Just about three weeks ago, we got to see something amazing happen in James Robinson and Leonard Kirk’s Fantastic Four, when we finally got to learn who was orchestrating the team’s grandiose downfall, chipping away them one by one. We still don’t have all the answers, but damn, it was a huge issue, a major turning point. With everything that was happening, things seemed to be moving towards a conclusion finally, and I reveled in that since it was something I’ve been wanting to see from the series for a couple months now. The wait is now over.
Fantastic Four #13 is yet another turning point for the series, and the cover is pretty much a dead-giveaway for what is going to happen here. Last time, we saw that Ben was planning a break-out with the Sandman, and we see that happen in glorious detail in this issue. After all the misery of the previous issues, there’s finally some hope for the team, even though they are all still caught in a dark circle that is going to take some time for them to break out of. The issue is a bit too fast-paced for my tastes, but the story and art are both as excellent as they could have been.
It has been said a lot of times since the start of the series, that James Robinson began things on a dark note, and continued in that vein for several issues as the team was slowly taken apart at the seam and then each character was isolated in their own madness. But that started turning around last issue, and it continued apace in this one, finally gaining a ton of momentum as three members of the team managed to get back together to save themselves and, unknowingly, save the children of the Future Foundation as well, with them having been kidnapped by the villain currently holding Reed hostage as of the last issue.
In this issue, like I said already, the cover is the big spoiler of the story, but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the story one bit. Not a bit. In fact, it pumped me up even more that the team was finally going back to its old, classic colours and stepping away from the whole “new look” thing. Sure, the red worked quite well, but it is also the symbol of some of the worst times that the team has gone through, so Sue’s decision makes sense on a lot of levels. There’s finally some hope there that the team can get back together again and be like it used to be before all the madness of recent months.
And I love that. Every moment of it. James Robinson’s run has come to define the Fantastic Four for me, and he is completely in his element in his issue as he tells an extremely fast-paced tale that touches on all the current goings on with the group, though sadly Victor Von Doom is quite absent from proceedings, and so is Sue and Reed’s daughter Valeria.
But at the same time, we get to see Jim Hammond and Namor again, setting up the big final showdown of this mega-arc, and I can’t wait to see these two team-up with the Fantastic Four to take down the big bad villain who has been orchestrating their downfall for so many months now. They are both quite interesting characters, especially Jim, given what he is, so that creates an interesting dynamic over all for the series in general and this issue in particular. The start was a bit rough this time, but thankfully things smooth out as the issue progresses.
Leonard Kirk, Karl Kesel, Jesus Aburtov and VC’s Clayton Cowles are on their respective art duties for this issue, as always and this issue is another big knock out of the park as far as I’m concerned. The big breakout with Sandman and Ben is a thing of beauty, especially considering all the guest stars in the first half of the issue, which forms a nice tie-in with a previous issue that involved the Wreckers. And that opening splash page that sums up what has happened to the team until now? Glorious. Amaing. Breath-taking. Perfect encapsulation of the series until now.
Too fast-paced at times, this issue is still damn good and it is nice to see that James Robinson is moving towards a climactic and definitive finish as he wraps up the series.