I would consider myself a Dan Slott fan. Slott, for the non-comic readers out there, is the writer who steered the Amazing Spider-Man ship for a decade, and created the Spider-Verse storyline you’ve likely heard about thanks to the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse animated film. Slott also made Otto Octavios into the Superior Spider-Man, generating an outstanding run of comics that were funny, action-filled, and thoughful.
If his tenured Spider-Man run was all he had to show for himself, Dan Slott would still have gone down as a great writer. But, working with the uber-talented Michael Allred and Laura Allred, he also crafted what may go down as the greatest series of Silver Surfer stories in comicdom, inspired by Slott’s unabashed love of Doctor Who.
Now, the writer is doing his thing with Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four. The FF had disappeared from the Marvel Universe following Secret Wars, the epic conclusion to Jonathan Hickman’s incredible run of Marvel books that went through iterations of Fantastic Four and Avengers. If you haven’t read Hickman’s work on all those books, I highly recommend clearing about six month of reading time and indulge. It’s some of the best writing you’ll come across.
There have been other writers since Hickman to guide the lives of Reed Richard, Susan Richards, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, and none of them were able to capture the gravitas and play epic nature of his run. So, in my book, Dan Slott had some pressure walking into the hallowed halls of the Baxter Building (even though he doesn’t quite make in, actually). Judging by his first four issues, compiled last week into a new trade collection, Fantastic Four by Dan Slott Volume 1: Fourever, he’s going to do just fine. Slott gets his work off to a big start, having Ben Grimm propose to his longtime love, Alicia Masters. Meanwhile, Johnny Storm has been awaiting the return for the thought-dead Reed and Sue, along with their kids Valeria and Franklin. It’s when he’s about to accept that they’re not coming back that Johnny and Ben are reuniting with their family, who have been gallivanting across the galaxy (galaxies), creating new worlds following the events of Secret Wars.
Honestly, I’m not going to explain it all here, and really, you don’t have to know too much of that particular backstory. The FF were gone, now they’re back.
The story so far has been the sort of family fun you’d hope for; Slott’s got the character voices down nicely, and the artwork from Sara Pichelli is a good fit for the book. Fantastic Four has always been about family dynamics, and the creators haven’t wasted any time in bringing those to the fore. I do want to see Slott and company aim big, though. I hope we get something akin to Spider-Verse or Superior Spider-Man; big epic tales that hit all the right character notes while still telling new stories. It’s early days, and we’re not there yet with Fantastic Four, but here’s hoping. Meanwhile, it’s just nice to have the FF back together again.
Fantastic Four by Dan Slott Volume 1: Fourever is available now.