Fantastic Four: Grand Design #2 Review - Firing up the Fantastic Fours Greatest Hits
Tom Scioli and the editors deserve a lot of credit for condensing 70+ hears of Fantastic Four history into two issues. Way too many titles feel decompressed and padded to exploit retailers that need products to sell and take advantage of the eventual collected Graphic Novel. This one will work as a single volume but there is so much content here that I appreciate that it been broken up into chapters.
This installment covers "The Coming of Galactus" storyline and concludes post-Marvel Super-Heroes Secret War (1984). There is a lot of direct references to the comics from those eras and Tom even homages significant covers and panels from the comics he's pulling from. This translates to a beautiful reading experience for fans of Marvels First family, or those new to the franchise and just want the cliff notes of their history.
I do have a couple of gripes. I believe I mentioned Alicia Masters being retconned into a Black Woman in the last review so I won't spend too much time on it here. It's weirder than anything and I believe the change was primarily a consequence of the Fantastic Four being a 95% Caucasian franchise.
I also don't recall Sue Storm ever having Sue Storm having a long-running affair with Namor or the subplot of Namor being the father of Franklin Richards. It's a cool what-if scenario but I think it takes away from the Grand Design format. There are several other changes to the continuity but none really add anything and just seem like odd choices if you are familiar with the source material. I see this a Tom just having fun with the reader's expectations but I would have preferred he play it straight.
Toward the end of the comic, the reader is hit with so many different storylines that the conclusion feels kinda rushed. I won't hold that against the book although I think it could be better served with a third issue. Complaints aside, compiling Fantastic Four: Grand Design had to be a herculean effort and that can't be understated.
I highly recommend this series for fans and collectors alike. The Fantastic Four are often treated as an afterthought behind X-Men and The Avengers. It's nice to see Reed, Ben, Sue, and Johnny given the spotlight they deserve.