Thoughts on “Fantastic Four” by Dan Slott

So I’ve picked up some graphic novels and comics collections over the past few months, and one of them was a collection of Dan Slott’s run on Fantastic Four.  Now, I’ve discussed my impressions of the Fantastic Four eras before, and said how much I prefer the earlier eras to the modern ones.  This is obviously from the modern era (2018) and my impression still holds, but I like this one better than the 1998 version that I had read there.

The reason is that Dan Slott did a couple of things.  First, he ultimately got rid of the group of super-geniuses that was prominent in some of the modern works that I had been reading.  While some of the characters were a bit interesting, the entire concept simply focused things too much on super-genius Valeria and made the stories too much a conflict of ideas and technology, which left the other members out and lost the feel of this being a super-family.  By getting rid of it, Slott is free to return this to being a super-family story and work with the relationships that way.  He also manages to return a fun sense of banter to the series, and sense of fun, which is quite welcome, and is something that he does really well.  He also does a bachelor party/bachelorette party for Ben and Alicia in a similar way that X-Men at one point did competing girl’s/boy’s nights out that of course end up with superpower related complications, and while the X-Men version was better this one is also pretty funny and entertaining, on top of the banter.  So it at least has being entertaining through being funny going for it.

However, where Slott fails here is in the drama, which is really weak.  For example, there’s a thread with Franklin losing his superpowers — or, at least, it’s the case that if he uses them he’ll lose them — and then feeling inferior to Valeria whose abilities are in her intelligence, but it doesn’t really come across as that and we don’t really care that much about the conflict because it wasn’t built up enough.  In general, the drama in Slott’s comics here fail because he doesn’t have enough time to develop the drama around the humour he brings to the work.

I enjoyed it more than the 1998 version, and it is a bit more entertaining than the 1963 version (mostly because the writing is a lot better) but I still prefer the overall dynamics of the 1974 version.  Still, it’s something that I could re-read at some point, which gets it bonus points from me.

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