I know this one is a week and change late, but it’s been busy around here! First off there is one big spoiler for the issue, which if you’re not living under a rock you likely already know: The team is not reunited this issue. That said, we can get into the review!
This issue had a lot of variants. I only picked up one, namely because it was the one that attracted my eye. My days of buying multiple copies of the same issue are long past(They ended with Heroes Return). I grabbed the cover featuring the team walking towards the reader, back lit so their facial features aren’t visible. Reed and Sue are holding hands, and Johnny and Ben stand on either side of them. It’s a beautiful cover.
This book contains two stories, and each has its own artist. Sarah Pichelli does the main FF focused story, and Simone Bianchi does the Doom-centric story.
Pichelli does an excellent job on the FF story. It feel hopeful(which I feel is essential to these characters), and the way she draws Johnny Storms cockiness is great. The book not only looks like an FF story, it feels that way too.
Secondly is Bianchi’s work on the Doom story. Latveria is a dark and hopeless place, and it is very much drawn that way. It’s war-torn and has been under the heel of despots and strong-men for years and looks and feels that way. Doom, even outside of his trademarked armor looks imposing. Even though he’s not the villain he once was, he still looks intimidating and has an aura of fear emanating from him.
The first story, “Signal in the Sky” focuses on Johnny and Ben. Johnny as he is chomping at the bit waiting for Reed and Sue to return, and Ben trying to move on with his life. Ben has felt that Reed and Sue were dead for quite some time, whereas Johnny has remained hopeful. The issue is a neat exploration of the two, with a great story told by The Thing hearkening back to an untold FF adventure. When all hope is finally lost for Johnny, Reed and Sue make an announcement from another dimension.
The second story, “Our Day of Doom and Victory” focuses on Doom and his return to Latveria. At first he is content to hide, holed up in his castle, until a freedom fighter breaks in and convinces him that his people need him. She tells him that the visage that the world knows him for speaks hope to the Latverian people, at that, Doom is convinced, and takes the field to free his country.
Dan Slott wrote the whole issue, and while not what many, myself included, were expecting, it was still a good read. The first story dripped of nostalgia, and the story told by Ben is very much a highlight of that. The second story gave Doom a focus going forward, and I like the idea of him as a sort of benevolent dictator. I really hope he doesn’t go back to just being a token villain.
All told this was a good issue. It wasn’t the best issue I’ve read, but I can see that Slott is clearly playing a long game with this series, and like that he’s not rushing the story just to get a quick pop. It is worth reading.