The 23rd Fantastic Four Epic Collection was released this week with several stories from the 90s. From “This Flame, This Fury”, this collection features a Franklin from the future in his twenties, Reed Richards being zapped from existence and many dramas between Lyja and Human Torch. This is a primo first family melodrama as well as an era that had gloriously detailed art, much of it by Paul Ryan.
This collection is written by Tom DeFalco, Paul Ryan, Mike Lackey, Mark Gruenwald, and Len Kaminski, with Paul Ryan doing the heavy lifting along with Geof Isherwod and Mike Gustovich. no one comes out alive encapsulates an era where each issue seems filled with inter-character melodrama, strange alien threats, and iconic moments for those characters. It’s pretty amazing how integrated DeFalco has been into this series, as there are unique issues that have more content than many modern superhero arcs.
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Collected here are The Fantastic Four (1961) #377-392, Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #27, Namor the submarine (1990) #47-48, and Fantastic Four Ashcan Edition (1994) #1. This collection opens with Invisible Woman not accepting 20-something Franklin as her son. She’s furious, especially since Franklin, her baby boy, was zapped in the latest epic collection. Equipped with future technology, Franklin is there for mysterious reasons, but eventually reveals that he is there to defeat his own mother! If that’s not melodramatic enough, wait.
It’s an era of Fantastic Four where Thing’s face has been ruined by Wolverine and he’s reeling from his ugly mug, hiding it under a helmet. This is a time when Lyja hides the fact that her baby is Human Torch’s. Wait until Human Torch realizes his baby is an egg or finds out another major truth about the baby. It’s a time when the Fantastic Four become the Fantastic Three – and at the end of this collection, the Fantastic One. There always seems to be a new threat, a new family feud, or a new revelation to turn everything upside down. It’s very entertaining, if a bit overdone.
The latter is evident when Human Torch is shaken by Lyja one too many times. When read in one sitting, it’s pretty obvious that the creative team has written itself into a corner and needs to juke appropriately. The same can be said of Franklin, who wants Invisible Woman to call him “son”, but later appears completely evil and determined to kill her. Readers at the time could read them for just over a year, but when read in one sitting, it can be laughable how melodramatic things get.
Namor gets two collected numbers here. This section feels a bit like a side step for the series but makes sense since he ends up meeting the Fantastic Four. It’s not really a crossover, but finalists will love it. Obviously, Namor was brought into the narrative due to Reed’s zipper and Namor’s love of Invisible Woman playing a role in the drama.
Speaking of which, the build up to Reed Richards’ exit from the show is an exciting story that’s hard to put down. A strange alien threat attacks Latvaria, who has been lured to earth by Dr. Doom. He is of course outdone, but his ego and constant excuses are fun to watch. Enter the Fantastic Four, who are looking for Thing after he rushes to Latvia seeking revenge. Even though the alien is rather plain and unique, it’s an exciting sequence of action and teamwork. It leads to Mr. Fantastic foolishly trusting Dr. Doom, and it leads to one of the most epic outings for a superhero in his own book. Readers of the time would not see Reed Richards returning for 25 issues. This is the start of it.
Fantastic Four Epic Collection: No One Comes Out Alive is an iconic era for the Fantastic Four and it stands the test of time. Sure, it’s too melodramatic, but that’s part of the charm of this series. Has always been. It was also an era that took some big turns with the exit of Reed Richards from the line and the idea of aging Franklin Richards from the future.
Review of “Fantastic Four Epic Collection: No One Comes Out Alive”
Fantastic Four Epic Collection: No One Comes Out Alive
Fantastic Four Epic Collection: Nobody Gets Out Alive is an iconic era for the Fantastic Four and it stands the test of time. Sure, it’s too melodramatic, but that’s part of the charm of this series. Has always been. It was also an era that took some big turns with the exit of Reed Richards from the line and the idea of aging Franklin Richards from the future.
Takes some big swings, especially with Reed Richards leaving the show
Incredibly detailed art that has lots of detail and characters per panel.
…which can be too much when read in one sitting
Some tales go off the rails like Namor’s tale which has little to do with the main story
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