Family--that is what Fantastic Four is all about. Or at least, it should be, as that's when I enjoy this book the most. I've been on and off of Fantastic Four over the years, and it's always the family aspect that draws me back to it. So far, Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley are providing a great balance of family drama and high adventure, and as a result, Fantastic Four is one of my favorites of the new Marvel Now! initiative.
For those that haven't been keeping up, Reed Richards powers are killing him. He has taken the family beyond the boundaries of known space in search of a cure, and he has lied to them about his reasons for the trip. We know as readers that won't turn out well, and the cracks in Reed's deceptions are really starting to show in this issue.
The first family of comics visits an alien planet known as Ayleth in issue #4, and they are surprised to find that they have been expected. Cave drawings of Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben and the kids have existed on Ayleth for hundreds of years, and the people of Ayleth believe the comic of the fantastic family to be a divine sign. Sue in particular is being revered by everyone on the planet, and as uncomfortable as that makes her, what bothering her more is that Reed knows more than he's letting on. Sue is beginning not to trust Reed, and he's forced with a decision about whether or not to tell her why the family is truly galavanting around the universe.
I feel like Fraction has a really strong vision for this book, and Bagley is up to the task of helping him realize it. While I feel Jonathan Hickman's run became too much about super science and grand storylines, it seem slike Fraction gets that the heart of the book will always be the relationships between the family members, and they are the lens through which every story needs to be seen.
4 out of 5 Fantastic Families