Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley, two men who are slowly but surely becoming just as recognized as Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman. Marvel likes to call every single person who works for them a “fan favorite” or “superstar” but these two (Fraction and Bagley) really are a superstar team. They don’t just compliment each other, they build off one another. When you see Bagley’s art without Fraction’s words it just isn’t as powerful or gritty, and vice versa. Marvel Now! has been a great mix up of writers jumping from one title to another. Of course every mix up has its good things and bad things but putting Matt Fraction on Fantastic Four was one of the best change-ups. For everyone who felt the Fantastic Four had gotten too dark or dreary Fraction brings it back to adventure and fun with leaving in an element of suspense and character drama without it completely taking over the story arcs at hand. Even when the entire team is literally dying with no cure at hand the characters are still fun and enjoyable, you don’t pity them you want them to beat this thing because no matter what they are a family that truly loves each other and that is really what the Fantastic Four is all about.
Enough of the lovey dovey stuff we should talk about the issue at hand, issue number 10 to be more specific. This is easily Fraction and Bagley’s best work since the series started. Not a hard task considering they are only ten issues in, you might be thinking to yourself. In the grand scheme of things each month has been a different villain/obstacle the team has had to face, and it has never felt stale or repetitive. I throw my hand up and admit that I was not very impressed with the first few issues but this talented team has really found themselves and in the most wonderful way. Time Travel has become so cliche in the Marvel Universe it is almost irritating, still Fraction plays it off as a totally normal thing to Time Travel, he knows it is cliche so why not use it as a story moniker rather than a plot device? Genius. The Fantastic Four are dealing with recent reveal that they are dying, they are falling apart, literally. Tension is high especially with the spectacular dialog written by Fraction, specifically Valeria Richards and her father Reed. Val is becoming more and more like her mother every day. And what could make a issue even better than what I have discussed? Those sneaky shape shifting Skrulls.
Easily one of the greatest villains in the entire Marvel Universe, the Skrulls are always up to no good. This time around, we get to see what happens when one Skrull is left alone on Earth in 1776. As a few members are considering abolishing Slavery the Skrull posing as Benjamin Franklin ensures they do not. If that doesn’t show what kind of scum the Skrulls are, then I dunno what does/will! And this wasn’t some devious plan by the Skrulls. No this was just a bored Skrull “meddling”. The question I had at the end was this: If the Skrulls had never met the Fantastic Four till that day, did the Fantastic Four start the battle that will rage for years and possibly the first stepping stone to Secret Invasion? There is just a little food for thought. Overall, a great issue. I highly recommend it.