Fantastic Four #9 (Marvel)


Rating: 3.5/5 – Another stand alone story enjoyable all on it’s own

Fantastic Four number 9 keeps the trend in this latest Fantastic Four series of telling stand alone stories while still tying into the overall arc.  This issue’s focus for the second month in a row is mostly on Ben Grimm, but this time he shares the spotlight with longtime villain Dr. Doom.  In this issue Ben feels that he may have been more responsible than previously thought for the creation of Dr. Doom and, just like in previous issues, they travel back in time to the exact moment of Doom’s origin to witness it first hand.  It’s a simple yet effective plot that tries to bring some minor changes to Doom’s and the Fantastic Four’s origin while still honoring all that’s come before.

Writer Matt Fraction’s take on this Fantastic Four keeps to the long tradition of a family of explorers that not only travel to strange locales, but to different times as well.  In just the last three issues alone we’ve seen them travel to witness the “Big Crunch” at the end of time, to a small story where Ben fights off the Yancy Street Gang in old New York, to this issue’s focus on Doom and the FF’s college years.  Matt Fraction is doing his best so that each issue can stand on it’s own with you only needing to know the basics of the Fantastic Four to understand these stories.  For example, even though this issue deals with Doom’s origin, we’re given a full page splash by artist Mark Bagley that tells us all we need to know of this long standing villain.

Although Mark Bagley’s art style fits this series well, some of the pages and panels can be inconsistent.  At times his panels can look rushed, especially when trying to include the large amount of characters that are part of the story.  At one point we see, much like on the cover, Dooms from all different time streams.  In these panels, some of the Doom characters look bland and rough.  Although some of the designs of the different Dr. Dooms are creative and fun, they loose some of their impact by losing some of the detail.

Fantastic Four continues to tell done-in-one stories that can be picked up and enjoyed without having to understand all that’s come before.  That’s a rarity in today’s market.  Writer Matt Fraction continues to give us single issue stories that can stand on their own and this one is no different.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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