Writer: Peter David
Art: Alan Robinson
Colors: Mike Spicer
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Nick Bradshaw & Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Variant Cover: Nick Rochie & Felipe Sobreiro
Designer: Carlos Lao
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 20th, 2022
Why are there demons in Las Vegas? How did Father John Priest get involved? And what is Spider-Man’s new battle cry? If you want answers to these questions–plus a shocking desert rivalry and a hot guest star–look no further than The World’s Funnest Comic Magazine.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the New Fantastic Four #2 Review.
NEW FANTASTIC FOUR #2 is not a go-to comic for deep meaning. At best, the first issue had a very on-the-nose idea at work that saw the have-nots of Las Vegas possessed by demons who proceed to make trouble for everyone else. But that’s perfectly fine because NEW FANTASTIC FOUR #2 is page upon page of fun.
Peter David leans into the odd couple’s make-up of the NEW FANTASTIC FOUR as hard in this issue as he did in the last, and that’s definitely its strength. There’s little plot progression in this issue (besides providing the obvious answer to a minor mystery about the priest from the first issue), but that isn’t to the detriment of the issue. The fun in NEW FANTASTIC FOUR #2 is found in the characters–whether it’s Ghost Rider fighting a demon or Spider-Man bantering with Wolverine, David has the voices of these characters down. Ironically the character David has the most experience with, Hulk, says very little.
For this issue, David adds a character from the original Fantastic Four which allows him to shine a light, good-naturedly, on the absurdity at work with this team. When it comes to imaging a NEW FANTASTIC FOUR, it’s unlikely that anyone would have picked these four. And I say that as someone who has always liked this motley group. There’s no mistaking that David himself is a fan of this team–something all the more obvious in this issue where he lets the characters breathe and interact rather than rush the plot from A to B to C. With only five issues to the series, there isn’t a lot of room to play, but it is twice as long as their original appearance so it’s nice to see David take advantage of that for even more character moments.
The nostalgia for this team is centered on their appearance in FANTASTIC FOUR #347-349, and we saw in the first issue that Robinson based his characters on those models right down to the outfits (with only slight adjustments in color by Mike Spicer). Robinson absolutely nailed this critical part of the series (I say critical because no one has nostalgia for the way the team looked in their second appearance in FANTASTIC FOUR #374).
With those expectations more than met in the first issue, this issue feels more playful. Robinson tends to go big with his characters’ expressions–not to the point of a weird exaggeration but enough that his art reinforces the lighthearted nature of the series’ story. He has a particular ability to make Spider-Man expressive despite having only a mask to work with.
Spicer’s colors play into this overall mood as well. From clothing to scenery the issue is bright and rich. Spicer’s work also plays well with the big character expressions Robinson uses.
Comic books can do all sorts of things. They tell complex narratives, they deliver stunning visual experiences, and they offer effective social commentary. But none of that means they can’t be flat-out, unapologetically fun. NEW FANTASTIC FOUR #2 falls largely into that final category.
David and Robinson are so confident in what they’re doing that they supply a visual gag straight out of Looney Tunes about a third of the way through the book. Attentive readers will pick up on it with no trouble, and getting the joke is almost worth the price of the comic all on its own.
Like the first issue in the series, NEW FANTASTIC FOUR #2 is the kind of comic best saved for the bottom of the reading pile–the perfect dessert after a long main course.