In 2004, Marvel decided to enhance its First Family by introducing them to the Marvel Knights line of titles currently being produced with the aptly-named series named 4. And, just as it almost always happens when a new series launches, our heroes find themselves in turmoil!
No, the planet isn’t in peril, so you can sleep easy knowing that. I speak of financial turmoil. Oh joy. It’s not as if that hasn’t been one of the talking point of the real world for the last few years.
As much as I’d love to not bring politics into this, politics is a story itself in the comic.
All it takes is a lapse in judgement and a poor decision, and before you know it your ass is out on the street.
Congress has put it to the vote. Though the result has come back by the slimmest of margins, funding into the Scientific Research and Adventuring programme has been pulled, leaving Reed Richards and the other members of the team without a source of income. But that’s not too bad, surely? Every person with a brain cell in their head knows you save money and put it to one side in anticipation that events like these might transpire. Or you could hire someone to handle your money for you because you have complete faith and trust in them. Hmm, guess what Reed did? Yep, let someone else control the money.
Now, not only do the Fantastic Four no longer have any financial backing from Washington, but some rogue Money Manager has done a runner with the rest of their income, leaving behind in Ben’s terms ”–chump change”. So what are the options now left available?
Go into the big bad world and get a real job.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s story is very believable and there’s a lot to admire here. It’s nice to have a story where Superheros are being effected with normal human problems, where being a superhero can’t get you out of trouble straight away. It’s interesting to see how the turn of events runs differently for each member of the group, as they have to accept the shell shocking truth. The story is run with five segments: one featuring how the group reacts to the news of their money crisis all together, then four individual segments following each character on their hunt for work. Emotions really run high here. Sue and Reed are clearly devastated, as they have two young children they have to bring up, and their son Franklin is clearly conscious something is going on but is under the impression it’s a result of him not liking a birthday present. Johnny is blinded by his own hot headed (ah, see what I did there?) naivety that being a superhero will get him the best job he wants, regardless. And Ben… well, Ben has taken to the situation in good grace and isn’t afraid to wind up Johnny in the process. The first issue is in no rush to reveal what new line of work awaits our heroes, bar Ben right at the end of the comic. It has been panned out reasonably well and isn’t prepared to jump ahead of itself with the direction the story is taking.
Even though saying that, it drops another bombshell moment at the close. Dun-dun-duuuuuun!
Oh you are a crafty git, Roberto.
What can I say in regards to the artwork? Fantastic. The art is commendable stuff. Penciler Steve McNiven and colourist Morry Hollowell truly have something good going on here and it’s a joy on the eyes to look at. Too often I’ve read comics where the cover art has been the only decent art about the comic. Not in Marvel Knights 4, it’s not. From cover to close there is nothing to be disappointed about. I was perplexed with Captain America’s rather boyish smile, but I can overlook that – after all, you only see him twice.