Way back in the early ’90s, the Fantastic Four disappeared. Many in the 616 universes assumed that the members had met a premature death. In reality, they had been kidnapped by a Skrull who was posing as Sue Storm. While the world mourned their death, a new Fantastic Four was formed to fill the void. Made up of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost-Rider, the four set off to defeat Mole-Man who had stolen an important device. The team only lasted three issues but has reunited with other members over the years.
While the team did not last long, they became a bit of a fan favorite. Now 20 years later, Peter David travels back in time to bring us a long-lost story involving the original team in New Fantastic Four #1.
The story takes us to the streets of Las Vegas, where Father John Priest checks in on some of the citizens who have taken to living in the sewers because they can not afford housing. Unfortunately, many of the residents have turned to a man who is preaching hate. After realizing that the man may be more dangerous than he first believed, Father Priest seeks help from the New Fantastic Four.
Immediately from both the artwork and the dialogue, it becomes obvious that the creative team took a lot of inspiration from the 1990s when the original New Fantastic Four came out. Peter David’s use of humor and quips establishes a quick pace for the story from the beginning. The back-and-forth between Spider-Man and the Vulture drive this home as the two spar over what the Vulture is up to. While it makes for a fast read, it does lack depth–particularly with the villain’s anti-establishment storyline. It’s an easy target and makes for lazy writing in an otherwise well-crafted book.
Alan Robinson provides art that is big and bold and fits in with the ’90s feel of the book. Thankfully, he did tone down some of the giant muscles that were par for the course back then. Instead, we get detailed, expressive characters who help tell the story rather than detract from it. Additionally, Mike Spicer brings a color pallet that is bright and bold. The art jumps off the page at the right moments, and his use of shadows convey emotion throughout the story.
New Fantastic Four #1 is a fun book to read. Even if you have no history with the original run, the characters are well established. This allows readers to jump right into the story without having to spend time researching backstories. While some of the plot points seem rudimentary, there is enough promise here to give readers hope that the story will get better. If you are looking for a read that will neither burden you with a ton of back matter nor a long-term commitment, then this is a book for you.