Title: Fantastic Four 1234 (HC)
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Jae Lee (pencils, inks) Jose Villarrubia (colors), Jae Lee (covers)
Collects: Fantastic Four 1234 #1-4, Marvel Knights Double Shot #2
Once upon a time, this book was garnering quite a bit of praise. At the time it was first published in single issues, Jae Lee was a hot new(er) artist, and Grant Morrison was a hot, new(er) writer. Though the Fantastic Four has never been know as a real hot comic property, the original issues sold fairly well, and the book received many positive reviews. Grant Morrison's abstract, creative genius seemed well-suited to the FF's archetypal adventures, and Jae Lee's distinctive artwork is always eye-catching. I didn't read the magazines in their original publication, nor did I happen to catch the trade the first time the story was collected. When I noticed that Marvel had re-printed the book in a handsome new hardcover, I picked it up for a read.
Thankfully, the book's adventures were not as bizarre or disjointed as many of Morrison's current stories. The book's storyline was fairly easy to follow, once you got past the first issue's set-up. The book has the team facing off against their most popular adversary: Dr. Doom. Without giving away too much, I'll let you know that the book also has the team facing off against several other of their most famous adversaries. As usual, the team acts as a team, each saving the others several times and ultimately being saved by the genius of their leader, Reed Richards. The story wasn't exactly fantastic (no pun intended), but it interesting, nonetheless.
Lee's artwork is always a pleasure to see, and it was probably the high point of the book, for me. His artwork is among the most original in the business, and his heavy inks and lack of straight lines seemed to fit the dark tone of the book, rather well.
The inclusion of the Marvel Knights Double Shot issue is a real mystery to me. I don't know why it was put in there, as it doesn't seem to have a single thing in common with the rest of the book. The story is a stand-alone tale of Nick Fury, and seems completely out of place, here. Including it in this book did little to add to the overall value of the book, and did not make this book worth the $20 cover price. The inclusion of a Jae Lee cover gallery (of his Thing issues, not the ones from this collection) made sense, only because the pictures were of The Thing and Hulk in combat.
If you've not yet read this book, I'd recommend giving it a try, though you may be better served just reading a library copy. It's not so great that it is a must-have, by any means.
Cool Factor: 6/10