Writer/artist Ed Piskor broke new ground with his epic history of the Marvel universe in a tiny package, with his Grand Design and Second Genesis trilogy series (reviewed here at borg only last year). A complete throwback in style to comics of the 1930s through the 1970s, Piskor’s series included small, tightly crammed panels allowing for only minimal detail, lots of content per page, bright classic colors, and good ol’ fashioned newsprint pages (mmm… just smell that newsprint!). But Piskor covered only one segment of the Marvel universe in his books: The X-Men. This week writer/artist Tom Scioli enters the picture with his own take on Marvel’s Grand Design series, focusing on the Fantastic Four in the new series Fantastic Four: Grand Design.
In Issue #1 Scioli takes readers through an origin story of the Fantastic Four: Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm, as they become Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Human Torch, and the Thing, all in a similar style to Piskor’s series. As expected, readers can look for a lot of history in 45 pages, including meeting one of the Watchers, Doctor Doom, Black Panther, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Mole Man, the Hulk, the Celestials, the Inhumans, Galactus, Silver Surfer, and lots of other characters tucked into the corners. Since the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I find it difficult to separate the comics from the movies, and every comic I read pulls me into the thought of how it might be adapted for the big screen. If you haven’t been keeping up, along with the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, and Namor all moved over to Disney’s MCU, and Scioli lays out one possible way the Fantastic Four could be introduced into the reel world dominated thus far by the Avengers. Could the first Fantastic Four movie, or a Fantastic Four sub-series of films (like the Avengers) segue moviegoers into the missing pieces never before seen on the big screen like Namor, and pull in the above heroes and villains? We’ll know in a few years.
Look for two covers by Scioli for the first issue of Fantastic Four: Grand Design, and one variant, a very cool homage to Frank Miller’s second issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns featuring the Thing in place of Batman, re-created by Ed Piskor (shown above with Miller’s original). Want to have a look inside the first issue? Here’s a preview of #1, and a sneak peek at Issue #2:
Run, don’t walk, to Elite Comics or your local comic book store now to grab the first issue of Fantastic Four: Grand Design, another great retro fix throwback from Marvel Comics.