Saturday, 6 June 2015

Fantastic Four Vol.2: Road Trip (Marvel NOW!) Review

Fantastic Four Vol. 2: Road Trip (Marvel NOW)

Another night in (insert dodgy local suburb
here).
Writer: Matt Fraction

Artists: Mark Bagley and Andre Araujo

Collects: Fantastic Four #4-8 and #5AU

Background Information:

In the previous volume, Fantastic Four father figure and resident genius Reed Richards (also known as Mr Fantastic) discovered that whatever was giving him, The Invisible Woman (Sue Richards) The Thing (Ben Grimm) and The Human Torch (Johnny Storm) superpowers was also killing them. Determined to beat it, he took the entire family on a trip through space and time to find the cure to their predicament.

He just told everyone it was a vacation.

Which is not going to bite him on the backside at all.

Review:

A labour of love... are words that nobody would use to describe Road Trip.

Not to say it's a bad series, but it's clear that Matt Fraction has been having more fun writing books like Hawkeye than he has with Fantastic Four.

In what I guess must be typical Fraction fashion (anyone want to clarify for me) the issues in Road
Trip are only vaguely connected. One issue is about a planet whose myths revolve around the Four, another sees the family witnessing the death of Ceaser. Another still sees Ben becoming human for a day. When Fraction did this in Hawkeye, it was charming. I don't know exactly why it's less so here, but this time it feels like pointless padding.
Kids,  today we're learning
What Fraction gets right, though, is characterisation. The Four feel exactly like a comic book family should; true-to-life interactions, kids that somehow manage to sound like kids while discussing complex comic-science, and two uncles that are uncles in every sense of the word are what makes Road Trip shine.

Another thing to love about this book is that it's only technically connected to the events of the greater Marvel universe. We spend most of the book in space and at no point do we have to deal with the Nova corps, the Guardians of the Galaxy, or the fact that Iron Man is in space. At times, the Marvel universe can feel too connected, and it's nice to get some relief from it.
Just sayin'; this was a good issue. I liked this issue.

Unfortunately, it doesn't feel like enough to make up for the fact that  Road Trip is an entire volume of filler. Entertaining filler is still filler and by the end, I was left wondering why I was even reading the collection.

The end of Road Trip suggests that there is something truly interesting in the next volume, but for now, this book gets three out of five filler issues.

***

+ Nails family dynamics.
+ Little mention of the wider Marvel universe.
- An entire volume of filler.

Alternate Option: Fantastic For: New Departure, New Arrivals.

Start at the renumbered beginning.