Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Zé Carlos
Color Artist: Jesus Aburtov
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
The Fantastic Four are back together, just in time for the invasion of Knull. While the God of the Symbiotes rained terror down upon the Earth, Marvel’s first family was caught in the chaos, losing two of their own to the dark alien god. Now Fantastic Four #30 shows how the FF weathered the storm.
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So, this is a late tie-in. By the time this comic came out, it will have been a week after the main King In Black event concluded. But I think this story was written that way, because the story feels like half of it was written during the events of King In Black and the other half takes place after it’s all over.
The story itself is very average, nothing too crazy or anger-inducing happening this issue. Overall, it shows what the Fantastic Four were doing when they weren’t helping Eddie Brock, aka Venom, and the other superheroes during the main event. Specifically, how they fought back against a Knullified Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm.
Both of the heroes were captured and possessed by Knull and in this comic they get their own fights with the corresponding team members Reed and Susan. Ben goes up against Reed and Johnny against Susan, no big deal there. The fights themselves weren’t all that important, but what is important is the dialogue. Dan Slott is using this fight to air some dirty laundry between the four heroes, notably Ben and Johnny. He even extends this for Valeria and Franklin, but not much comes from it.
Slott even capitalizes on the recent story arc with the Griever who showed the “inevitable” dark futures. Particularly, one where The Thing kills Reed for doing something unforgivable. However, after the fighting, Ben and Reed share an awkward yet wholesome conversation. Meanwhile Johnny is having a sibling fight as he bad mouths Susan for constantly being his keeper. However, this feeling is kind of validated by the end, and I’ll get to that in the Spoilers section.
There’s also this undercurrent running throughout the comic with both Alicia and Susan. They both disapprove of how the FF live their lives, saying they’re supposed to be “explorers”, “travelers”, and “scientists” seeing new things in the Universe and all that. Alicia comes off a little annoying here when she tries to keep her adopted Kree and Skrull children, Jo and Nicki, who are skilled warriors, from defending their home from Knullified humans.
For the most part, Slott just gives the FF something to do while setting up some future stories and subplots for the next issues.
Previously, when Johnny was possessed by Knull’s symbiotes, he said that Susan was more like his mother than his sister and was constantly watching him. On the surface, this makes sense since she’s been a parental figure in their lives for years now and the comment even felt generic by this point. However, by the end when Johnny is trying to have a private conversation with the new character Skye, the comic reveals that Susan was standing there invisible the whole time and was listening in on them.
Slott even has Susan say, “Sorry, Johnny, but I’m always going to watch out for you. Whether you like it or not.” and she’s not smiling, mind you. Slott probably intended for that to be a positive moment for them, but it didn’t feel that way. In fact, Susan comes off like a creepy and controlling mother right then. Or this could be him setting up potential conflict between the two, but we won’t know until then.
On top of that, Alicia is going to be teaching Jo and Nicki about Art. For me, this lowers my expectations for their story since their debut. Hopefully, he uses that story to finally explain why the little Skrull Nicki is so fixated on Alicia even before meeting her.
Fantastic Four #30 was a filler tie-in. It hardly connects to the main King In Black event but is used to set up future storylines and subplots for upcoming issues. Readers can either skip it or read it, it doesn’t matter. The next issue is when the story gets back on track.