The Fantastic Four for the manga generation. The first problem is that th"/>

Marvel Age Fantastic Four: All for One

Sean McKeever, Author et al. Marvel $5.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-7851-1468-0

Here's an unsuccessful remake of the first four Stan Lee–Jack Kirby issues of The Fantastic Four for the manga generation. The first problem is that the source material wasn't great. Though Lee and Kirby produced some of the best superhero comics ever, the first few issues of The Fantastic Four were primitive and awkward. The basic concept of four friends who go into space in a private rocket has been updated a bit, but this work hews so closely to the original comics that their 40-year-old clumsiness is perfectly preserved. The adaptation is full of bad dialogue and poorly executed action (e.g., how exactly does the Mole Man escape from the Fantastic Four in the first chapter?). Also, each chapter is illustrated by a different artist. With long-lasting franchises, changing artists is occasionally a necessity, and sometimes a new artist successfully reimagines something that had become stale. Not here, though—the art is competent and no more. Aside from an overall manga-ish drawing style, none of the artists' techniques really resemble each other, making for a visually incoherent graphic novel. The packaging is equally sloppy: the title page credits of the original comics are retained, so we read a complete set of credits five times. If Marvel is trying to reach out to manga fans, this isn't the way to do it. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
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