Fantastic Four: Life Story #1
Writer – Mark Russell
Artist – Sean Izaakse
I missed out on Spider-Man: Life Story when it was released and after hearing nothing but good things about the mini-series, I decided I wasn’t going to miss out on Fantastic Four: Life Story.
The first issue opens up in 1961 and the story begins with a meeting between President Kennedy and Reed Richards at the White House. The USSR has beaten the USA to space with the successful launch of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin to the stars. The pressure is on and President Kennedy enlists Reed and Dr. Ricardo Jones to work together to close the gap and save face with a launch of their own. When Reed tells Sue that their mission is scrapped because Dr. Jones doesn’t believe the antimatter fuel for the spaceship is safe, they decide to head to space to prove him wrong. We know this will lead to the birth of the Fantastic Four. This mini-series will show how their maiden voyage affects each member of the team and the world at large in real time.
A friend had asked what I thought about the first issue and I told her that this series is a great way to reflect on the history of the Fantastic Four in time for their sixtieth anniversary. I like how Reed Richards and company are folded into the real world. This might seem like a hokey concept but Mark Russell does a great job pulling it off by balancing the team’s heroics between the real and the fantastic (pun intended). On one page, you have the team squaring off against their first adversary the Mole Man and his minions, while on another, you see Sue Storm walking arm in arm with protestors on the March for Civil Rights and Equality.
This comic is perfect for those that are familiar with the Fantastic Four and readers that are experiencing Marvel’s Favorite Family for the very first time. As a lover of American history, this comic does a great job taking us on a tour of the 1960s. I’m looking forward to seeing how Nixon interacts with the team in the next issue. Maybe the fateful meeting between Nixon and Elvis will include a group hug with the Thing. You don’t know what to expect but it’s fun to speculate what will happen in the subsequent decades of the 80s through the 00s.
I am giving the first issue three H.E.R.B.I.E.S out of five. A solid story full of action and drama, with a bit of levity thrown in for good measure. You’ll laugh when the Four meet the Beatles during their time on the Ed Sullivan Show together. I guarantee you’ll need a box of Kleenex to help dry some tears in future issues as we see the triumphs and tragedies continue for the family over the years.
Next Issue – The story of the Fantastic Four’s lives in real time continues! Set in the 1970s, the heroes struggle to find their role in a rapidly changing world. Sue continues to fight for social causes while Reed becomes increasingly obsessed with preparing for the impending arrival of REDACTED, creating tension within the Four. In Stores June 23, 2021.