Written by Matt Fraction
Art by André Araújo
Colors by Jose Villarrubia
Review by Adam Shaw
Wow. Damn. I was totally caught off guard by this Age of Ultron tie-in. It was nothing like what I was expecting, and delivers a sucker-punch of emotion right to the gut. Fraction did a remarkable job with hitting the all of the keys and playing all the emotional notes at the right beat.
This issue focuses less on the Fantastic Four battling Ultron, and more on how do you say goodbye to your sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews. The story alternates between the good-bye messages to Franklin and Valeria from each member of the Four to that person’s battle against Ultron’s forces. Fraction could’ve easily shown all of the messages first, but then as we continue with the story they would lose a lot of their impact. The breakup of the story really helps to sell each members message with all of the emotional weight behind it.
Reed’s message to the children hit me particularly hard. We haven’t really seen Reed be emotional or deal with his feelings in front of the children before, but we get to see him open up and struggle with the complexity of sharing one’s feelings. I hope that I will never have to experience the situation of telling my children goodbye.
The art by Araújo and Villarrubia has a very unique feel to it, but compliments the intentions of the story very well. The pages look old and worn and the art is faded in some place. It has a vintage feel to it that makes you feel that maybe this is some lost or forgotten letter, and we are bearing witness to the emotional outpourings of someone long gone. Maybe I’m just crazy, but that’s how it made me feel.
Buy It! Fantastic Four #5AU is a fantastic issue just on its own. You don’t need to be reading either Fantastic Four or Age of Ultron to appreciate the story being told here. This is probably my second favorite single issue to come out this year, after Batman and Robin #18. If you enjoy the more emotionally charged stories, then definitely don’t miss this issue.