Fantastic Four #14 Review-The Beginning of the End of the Fantastic Four


Is this the beginning of the end of the Fantastic Four (also referred to as the FF) as we know them?  Since Marvel has announced the upcoming cancellation of the ongoing Fantastic Four comic book series, and with the controversy over the new Fantastic Four movie, things are definitely changing, and changing fast.

Fantastic Four #14- Reed and Sue in a Flying Car

In the latest Fantastic Four comic book, written by James Robinson and drawn by Leonard Kirk,  things are looking pretty grim for our four heroes and their children.  This story line goes back to the most recent re-launch of the Fantastic Four series in early 2014, when Robinson and Kirk took over the title.  From the opening pages of their first issue, it was clear that the FF were in for a lot of pain and tragedy, as the first thirteen issues of their run proved.  From the Baxter Building blowing up and releasing all sorts of other-dimensional baddies onto New York, to the First Family of Marvel being later hauled into court, having their kids taken away by the authorities, and then having the Avengers serve an eviction notice in front of the quite damaged Baxter Building, things have gone from bad to worse.  Oh,  and Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, has lost his powers. What a revoltin’ development!

Now, as Fantastic Four #14 opens, we see Reed Richards in the clutches of a new bad guy calling himself “The Quiet Man.” No, John Wayne has not magically appeared to harass our heroes.  In a classic monologue that would make Dr. Evil proud, this new super-villain expounds all the reasons why he hates the FF and what he has done to make their lives miserable.

We should probably warn you that from this point on, the review contains SPOILERS.  If you don’t read any further, take our word for it that this run of FF stories is very good and worthy of your readership…

Fantastic Four #14 Credits Page

Ok, glad you are still with us.  As we were saying, Dr. Evil…err, we mean The Quiet Man, explains to Reed that he has been a part of the lives of Reed and Susan from the days they were in college.  The Quiet Man attended the same school as Reed, and, like quite a few other FF associates, he had a crush on Susan Storm.  Ever since Reed began dating Sue, the Quiet Man, built up a fierce hatred of Reed and then of the Fantastic Four.  As our villain expounds to his stretched-out captive, he reveals (or boasts), that he has been behind many of the problems the FF have encountered in their super-hero career, and was responsible for all the recent tragedy, from the explosion at the Baxter Building to the court case, and everything else that has befallen them recently.  Reed gets in a piquant verbal jab though, asking for clarification that the villain’s whole reason for hating him is because “I spoke to Sue before you did?”

Quiet Man Origin in Fantastic Four #14

Meanwhile, Sue, Johnny, and Ben investigate strange happenings about town, including attacks by killers claiming to be Captain America and Hawkeye.  As we know from the earlier diatribe by the Quiet Man, these events are all connected.  This issue ends with a bang, as other heroes enter the scene and a battle ensues.

The writing of this whole series has been very good.  Robinson shows the ability to write these characters as we expect them to sound and act.  Leonard Kirk’s (sorry, but I cannot read that name without thinking of Star Trek), art is superb and the flashback scenes by Marc Laming,  attached to the Quiet Man’s recitation of the past, shines with a Kirby-esque feel.

If what the Quiet Man said to Reed proves true, the ramifications of the changes to FF and Marvel canon may be as significant as the Nick Fury/Man on the Wall retcons we saw in Original Sin.  As we prepare for the end of the Fantastic Four comic series, it looks like Marvel is setting the stage for revelations that could change the way we view Fantastic Four history.

Stay tuned as we review the next issue of the Fantastic Four (with a shift back to the original series’ numbering with #642) in a month.

More from Bam Smack Pow