While the previous issue put the spotlight on Ben Grimm and Alica Masters, Fantastic Four #2 by Ryan North and Iban Coello focuses on Reed Richards and Sue Storm-Richards AKA Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. Like the happy couple of the previous issue, Reed and Sue are also in a small town where things aren’t quite what they seem, discussing the still unrevealed mysterious incident that was hinted at in the first issue.
Unlike Ben, Sue doesn’t seem to hold whatever happened against Reed, but Reed himself seems to have regrets. We do get tiny hints about the fallout of the mysterious incident: the Fantastic Four no longer have a massive amount of money or the Baxter Building and all of the high-tech gadgets within it. Essentially, North seems to be stripping the Fantastic Four down to their basics: just a resourceful family with peculiar abilities… and their flying car. However, we haven’t completely seen what the status quo is going forward, as the four have yet to be reunited.
Fantastic Four #2 has a bit more action than its predecessor, though like before, the problem is solved through our heroes’ empathy for others. This is especially great to see from Reed, as sometimes writers sometimes have him revert to the colder, more analytical man he once was. He’s always been a heroic figure, but it’s really satisfying to see him go out of his way to comfort other people and see things from their perspective. As someone who’s autistic and who relates to Reed’s behavior, it’s just very satisfying whenever it’s acknowledged that he’s grown and changed across the sixty years he’s appeared in publication.
As much as there’s an emphasis on Reed, the issue is from Sue’s point of view. The narrative framework is a letter that she’s written to former Fantastic Four member Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk). The caption blocks are often necessary in explaining what’s happening because Sue and Reed are so close that they can understand what each other is planning with little to no dialogue. It’s just very cute that even after the mysterious hardship they’ve endured, they’re still allowed to be one another’s “better half”. It’s just neat that Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman can just be unapologetically in love with one another.
Iban Coello continues to kill it on the art, beautifully giving Doombot clashes, faltering holographic disguises, and Reed using his powers to search for answers in a creatively unsettling way. Everything looks shiny and bright- it’s a real treat to look at. I love the way colorist Jesus Aburtov works shades of blue into Reed and Sue’s civilian clothes, which they wear for the majority of the issue. I don’t know if it was an intentional homage to their uniforms (after all, Ben didn’t have any blue in his outfit), but it certainly gives them a visual consistency.
Ryan North and Iban Coello’s Fantastic Four run continues to be a delightful character-driven romp that trades high-stakes for something a bit smaller and more intimate. I’d highly recommend checking this series out if you haven’t already.
Fantastic Four #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.