The Fantastic Four have hardly had a chance to relax since they got back together. It doesn’t look like that chance will be coming any time soon, either. FANTASTIC FOUR #10 pulls the team out of the fire for but a brief moment before hurling them right back into it. The War of the Realms has come to Yancy Street.

To me, it feels like writer Dan Slott wrote FANTASTIC FOUR #10 with the idea that the reader will just go along with absolutely whatever he puts down on the page. Unfortunately, that is not the case — not for me, at least. There are a lot of questionable storytelling choices here.

Thankfully, artists Paco Medina and Kevin Libranda do a lot to help redeem FANTASTIC FOUR #10. This is likely the most consistently good-looking FANTASTIC FOUR issue so far in Slott’s run. Medina and Libranda’s styles blend together perfectly, and colorist Jesus Aburtov brings a wonderful amount of flair to the issue.

FANTASTIC FOUR #10 Tackles Growing Up and a Magical War

FANTASTIC FOUR #10 focuses on Valeria and Franklin Richards, two characters that haven’t exactly had much to do since the end of Slott’s first arc. These two young heroes are having a hard time dealing with no longer going on spacefaring adventures. Franklin gets the brunt of the punishment, given the way he lashed out while the team was away dealing with Doctor Doom.

The family puts Franklin to work at the Grimm Youth Center, though he clearly wants no part of it. Franklin is quick to get into trouble, nearly starting a fight with some other kids. In an attempt to alleviate some of Franklin and Valeria’s stress, Ben thinks up the idea to hold a block party on Yancy Street.

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FANTASTIC FOUR #10 page 2. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Unfortunately, the War of the Realms kicks off at about the same time, with Malekith’s unholy army attacking New York City. The Fantastic Four jump into action, warding off frost giants, fire goblins, trolls, and angels as best they can. However, the citizens of Yancy Street protest the team’s protection, stating that they’ll fend for themselves and stand up for what’s right.

Yeah, a bunch of civilians are going to take on literal giants. Okay…

It’s in these hectic moments that Franklin realizes the error of his bratty ways and joins the fight. Eventually, Valeria realizes the armies are attacking Yancy Street because her long-range communications device is interrupting a part of Malekith’s plan. Franklin destroys it, and the armies leave Yancy Street alone. The Fantastic Four leave to help the rest of the city’s heroes, while Franklin, Valeria, and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur defend Yancy Street.

FANTASTIC FOUR #10 is an Annoying Read

I have more than a few problems with the story of FANTASTIC FOUR #10. First and foremost, the majority of this dialogue is painful to read. There are so many bits of dialogue that are straight up telling you what you can already see through the artwork. I hate it when characters start talking like, “Okay, we’re doing this now,” and then another character chimes in with, “So now we’ll do this.” That’s not how people talk.

Nor do people think basic thoughts out loud. That’s what character narration is for. Much of Franklin’s dialogue in the latter half of the issue should have been narration. Any narration from Franklin could have worked well to streamline his arc in this issue. However, that arc would still only be questionable at best. Franklin goes from hating Yancy Street to loving it and getting over himself in the span of one issue. That just feels like cheap, lazy writing.

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FANTASTIC FOUR #10 page 8. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

I’m a firm believer in the good nature of man. I really am. However, I cannot believe that literally every single person on Yancy Street would actually join together to fight an army of extra-dimensional invaders. What the hell does the old lady with a cane for a weapon think she’s going to do to a frost giant?! There’s a limit to how much we can suspend our disbelief in situations like these, and Slott absolutely goes beyond that limit in FANTASTIC FOUR #10.

FANTASTIC FOUR #10’s story had a lot of potential. Franklin having a bit of an attitude makes sense, and tying this issue in with WAR OF THE REALMS worked fairly well. The execution, however, is excruciating.

Can the Art in FANTASTIC FOUR #10 Save the Lackluster Story?

Thankfully, the art in FANTASTIC FOUR #10 works wonders to save this issue from complete collapse. The past few issues have featured mixed results with multiple artists with very different styles collaborating together. Sticking to one style here in FANTASTIC FOUR #10 was a smart move.

I’ve always enjoyed Medina’s smooth, fluid style, and his consistency and control shine throughout this issue. As for Libranda, I feel like he may have just done work touching up Medina’s pages. I’m not exactly sure what extent he helped/worked with Medina. If he had his own pages, then he did an incredible job matching Medina’s style.

My favorite part of Medina’s pages are his character designs. Each character has a unique feeling to them, and they’re all perfectly emotive and expressive. One area Franklin excels at in FANTASTIC FOUR #10 is the action; he looks like a total badass in the fight against Malekith’s forces. Also, is it normal for Invisible Woman’s eyes to flair white when she uses her powers? I feel like that’s a new touch. Regardless, it’s cool to see.

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FANTASTIC FOUR #10 page 18. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Aburtov’s colors only add to what is already a beautiful issue. In this regard, the latter half is more impressive. Once you’ve got all the frost giants and trolls running around, the colors become more dynamic and varied, yet still controlled and contained. Much like Medina with his pages, Aburtov shows great control with his colors.

The quality of the artwork in FANTASTIC FOUR #10 is superb, front to back. It can’t quite completely save this issue from its suboptimal story, but it certainly helps you trudge through it.

Should We Be Worried?

FANTASTIC FOUR #10 clearly doesn’t sit well with me. Slott’s story has too many flaws and not enough redeeming qualities. There was potential for something palpably sentimental here, but it winds up feeling rushed and largely insignificant. Medina, Libranda, and Aburtov’s pages help ease you through this issue, but they’re not quite enough to blot out the glaring storytelling problems in FANTASTIC FOUR #10.

This issue makes me wonder exactly what Slott is trying to do with the series. At times, it feels like he’s more concerned with fan service and tropey set pieces, rather than evolving these characters and telling legitimately interesting stories. I’m hopeful he’ll pick things up for the better, though.

FANTASTIC FOUR #10 by Dan Slott, Paco Medina, Kevin Libranda, and Jesus Aburtov
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
FANTASTIC FOUR #10 is, above all else, an annoying issue to read. The dialogue and pacing are all over the place, and any central character arcs feel rushed and insignificant. The artwork is the most redeeming quality of this issue, but even that can't save it entirely.
77 %
An Annoying Read

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