cover image The Fantastic

The Fantastic

Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar. Marvel Comics, $12.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7851-1393-5

Continuing Marvel's relaunching of classic characters minus the baggage of 40-plus years of continuity, this volume of the re-tooled Fantastic Four collects the first six issues of their ""Ultimate"" version, updating story elements that took only one issue to tell back in 1961. Drawn in Marvel's current style, the FF have been reimagined as teens and young 20-somethings and lack much of the dysfunctional charm that made them so fresh when first seen. The origin has been replaced-the cliched radiation-as-magic catalyst that was common back in the day is gone. Their powers are now gained from a teleportation experiment gone awry, which also manages to link their abilities with the four ancient elements of earth, air, fire and water in an attempt at mythological resonance. Nemesis Victor Von Doom has also been updated as a snotty exchange student who picks on Nerd Reed Richards. While Millar and Bendis may seem to have a thankless task in reimagining the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby characters, they succeed in giving them a more modern sensibility. In particular, the scenes where they discover their powers are updated and have much more psychological punch.