Fantastic Four #643 Review


Fantastic Four #643 Review
The creative team of James Robinson, writer, and Leonard Kirk, artist, continues to fashion a great Fantastic Four story arc that is rushing to a conclusion with the speed of one of Johnny’s fireballs.

Fantastic Four #643 Cover

This issue contains a lot of thick details, but leavens the whole thing with sharp doses of action, sprinkled with touches of humanity and humor.  And the humanity, by the way, comes from a very…unanticipated source!  More on that later.

As with the rest of the tales in this story arc, begun back in the current FF volume’s first issue, this chapter is best understood if you have been following along.  And if you have not, you really need to read the other issues in this volume.  As a long-time Fantastic Four fan, this reviewer has been impressed with how well James Robinson has grasped the personalities of the team’s members and other major characters.  Leonard Kirk’s art has also done a great job of creating the right type of imagery for a major FF tale.

Ok, at this point, we go to the SPOILER section to detail just what is going on here…

Fantastic Four #643 Reed Returns

Without giving a blow by blow rendition of the book, (it is best if you read it yourself), here is what is going on.  The book opens with Reed Richards still in the clutches of the Quiet Man and his henchmen.  Among the henchmen is the Wizard (Bentley Wittman), who has just (in the last issue), seen his son (actually a young clone of his named Bentley 23), perform a heroic act in saving Franklin Richards and the other kids of the Future Foundation from the Wizard’s evil captivity.  The verbal and emotional interaction between Wizard and his son is both touching and logical.  Again, as a long-time FF fan, this reviewer found this scene to totally fit into what we know (and do not know), about the Wizard.  Based on this small part of the story, Marvel should seriously think about producing a short mini-series title to explore the Wizard’s background and his relationship with Bentley 23.

Ok, enough of that.  Back to the action.  Most of the action (other than Reed’s clever escape from the Quiet Man), involves the Quiet Man’s “Franklinverse” monsters battling superheroes all over the world.  And, of course, in Manhattan itself, we see the Invaders (who showed up in the last issue), along with the Thing  and Spider-Man fighting the bad guys.  And along comes Dragon Man to help (Love what Marvel has done with that character, by the way).

Meanwhile, back in the lab, we see Rick Sheridan (who had a cameo appearance at the end of the last issue), preparing to enter the Franklinverse via Sleepwalker’s powers to enter what he calls the Mindscape.  Part of this section is taken up with a brief synopsis of who and what Sleepwalker is, just in case you missed his 34 issue series back in the early 1990s. And, again, in the lab scene when Reed returns, we see great subtle character details when we see Namor’s quiet, yet classy reaction to Reed and Sue’s reunion.  As more evidence to how James Robinson is crafting a rich tapestry that touches on nearly every level of the FF (powers, emotions, relationships, etc.) , Namor’s honorable response to the Reed/Sue relationship is intentionally juxtaposed with the Quiet Man’s chaotic reaction to the same relationship.  Well done, Mr. Robinson!

This issue is part of  rich, complex storyline that, according to all the Marvel press, is leading to the end of the Fantastic Four (just before the release of the upcoming and controversial Fantastic Four movie).  What that really means, we have yet to find out, but for now, sit back and enjoy the ride with one of the best FF stories to come along in a while.

Next: Check Out Our Fantastic Four #642 Review

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