Fantastic Four #12

Written By: Matt Fraction, Christopher Sebela
Art By: Mark Bagley

It’s difficult to read a comic like Fantastic Four #12 and see how the formula is so wrong for the series, when Fraction hits it out of the park over in FF. This issue has a messy plot that strives for the loveable charm that FF captures so well, but comes off as overly contrived and cartoonish.

A lot of this issue’s plot feels improvised as you read it. Part of the team is trapped on a prehistoric world, while the rest of the team is joined by a group of time travellers from the past (who created the dilemma) and are trying to save the others. They quickly meet up, dinosaurs attack, the time-travelers steal the Fantastic Four’s ship, then the Grandchildren of those time-travelers arrive to save the team.

Nothing about the story has a sense of importance, as the team gains nothing from the experience. The narrative relies on outrageous events happening to the team, without bothering to feel like a new or life-changing experience. The introduction of the older Johnny is the only interesting aspect, but isn’t explored fully in the issue because of the dinosaur attack. This is a shame, considering the character’s significance in FF.

Bagley shows the grandeur of the strange new worlds very well, particularly on the page where the team’s ship is traveling through glimpses of time. However, the inks and colours don’t reflect a different tone for each locale, so everywhere the team travels feels the same as the last.

Fantastic Four #12 certainly has an adventurous quality to it, but is a very sloppy and disappointing finish for Fraction’s run on the title. A lot of it feels plain silly, and lacks the depth of issues in the previous arcs.

Score: 4.6/10