This is called a one-shot, but what it really is what I like to call a “Too good for a fill-in” issue. Essentially, this one-shot by Karl Kesel and Lee Weeks (with inks by Robert Campanella and Tom Palmer) reads just like a fill-in issue of the Fantastic Four. It is just about the length of an issue (I think it is 23 pages instead of 22). However, it is probably a bit too well-written to waste as a fill-in issue, and add in the fact that, post Civil War, an issue featuring the full FF probably wouldn’t fit in, and it makes sense to issue this as a one-shot, paired with a classic FF reprint (from the Byrne era – not one of his best issues).
The issue is basically an examination of the Fantastic Four as a family, but more importantly, the Storms as a family. We are all used to looking at the FF as a “family,” with Reed and Sue as the parents and Johnny and Ben as the kids (and didn’t Morrison want to have Sue and Johnny lusting for each other? Just joking!! That one was for you, Man of the Atom!). However, the fact that Johnny and Sue are ACTUAL blood relatives often gets short shrift in the title, and Kesel examines their bond in thie issue, and he does so quite well, I thought.
In addition, he looks at Johnny’s sense of responsibility. From the perspective of the other teammates not THINKING Johnny has all that strong of one to the realization that his sense is stronger than you would expect.
Finally, let’s be realistic, while Sue dies, and it isn’t a “hoax,” at the end of the issue, she IS alive. How she is brought back is interesting, as Johnny clearly demonstrates that he understands the limitations of his act, but he can’t help but do SOMEthing. Clever stuff.
Top notch work by Kesel.
Meanwhile, Lee Weeks continues to amaze me with his ability to draw nicely in differing styles. Here, he evokes the infamous “Kirby ‘house style,'” of the 70s and early 80s, but he makes it sparkle. Good job by both inkers.
Whether you enjoy the second story or not (oh, and there’s also one of those Franklin Richards stories – those are pretty good, too, even if you’ve read this particular one 7,208 times), this is a good comic book. I recommend it without reservation.
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