The Fantastic Four is not an easy book to write. 53 years ago (yikes!) Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created one of the most imaginative and “fantastic” comics ever since Superman and Batman, using things like super science, monsters, high adventure and the family dynamic to create The Fantastic Four. Marvel’s First Family was guided by its original creative team for over 100 issues plus various annuals and since then every other creative team has tried, some better then others, to keep the torch lit and the light shining on everything that made this team as great as it is.
March 2014, James Robinson takes the helm in the new Marvel Now. A new #1 issue hits the shelves and our first family is once again presented to its existing audience and polished up to draw in new readers with this new first issue. Initial thoughts..on the surface all cosmetic. First off, new costumes. Over the years our team has gone from Blue to Black to White and now Red as their primary costume color. I didn’t like it…being the grumpy old comic reader set in his ways that i am…but after finishing issue one I can say that the red suits them. Next was the new title font. Also didn’t like it and that pretty much stays the same. Little too plain for my tastes, it would be nice to revisit the original FF Font along with the bold “Worlds Greatest Comic Magazine” standing front and center. But still, all this is just cosmetic. As a book, Robinson hit it out of the park with this one. We have the family back from their long and not to be remembered journey into the whatever verse that Matt Faction forced us to endure last year and back on earth. Robinson sets up seeds for our future story via Susan writing in her diary, a present day conflict giving us a call back the the “Age of Monsters” in Marvel with the FF taking out Fin Fang Foom (paying careful attention to Foom’s back history I may add) and finally giving each member of the team their due, Reed and Sue happy together, Johnny setting up his career and finally Ben getting back together with his love Alicia.
If anything, James Robinson has shown me again and again that he can take a title and give it all the attention and creative excitement it deserves and I’m certain after this first issue that The Fantastic Four will shine this year under his direction.
So begins our first steps into the Millarworld brought to us by the fine folks at Image Comics. If you happen to be a loyal customer at the shop I work at (That’s Entertainment) then you’ve heard me mention to anyone within ear shot that Image has been on their game for the last few years, publishing very high end books of all genres that are totally worth the look. So whenever they put on a new issue one I tend to pay attention to it, and with an author like Mark Millar I just had to move this one to the top of my read pile.
Starlight is the story of Duke McQueen, a retired ace pilot and space hero who, forty years ago, lived one of the greatest adventures of his lifetime when his experimental spaceship fell through a wormhole and thrust him into a classic and iconic adventure very much like those of early Flash Gordon serials. Millar takes the reader on a multi level journey within this tale, presenting us with bits of classic sic fi from the characters past, the importance of his family life and love for his now passed on wile along with the tale of an older man coping with life alone and children that aren’t there any longer. As i said, this story hits it on so many levels, I can see this title going on for quite a while. With all the stunning work of the rest of the creative team, you should definitely give Starlight a chance. You won’t be disappointed.