Two ongoing Fantastic Four titles enter and well… looking at the readership of our blog, and the sales numbers of these books it is likely that both continue living…however “ONLY ONE BOOK LEAVES”, sounds much better don’t you think?
So I’ve been thinking, as I do sometimes, about the Fantastic Four and its related properties. I started to think of how much more I am enjoying Matt Fraction and Michael Allred’s FF than I am enjoying Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley’s Fantastic Four.
The big problem for me though, as an aspiring comic book critic, is that I cannot put my finger on why I enjoy FF more than Fantastic Four. I do have some theories, so if you are willing to sit with me while I theorize perhaps we can find the truth together.
It is possible that I am just sick of the Richard’s family. I think I’ve read the entirety of Waid’s run, I know I’ve read the entirety of Hickman’s run, and the very first Fantastic Four story I read still sticks with me, so perhaps I am just tired of the trials and tribulations of Mr. Fantastic and his clan. This proposal has a problem though, since this image still captures my inner twelve-year-old in a way that perhaps only Jonathan Hickman can.
It is possible that Fraction himself actually cares more about the FF book than its “daddy” comic. If the author is putting more effort into one of his “children” than the other then it is not surprising they they are turning into a better “person.” I would kill to write the characters that started Stan Lee’s career though, and I imagine that most modern comic fans and writers would as well. The FF is undoubtedly full of fun characters but none of them created the Silver Age of comics. I can’t really imagine giving Sue Richards anything less than my full faith and effort.
Ockham’s razor suggests a simpler solution . There is one irreducible difference between the two books. After some careful Googling I’ve decided that Michael Allred and Mark Bagley are NOT the same person. You share my shock, I am sure. To be sure Mr. Bagley’s team are doing a great job, but our failure to connect with the emotional journey in Fantastic Four #4 could be, perhaps, fairly placed at the art teams feet. Bagley’s team is doing a very passable job, but I think it is very possible that the team doesn’t have the ability to convey enough emotional range to keep up with Mr. Fraction’s scripts. It is also true that Allred’s team is cheating there, with their abstraction and sillyness, but it works, so yeah.
I believe, although I am still not sure, that the art team on FF may better match for Mr. Fraction’s writing than the art team on Fantastic Four. I have no strong convictions here, however. What do you think gentle reader? Which of these two books do you like more, and why?