Ever since Reed Richards persuaded his erstwhile trio of friends to accompany him into space, where they were bombarded by cosmic rays, life hasn’t exactly been dull for the Fantastic Four. Almost as soon as Reed, Sue and their children return from their extended scientific expedition to the micro-verse, Ben Grim, almost certainly overcome with delirium following the reunification of the Fantastic Four, decides it’s time to finally marry Alicia, his long-time fiancé. As any well-versed four colour fan knows though, weddings never go according to plan in the Marvel Universe and the Thing and Alicia’s big day isn’t the exception to the rule.
But like all things involving the Fantastic Four, the thing (ba-dum-tssh, terrible puns are my bread and butter. Honest) that almost ruins Ben’s marriage before it even begins is a world threatening, and possibly ending, scenario in the shape of Galactus. Just as the happy couple are about to exchange vows, the devourer of worlds makes planet fall in, of all places, Latveria which leads to Victor Von Doom and his new super-soldier Victorious charging into battle against the near omnipotent and always hungry destroyer of everything.
This draws the Fantastic Four into the fight, which leads to all sorts of unnecessary complications because nothing that happens in Latveria is an accident and everything that happens does so because Doom wills it. And so the Earth is plunged into another possible extinction event which only the Fantastic Four can prevent, vexing Doom and continuing their almost eternal rivalry. Even though it all sounds a little complicated, it really isn’t and the main story in this volume rattles along at a fair old, and highly enjoyable, clip.
That isn’t all you get though, as there’s a couple of one shot tales that delve into the evolving family dynamic at the heart of the team, one that’s changing due to the children having somehow become teenagers, which makes everything one hundred times more difficult than it ever was. Averting attempted invasions from the micro-verse and entering the fray brought by the War of the Realms play second fiddle to the kids trying to adjust to their new lives back on Earth and the rules they have to quickly learn and adapt to as new residents of Yancy Street.
Built around wonderful, character driven story-telling in which the crazy, all enveloping action is something that also happens, The Herald of Doom is where Dan Slott makes the Fantastic Four his own and brings the team back to the forefront of everything super-powered. Artistically, the book has a team of the who’s who of premiere talent backing Slott up, which ensures that the Fantastic Four looks every bit as good as, if not better than, it reads. In comic terms, that means it’s all kinds of awesome. And it’s absolutely fantastic… Tim Cundle