Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Marc Laming
Colorist/Inker: Jesus Aburtov/Scott Hanna
EAST OF EDEN: PART ONE
With the lives and careers of the Fantastic Four in shambles, some may say the chain of events that have turned their world upside down is more than just coincidence and these pitfalls surround the Four may be orchestrated by an outside force…Reed and Sue find greener pastures in a place called New Eden where all things are geared towards making the world a better place as Johnny and Ben continue to reel in the wake of the occurrences that have torn down everything they hold dear.
The Ups: James Robinson once again leaves me in awe as I finished reading this issue of “Fantastic Four” and I must say the ending is one that I did not see coming. However, the ending is not what sold this book for me, in fact, it was the sheer oneness that I felt with the characters as James Robinson expertly yet subtly tugged on my heart strings as I read. Robinson has always been great at connecting the audience with the characters in the pages in a way that makes me feel as though I am right there with Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben, experiencing all their highs and lows…Mostly lows as of right now. My favorite scene in this book is one where Johnny is surrounding himself with a party of “friends” at his apartment to try and forget about or cope with the fact that he has lost his powers and everything he once stood for. Now, there is only one line of dialogue in each of the panels detailing this part and none of them explain what is going through Johnny’s head but the way Robinson conveys the tone with the lack of dialogue helps me delve deeper into Johnny’s mind. Also, new artist to “Fantastic Four” starting with this issue Marc Laming (Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Echoes), who replaces Leonard Kirk, helped Robinson by portraying a real solemn look of sadness on the face of Johnny in the party scene. Jesus Aburtov’s use of color also helps to accentuate not just this scene but the entire book itself making each panel a real joy to look at and behold without overwhelming the eyes with too many loud colors.
The Downs: Though it is nice to have a new hand on the pencil side of things and Marc Laming did a good job in this issue, I still find myself missing the art of Leonard Kirk. Laming makes the characters seem dull or uninterested in whatever is going on and I have trouble understanding what is going on in some scenes because of that. Also, Laming has a very subtle touch which isn’t bad but I find that Kirk made things much more dynamic and attractive with his artwork in the book.
Overall: Despite Laming’s art not being quite on par, this is only his first issue in the series and although I do stand by what I said about his work, there wasn’t much action in this issue for him to really be able to let loose with the scenes. Perhaps in the future Laming will get his time to shine with some very exciting and intense action scenes and we’ll all get to see what he can really do. Robinson, however, did a spectacular job this issue with his expertise in convey emotions and adding in slight hints as to what the future will hold for the Fantastic Four and why everything has been happening to them. I look forward to the next issue and I’m sure all of you out there do too!
Grade 4 of 5