“Fantastic Four” #13 opens with a fragmented mosaic of imagery drawn by Leonard Kirk, inked by Karl Kesel and colored by Jesus Aburtov. Images that threaten to burst out of the panels fill the space with slivers of characters as Clayton Cowles’ letters dictate the immense fury of a mysterious, devastating attack.
Writer James Robinson’s fifth installment of the “East of Eden” storyline opens with chaos and turmoil as the writer begins to bring pieces back together for Marvel Comics’ First Family. Throughout his run, Robinson has investigated the connections the Fantastic Four have with the rest of the Marvel Universe and he continues to do so here, drawing in the Invaders, the Frightful Four, the Inhumans and the Fantastic Four from Matt Fraction’s run on “FF.” With so many characters packed into the panels of “Fantastic Four” #13, Robinson somehow keeps the story from becoming a mess, choosing instead to allocate panel time (and in some cases pertinent dialog) throughout the issue while keeping a tight spotlight on the Richards’ family and Benjamin Grimm.
Kirk follows Robinson’s lead, pushing priority characters further forward while providing plenty of space for the vast assortment of marvelous characters dictated by the writer. The penciler uses a fun variety of panel shapes to keep “Fantastic Four” #13 rolling, and does a brilliant job of casting characters in different body types and faces. Kirk’s treatment of Namor’s reaction to Camp Hammond’s attacker is priceless and may very well be the greatest single image of a surprised Sub-Mariner ever created. Inker Karl Kesel adds magnificent density to Kirk’s drawings, but does so in a clinical manner, polishing the work and enhancing it, without subjugating it. Colorist Jesus Aburtov follows suit, adding depth and detail and, sometimes backdrops throughout this comic book over a variety of settings that include Camp Hammond, New Eden, Ryker’s Island and California.
Robinson does a magnificent job of offering the reader substantiation on the story he has been building since “Fantastic Four” #1. The disparate storylines begin to dovetail together in this comic book, but Robinson keeps the mystery and the scope under wraps, giving readers just enough to trigger reactions and garner anticipation. The writer doesn’t deliver the big reveal in “Fantastic Four” #13, but he does prove to readers that they couldn’t have been more wrong about whatever they thought might be happening in the first half of this series. This issue puts the First Family back in the heart of the Marvel Universe, and for at least reminds readers that this is “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” as this story continues to build into a classic in the making.