Last week in From The House of Ideas, we took a look at Dan Slott’s current run on Fantastic Four (you can read it here, if you’re so inclined). Well, the FF manage to get some focus two weeks in a row, but this time out it’s not in their ongoing series, but rather in the first issue of relatively new concept of Marvel takes.
The Life Story concept began last year with Spider-Man: Life Story, written by Chip Zdarksy and illustrated by Mark Bagley. Each issue of the limited series traced a certain decade in the life of Peter Parker, who was aged appropriately for each issue. It was a solid series, unencumbered by canon.
Fantastic Four: Life Story is following the same tradition. In honour of the team’s 60th anniversary, writer Mark Russell and artist Sean Izaakse have gone back to the very beginning of the FF’s classic origin. Set in the early 1960s, with JFK still alive and in office and competing with Russsia in the Cold War, Reed Richards is tasked with getting the U.S. into space post-haste. And with a rocket ship he’s come up with, he manages to do so, taking with him his colleague and girlfriend Susan Storm, her much younger brother Johnny, and a pilot named Ben Grimm, who in a twist on the usual origin story, is brought in to the story by Johnny rather than Reed.
It’s the cool tweaks, subtle and not so subtle that made Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 a fun first issue. If you’re remotely a Marvel fan, you know how the FF became who they are; that origin story and how they respond is a huge part of their appeal. This book manages to keep the tone and idea spot on, even as it Russell and Izaakse play with its roots.
There’s so much Fantastic Four history to pull from and in Life Story #1 the creative team do a solid job of honouring the source material while also managing to add something new to their classic story. As the Devourer of Worlds Galactus might say, I hunger to see how this series unfolds.