one of the reasons why I thought his run on Spider-Man was so well done. While I don’t think he’ll be on FF for quite as long as he was on Spidey, his enthusiasm is contagious, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming down the road for the Four.
Sandman Universe #1 (Vertigo/DC Comics)
Despite being finished for over two decades, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman has still been churning out new stories from the acclaimed fantasy world. After the (much-delayed) Sandman Overture, we now have another Sandman tie-in special designed to kick start the upcoming newly relaunched Vertigo Comics. While Gaiman doesn’t have as big a hand in this special as with his previous works on Morpheus, Sandman Universe will still fill the nearly insatiable desire for all things Gaiman that his fans want, and might even turn these new series into hits.
Morpheus is missing. The king of dreams has abandoned his castle, leaving Matthew the Raven to search through the dreamscape to locate him. As he makes his way through the twisting world around him, he encounters new and familiar faces, all in the midst of their own adventures.
That doesn’t make for a thrilling plot, I know, but writers Simon Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson, and Dan Watters all throw in engaging nuggets of their respective stories, and they lead to some pretty intriguing cliffhangers for Sandman side characters like Lucifer and Books of Magic‘s Tim Hunter. Whether you’ll want to pick up one or all of the titles is up to you, but credit goes to all four writers for making sure this special actually has a coherent narrative throughway.
Credit also goes to the artists on this book, who all have a distinctive style for their respective series, but also make sure to compliment the overarching style of the book. Sebastian Fiumara, Max Fiumara, Tom Fowlker,Domonike Stanton, and Biquis Evely all work wonders on this book, and craft each story with a unique style all it’s own, but also allows for the overall book to not feel completely jarring as it bounces from one location and set of characters to the other.
While Sandman Universe is clearly designed to get you to purchase additional comics, the end result could have been a lot worse than what we got. Like I mentioned earlier, the success of this book getting you to pick up any of these series will vary, but likely if you’re already a fan of Gaiman’s work, you’ll want to at least be checking some of these spin-offs out.
Posted on August 8, 2018, in Comic reviews and tagged Dan Slott, Dan Watters, DC Comics, Fantastic Four, Marvel Comics, Neil Gaiman, Sandman Universe, Sara Pichelli, Si Spurrier, Tom Fowler, Vertigo Comics. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.