Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Nico Leon
Color Artist: Dono Sánchez-Almara
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
The Fantastic Four are back home with trouble on their hands. After attending the disastrous wedding of Doctor Doom, thanks to Johnny, and stopping a temporal attack from the Kang dynasty, the FF are finally back home. But now they have to figure out what to do with the Human Torch’s new condition in Fantastic Four #36.
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This comic is pretty much a cool-down issue that takes things down a notch for the Fantastic Four as they get their bearings. It wraps up the aftermath of Doctor Doom’s wedding due to Johnny having an affair with Victorious, which she tells Doom in the middle of the ceremony. Since Doom practically cursed Johnny to be a constant Human Torch, he can’t turn it off and now the team tries to figure out how to fix him.
As you’d expect, the situation isn’t easy for Johnny and the family all take their shot at trying to help him out in one way or another. Some try to calm him down while Reed gets to work trying to help contain and fix him. The biggest moments in this comic come from Johnny’s interaction with The Thing. For all of his flaws as a comic writer, Dan Slott actually makes the smart move to have Ben essentially be Johnny’s guide through all of this. He’s been in the same position as Johnny for years, decades even, and now he can be there for Johnny.
Of course, Johnny being a Human Torch who can’t flame off takes a pretty big toll on him and the art team of Nico Leon and Dono Sánchez-Almara do a great job showing this. The flames from Johnny look searing hot, like the very heat from him will burn anyone to ashes if they come within talking distance of the guy without protection. The comic balances the serious emotional moments with comedic moments thanks to their art. On top of that, they do a good job illustrating his facial expressions in his fiery form, showing his anger, frustration, and sadness at his current state.
The comic also takes the time to somewhat resolve the matter between Johnny and Sky, and it ends about as well as you’d expect. Now, there’s no guarantee that this will be the last we see of Sky, but it’s likely we won’t see her for a while. Personally, I’ve never hated or disliked Sky, only how she was written, particularly to be Johnny’s love interest without getting proper chemistry. As a result, Sky just feels like she’s written solely for this series and has a short shelf-life.
Two extra points. If anyone’s hoping for some kind of exploration into Reed Richard’s long lost sister, you will be sorely disappointed. This issue is all about the FF helping Johnny and the next issues will likely tackle that. The other point is that the comic has Alicia take her adopted alien kids, Jo and Nicki, for a walk to meet some kids. During all of this, she has a talk with one of the moms and there’s a split eerie moment with the mom asking Alicia about them meeting their “grandparents”. And it just feels like an allusion to the Puppet Master.
It feels like Slott’s prepping for an upcoming story with Ben, Alicia, the kids, and possibly her father the Puppet Master. Last time we saw him in this series, the Devil Hulk had crushed Puppet Master’s hands for using the Hulk to attack Ben and Alicia on their honeymoon. We haven’t seen or heard of him since, so he may return as a villain or it could be someone else close to Alicia and the FF. We’ll see.
Fantastic Four #36 is pretty much about exploring Johnny’s current state since Dr. Doom’s wedding. The art team does a great job illustrating the frustration and sadness Johnny is in while he’s constantly on fire. Dan Slott makes the smart move to have The Thing supporting Johnny during this whole mess. It’s a serviceable, cool-down issue to show where the Fantastic Four are at after everything that’s happened in the past few issues.