A Fast Paced, Engaging Read With A Mighty Cruel Trick: Reviewing ‘Fantastic Four’ #42

by Olly MacNamee


‘Fantastic Four’ #42 is another rollercoaster ride of a comic with the FF getting some much needed help in this Reckoning War from all quarters. Reed plays a mean trick on one of his oldest friends – and the reader – which only adds to the drama of this issue. Great art, great story and a great issue overall.


The Reckoning War rolls on in Fantastic Four #42 as Dan Slott (writer), Rachel Stott (artist), Jesus Aburtov, Erick Arciniega (colourists) and Joe Caramanga (letterer) deliver a fast paced and powerful chapter in the ongoing conflict. With so many players now on the board, Slott does well to juggle them all and drop in on each and everyone involved while still developing the story with plenty of drama. 

In a comic that sets out to depict a war of such magnitude it would be very easy to just fall back on one action seen after another, but here Slott shows his chops with plenty of important moments for both the characters and the story. Reed Richards, now overwhelmed by the intelligence of the Watcher he has uploaded into his own already powerful brain, has scant day left to live. But, that doesn’t mean he won’t go out fighting. It’s just that in this issue that fighting is done as a result of playing a cruel, albeit necessary, trick on Ben Grimm (and us, the reader) who goes to town on Reed’s face. But then, with the super-intelligent state Reed is currently in, he’s not quite himself.  

Meanwhile we get to eavesdrop on the Watchers courtesy of Nick Fury, as well as catching up with She-Hulk, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the StarJammers and the Skrull/Kree empire, and many more; all helping out in the war across the stars. It’s certainly a large cast of characters with Slott able to allow the major players the space they need to move the story on.

Rachel Stott’s artwork continues to amaze. In a recent interview with Slott he explained to me how Stott had been somewhat pigeonholed as an artist due to her uncanny ability to capture the likenesses of real-life actors in parts like Doctor Who. And so, these were the art gigs that she was getting offered. But on this title she is more than showing her potential. And on a storyline that could be very daunting given its many various cosmic – and more earthly – settings and scenarios. I have a feeling she will be given far more opportunities on mainstream Marvel (or DC Comics) books in the future. But for now I’m happy for her involvement in this particular tale. Like many of today’s artists, Stott favours strong, unfussy line work. You’ll see no crosshatching here, and the smoothness this brings to the art certainly helps when each panel is so busy. This and a great sense of depth helps keep the reader focussed and engaged in the moment. 

Helping delineate each different scenario are the colourists Jesus Aburtov and Erick Arciniega. In utilising slightly different colour palettes for each setting we find our various group of dispersed characters in helps compartmentalise the action and prevents it from become a confusing reading experience. And, rounding off a well-crafted, fun and enjoyable issue is letterer Joe Caramanga who does well in setting out the rather large script and dialogue around so much action.

Big on action, big on drama and big on art. A dramatic issue with large scale action and large scale consequences too. 

Fantastic Four #42 is out now from Marvel Comics

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