The cover may announce the Bride of Doom, but this is all Johnny Storm’s issue. But, not in any good way for him. Great dialogue, great art, and great twists too. From start to finish. A promising start to a storyline celebrating Marvel’s First Family’s 60th anniversary!
Fantastic Four #32 may well announce the impending wedding of Doctor Doom, but as the cover image suggest, this is all about Johnny Storm. And his very messy and turbulent love life. A love life coming back to bite him on his flaming ass.
Of course, the whole soulmate storyline that’s been building ever since Johnny and Sky bonded in a galaxy far, far away has always been something of an oddity, but things get very messy very quickly after the opening night of an exhibition highlighting Latverian art goes south very quickly. And Johnny reverts to type. It was always going to be a subplot that would be eventually be addressed, but talk about bad timing!
Not only does his ex-wife – the shape-shifting Skrull, Lyja – turn up to throw a spanner in the works, but a hot-headed and stupid decision he makes threatens not only his own relationship with Sky but may very well create ripples with long-lasting consequences for the whole Fantastic Four. No, stretch that. I’ll definitely have long-term repercussions! Even by his standards, this is one of the most bone-headed decisions he has taken. All beautifully handled by Dan Slott in not one but two great bits of bait-and-switch with the readers. Trust me, what is revealed is not what you were expecting!
Of course, for such an important storyline – and in an anniversary year of some importance – you need a high calibre artistic team. And we get not one but two in the form of R.B. Silva illustrating the main story and Javier Rodríguez drawing the back-up strip that sees Doom take on Reed Richards in a duel of both body and mind. The two double page spreads that gracefully choreograph their fencing prowess is a tour-de-force of both art and composition. If you saw the skills Rodríguez brought to last year’s History of the Marvel Universe mini-series, you’ll know the kind of originality and energy Javier brings to such comic book projects as this one. It certainly felt like one of those strips destined to be included in any Best of… collections in years to come. It felt like an iconic moment of Marvel history in the making, as reflected in my perfect score for this issue. And after one too many crossover issues, it’s good to see the Fantastic Four back in the full swing of things. Roll on the next issue!
Fantastic Four #32 is out now from Marvel