REVIEW: ‘Fantastic Four: Life Story,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fantastic Four Life Story #3 - But Why Tho

Fantastic Four: Life Story #3 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 1984, Reed Richards has formed a joint effort with Tony Stark to protect the world against the impending threat of Galactus. However, he is shaken to his core when his wife Sue delivers divorce papers. Meanwhile, Doctor Doom is approached by another of the Fantastic Four’s enemies who ends up escalating the Cold War between the United States and Russia—and the fallout will shake the Fantastic Four to their core.

The previous two issues took place in the ’60s and the ’70s, so it’s only fitting that the third issue shifts to the ’80s. Russell once again folds real-life historical events into his script, including the Cold War and the development of the “Star Wars” program that was launched during Ronald Reagan’s administration. However, instead of protecting the U.S. from Russia, the program is meant to defend against Galactus when he arrives at Earth. Even the subterfuge that took place during the Cold War takes a rather sinister approach thanks to Doom and his accomplice.

Russell also continues his trend of shifting the focus to another member of the Four. This time Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, takes center stage. Johnny’s freewheeling party boy persona takes on a new light in this story, as he believes that people only have so many years on this earth and we should “enjoy it while it lasts.” Given his role as a superhero and the escalating Cold War, readers can guess that his laissez-faire look on life takes a turn. And it definitely is a turn I don’t want to spoil.

Izaakse continues to draw the Four’s aging in real-time, with Johnny growing taller and sporting more wrinkles on his face. Other heroes show up in their ’80s-era garb, including Iron Man in his Silver Centurion armor and Spider-Man in his black Symbiote suit. The Four also sport their blue and white uniforms from the ’80s which serves as one of their most iconic looks. All of these characters take part in a heartstopping action sequence which features a trio of Russian missiles heading for the U.S., which ends in tragedy. Woodward’s color scheme depicts the missiles as a trio of white spears cutting through the sunset, cut off by Johnny using the full power of his flames to stop them. The end of the issue is also very somber, with falling snow and a grayish-white background lending a gravity that will make the issue sit with readers long after they turn the final page.

Fantastic Four: Life Story #3 shifts to the ’80s and in the process fundamentally changes the dynamic of the titular team. The next issue will finally see Galactus descend on Earth in the ’90s, which the entire series has been building to—and I hope that the creative team continues to fold real-life events into the Marvel timeline.

Fantastic Four: Life Story #3 is available wherever comics are sold.

Fantastic Four: Life Story #3 
4

TL;DR

Fantastic Four: Life Story #3 shifts to the ’80s and in the process fundamentally changes the dynamic of the titular team. The next issue will finally see Galactus descend on Earth in the ’90s, which the entire series has been building to—and I hope that the creative team continues to fold real-life events into the Marvel timeline.