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Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 5 (Marvel Essentials) Paperback – June 21, 2006


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Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 5 (Marvel Essentials) + Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 4 (Marvel Essentials) + Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 3 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 3)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel (June 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785121625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785121626
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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A definite necessity for the hardcore fan and curious novice.
Billie Killingsworth
This is firmly within the strong writing of Stan Lee and art of Jack Kirby and others that made Fantastic four the greatest comic book of the time.
David Soltys
His artwork is at his peak, and the inking throughout most of the book by Joe Sinnot is impeccable.
Steven Fuentes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Hazelwood on July 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
It would be hard to overestimate the effect that Fantastic Four #1 had on the entire medium of comic books. It arrived on newsstands in late 1961, not long after a federal censorship crackdown had nearly destroyed the industry, and it came to life mostly because the publisher wanted to ape the success of DC's Justice League series by having some other team of superheroes. But the FF made their own unique mark by flaunting the staid conventions of the genre (It had a team that didn't always perfectly cooperate with each other, had no secret identities, and a superhero that didn't really want to be a superhero) and in fact started to overturn the stigma that comic books were exclusively "children's stories". The series' daring image was defined by its two iconic authors: Stan Lee, who gave his characters and his readers more respect than anyone at the time would have anticipated, and Jack Kirby, whose artwork conveyed an action-packed science fiction fantasy world that seemed to jump off the page. During the mid-60's, Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben were the stars of the most vivacious, imaginative tales that you could find at your grocery stores spinner rack for twelve cents; the Fantastic Four truly were "the World's Greatest Comic Magazine", as it so modestly called itself. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and Kirby left the series and Marvel in 1970 after a long-souring relationship with Lee. The Essential Fantastic Four #5 is thus a very effective time capsule of the decline and dissolution of the most revered creative collaboration in the history of comics.

First, let me start with the issues that I liked. Reed and Sue hire the mystic Agatha Harkness as governess for their son, who was recently given the name Franklin, after Sue's late father.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dave F on December 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
As I state in the title, Kirby's art stands the test of time but Lee's writing comes across as dated and simplistic (he is a great writer by the way but was overworked) but I'm now 42 and demand more complexity to characters and plot lines. Let me comment on both though starting with the art.

The departure of Kirby was devastating to Marvel and especially to the FF as each page looked like a masterpiece. Together with Sinnott's inking you could just stare at the art and wonder how they did it all in a month's time over and over again without loosing quality. It's no wonder the works sold so well and embodied for me the notion that story mixed with art is indeed a form of art. A graphic novel is indeed a graphic novel. No wonder Dan Turbin was created for Superman the Animated series. What a great way to pay tribute to Jack Kirby and the legacy he gave us. I have also heard many rumors about why Kirby left but the one that makes the most sense to me is that Kirby was simply tired of being paid so little for doing so much and who can blame him. The way back then was by the page, and whether your art was junk or fabulous did not matter. It would destroy the career of Jim Steranko who was the next Jack Kirby and invited less qualified but more productive artists such as Sal Buscema into the reins. As you notice in the volume, sweat work by John Buscema and John Romita Sr. took over from Kirby doing the best they can but as a testimony to Kirby they all fell short.

As far as writing there is no question that the prolific pen of Stan Lee was burning out as plot inconsistencies and quirky storylines were showing their age.
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The story has become familiar to comic book fans because it is not just about the birth of a comic book but of the entire Marvel universe. In 1961 comic book publisher Martin Goodman heard from his counterpart at DC Comics that they were enjoying success with a new superhero team, the Justice League of America. Goodman made his money in comics following trends, so he told Stan Lee to come up with a comic book about a team of superheroes. Lee's wife, Joan, suggested that for once her husband should put as much effort and creativity into a comic book as he did for all of the other writing jobs he was doing, and that maybe the time had come to write a comic book that he would actually enjoy reading. Lee worked with artist Jack Kirby to create "The Fantastic Four," consisting of Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), the Human Torch (Johnny Storm), the Invisible Girl (Sue Storm), and the Thing (Ben Grimm). The rest, as they say, is Marvel history.

"Essential Fantastic Four, Volume 5" collects issues #84-110 of the self-proclaimed World's Greatest Comic Magazine," which brings us with issue #102 to the end of Kirby's legendary run on the series. He would come back to do some art for #108, along with both of his initial replacements, first John Romita (Sr.) on #103-106 and then John Buscema on #107-110. Filling "King" Kirby's artistic shoes is not an enviable job, as Romita full well knew having replaced Steve Ditko on "Spider-Man." I will just say that Romita draws the better women and Buscema the better men, and leave it to that, because it would take a while to get used to somebody else drawing these characters.

This collection begins as you would wish with another Doctor Doom multi-part story (#84-87).
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More About the Author

Stan Lee is a man who needs no introduction. Nevertheless: Having begun his career with wartime Timely Comics and staying the course throughout the Atlas era, Stan the Man made comic-book history with Fantastic Four #1, harbinger of a bold new perspective in story writing that endures to this day. With some of the industry's greatest artists, he introduced hero after hero in Incredible Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men and more -- forming a shared universe for rival publishers to measure themselves against. After an almost literal lifetime of writing and editing, Lee entered new entertainment fields and earned Marvel one opportunity after another. He remains one of Marvel's best-known public representatives.