X-Men/Fantastic Four #4
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Terry Dodson
I’ve very much enjoyed X-Men/Fantastic Four #4. It’s a quick and easy read that pairs up many characters I really love in a very natural plot. This being the last issue, I was expecting it to step things up, but admittedly I feel a bit let down. It’s not bad, in fact, it’s very well crafted, but I don’t love everything I’m seeing.
My biggest problem with this issue is in the way it handles its conflict resolution. It comes down to a discussion between the FF and the X-Men, in which they acknowledge they were acting unreasonably, and ultimately come to an understanding. I take issue with this because even though it is refreshing to see superheroes hash things out reasonably, it just comes too late. Had this discussion taken place in the first issue, the entire book would be over in twenty pages. I understand that this is exactly why these events play out the way they do, conflict is essential to storytelling, after all, but it makes the entire series feel a bit pointless in retrospect. I just can’t help but feel there was a more creative way to deescalate the situation beyond simply acknowledging that the book’s very conceit was pointless from the beginning.
Acknowledging this flaw does not take away from the fact that this is still a pretty fun read with solid action. I can ultimately look past my issue with the storytelling because the actual presentation of it is quite strong, if not a bit mindless. Zdarsky and Dodson display more than a few creative uses of the characters’ powers, as well as enjoyable banter inside and across the super-teams. My reasoning for it may be a bit callow, but I like this book, and I’m not one to look down on superheroes for juvenility.
Another point in the book’s favor lies in Terry Dodson’s art. He may suffer a bit from same-face-syndrome, but given the number of distinctive costumes and characters, there’s still enough variety to easily differentiate between them. His action and splash pages are total eye-candy, and his storytelling remains a high point. It’s not his best work, but it’s much more than good enough.
If I have one more gripe, it’s one that can’t be directed towards the creators of this book as it’s more relevant to the landscape they’re working in. This is the only X-Men book I’m still reading, as I’m not the biggest fan of the new direction they’ve taken. I can certainly appreciate the big ideas and the overall cohesiveness of it, but it doesn’t scratch the same itch that I look to the X-Men for. The X-Men, as far as I can tell, is almost definitively the villains of this mini. Neither side is perfect, they both made mistakes, as is acknowledged by the book itself, but even down to their presentation the X-Men side screams villain. If that’s a bit harsh, then at the very least they are no longer superheroes, and that’s just not an idea I love. I don’t blame this book’s creators for that, I don’t even blame the actual architects of this status quo, it’s just not an idea that works for me. X-Men/Fantastic Four #4 should be a book that makes me giddy down to my core, and instead, I feel more lukewarm when I look back on it
X-Men/Fantastic Four #4 is a solid finale to a series I mostly really enjoy. It’s my least favorite issue, but in the end, I don’t regret reading it. If you are thrilled by the X-Men’s new status quo, you’ll likely find much more to chew on than I did. If you aren’t, however, there is still enough here that’s worth your time.
X-Men/Fantastic Four #4
Fantastic Four vs X-Men #4 is a solid finale to a series I mostly really enjoy. It’s my least favorite issue, but in the end, I don’t regret reading it. If you are thrilled by the X-Men’s new status quo, you’ll likely find much more to chew on than I did. If you aren’t, however, there is still enough here that’s worth your time.