cover image Fantastic Four: Full Circle

Fantastic Four: Full Circle

Alex Ross. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-4197-6167-6

Eisner winner Ross (Marvels), in his first solo written and drawn superhero adventure, offers a majestically drawn sequel to a 1966 Fantastic Four story line by comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. After a mysterious figure from the Four’s past breaks into their headquarters bearing an alien menace, the team soon find themselves in the Negative Zone, where they encounter a series of their greatest enemies including Annihilus and the Nega-Man. Ross is known for capturing the grandiosity of superheroes in fully painted artwork, and here he uses the dynamic angles to draw the Four as they hurtle over fantastic cities and nightmare-scapes. But breaking from his usual style, Ross employs heavy inks and a bold, almost clashing color palette to recall the art of Kirby and the vibrancy of ’60s-era superhero comics. Unfortunately, the script doesn’t do justice to the stunning visuals. While Ross’s kinetic artwork presents each cosmic enemy as a villain to be reckoned with, the series of encounters and battles don’t build to any real conflict or climax. Those unfamiliar with the Fantastic Four origins story won’t get hooked (and may find themselves feeling lost in the negative zone), but the glory of these heroes will attract the gaze of nostalgic fans of classic comics. That said, it’s one of the rare comics truly recommended on the strength of the art alone. (Aug.)