REVIEW: ‘Fantastic Four: Life Story,’ Issue #2

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Fantastic Four: Life Story #2

Fantastic Four: Life Story #2 is written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Sean Izaaske, colored by Nolan Woodard, and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna. It is published by Marvel Comics. In 1972, the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards-haunted by visions of Galactus-enters into an alliance with Victor von Doom to stop the Devourer of Worlds-which puts a strain on his marriage. Elsewhere, Sue Storm seeks to create lasting change in the world while backed by a collective of heroes, including the Sub-Mariner and the Black Panther.

The first issue of Fantastic Four: Life Story focused on Reed, with this story shifting focus to Sue’s POV. Sue is shown to have been largely retired from the superhero game in order to take care of her son Franklin. Russell’s script slowly builds up the divide between Reed and Sue, shining a light on Reed’s obsession as well as Sue’s search for purpose. And the outcome, while inevitable, is well-earned because it genuinely feels like the end result of the couple’s conflict. Russell also manages to include more figures from history in the proceedings, as Sue meets Betty Friedan-author of The Feminine Mystique-and Reed has a meeting with Dr. Carl Sagan that goes south. And the nods to Spider-Man: Life Story-including Captain America going rogue in Vietnam-are also welcomed.

The issue also features the addition of villains and allies from the Fantastic Four mythos, including the Mad Thinker and the Black Panther. Long before he was a box office sensation, the Panther was known as an ally of the Fantastic Four-and he fills that same role here. The best introduction has to go to Doctor Doom, who starts off as an ally to Reed and slowly descends into the megalomaniac he is in the main Marvel continuity. And I have the feeling that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Doom in this series.

Artwise, Izaaske, and Woodward continue to deliver big and bombastic action sequences and quiet moments in equal measure. A key example of this is a moment where Sue and Reed have a terse phone conversation. As Sue leaves the phone booth in defeat, her body shimmers into bluish-white invisibility, which doubly serves as a metaphor for how she feels unseen by her husband. This is followed shortly by an image of Galactus standing among the ruins of a burning planet, fiery red flames wrapping around the violet armored behemoth. Galactus has long been a presence in some of the Fantastic Four’s most epic stories, and I love how the creators continue to paint him as a specter haunting the books. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the final issue sees the Four doing battle with Galactus.

Fantastic Four: Life Story #2 shifts its focus to the 70’s-and in the process, drives a wedge between the First Family as Galactus heads on the warpath toward Earth. The next issue will tackle the ’80s, which will tackle the Cold War-era paranoia of that era and the original Secret Wars storyline. Since I’m a huge fan of the latter, I’m interested to see how and if the creators will tackle it.

Fantastic Four: Life Story #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Fantastic Four: Life Story #2
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TL;DR

Fantastic Four: Life Story #2 shifts its focus to the 70’s-and in the process, drives a wedge between the First Family as Galactus heads on the warpath toward Earth. The next issue will tackle the ’80s, which will tackle the Cold War-era paranoia of that era and the original Secret Wars storyline. Since I’m a huge fan of the latter, I’m interested to see how and if the creators will tackle it.