As you learned on Thursday here at CBR, Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo will be returning to Marvel's "Fantastic Four" with issue #509 of the series, the issue that was to be the first without them. While this news pleased fans on comics forums around the Web, this left one very important question, what about the creative team the company originally assigned to the title to begin with issue #509, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Steve McNiven?
Late Friday Marvel Comics answered that question and more. First, the company made the Waid/Wieringo announcement official and giving details of a three month event celebrating the Fantastic Four.
It all begins this December with the launch of "Ultimate Fantastic Four," by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Millar with art by Adam Kubert. January sees the return of Waid/Wierigno in issue #509. This issue kicks off a brand new story arc called "Hereafter."
Mark Waid said in a release, "The story is about the Fantastic Three ...whoops, did I say 'Three'? ... the Fantastic Three taking their greatest adventure yet by storming a realm new to them, one they've heard of but have never before seen.
"Yes, the Fantastic Three..."
"Fandom spoke and so did our own hearts, and we listened to both," Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada remarked in a release, referring to the very negative and vocal reaction the public had to the announced firing of the creative team. "Never let it be said that at Marvel we can't own up to our mistakes. I'm just thrilled that Mark and Mike decided to stay after all the craziness that went down. Fandom rejoice, it's salad days for the FF you know and love!"
"The way Joe's apologized in public for what he feels was, in retrospect, Marvel's rather odd decision certainly went a long way in getting us back," continued Waid. "Mike and I had discussed other projects elsewhere, but in the end, the pull of the FF and the fun we're having there was indisputable. We look forward now to trying to outdo our first (but now, not our last) year. Next up: Diablo!
Marvel also teased that Waid has additional Marvel projects on his schedule for 2004, with a just-approved project called "Fourigin." No further details were given at press time.
But the question remains, what about the team of Aguirre-Sacasa/McNiven who were originally assigned to take over the title with issue #509? Instead of jettisoning the work already completed, the company has decided to publish a third Fantastic Four title under the Marvel Knights banner. The company said that this Marvel Knights version of Fantastic Four will be "more grounded, earthbound and edgy in comparison" to the main title.
"What I love about Roberto and Steve's upcoming FF MK title is that no one knows what to expect or what they're in for," said Quesada. "It's going to be fun watching these two incredibly talented young guys rise to superstardom. Mark my words, this title will be a hallmark event."
"As far as I'm concerned, this is the best time to be writing the world's greatest characters…," said Aguirre-Sacasa in the release. "There's tons of great stories to tell about the Family Fantastic, and so far it's been an amazing experience to work with an artist like Steve (who draws the hottest Sue ever) to showcase the more human, down-to-earth adventures of the FF."
"It used to be tough just to get one quality team on FF, today we have three," added Quesada. "There must be something in the air!"
Marvel included an assortment of preview artwork with their release, which is included below. Click the images to enlarge.