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Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 4 (Marvel Essentials) Paperback – October 4, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; Direct Ed edition (October 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078511484X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785114840
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lynn D. Walker on August 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume (which reprints FF 64-83 & Annuals 5 and 6) begins perhaps slightly past the creative peak of Fantastic Four, but that doesn't mean it doesn't contain some of the best comics stories ever done! For those with any affection at all for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby storytelling, this book is a must-have. Jack was beginning to withhold his better creations from Marvel, but it is only noticeable in hindsight. It certainly doesn't feel like he's holding back. The collection contains lots of great stories featuring the FF and their supporting cast of the Black Panther, the Inhumans, Galactus, and the Silver Surfer. Two spectacular annuals particularly stand out.

The reproduction is some of the best in the Essential series. There was one error in the production of the book, a variant cover reproduced on the last page of the book is the same as the cover printed at the beginning of the book. The cover design doesn't exactly work either, and there is too much blank space on the front cover, but it is nice to see Kirby artwork on the front cover of his own material, unlike several of the other Essentials. These are minor quibbles, and I don't imagine they'll affect tne enjoyability of the book at all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the wake of the Civil War that has shaken up the Marvel universe, Reed and Sue Richards have left the Fantastic Four to try and save their marriage and have been replaced by another married couple, the Black Panther and Storm. So it was interesting that the same week I heard this news I was reading through Volume 4 of the "Essential Fantastic Four," which covers the first time that the FF had a new lineup, when Crystal, the elemental Inhuman who was Johnny Storm's girl friend, replaced Sue when she was dealing with her newborn son, Franklin. Sue's pregnancy was announced in the "Fantastic Four" Annual #5 and she gave birth a year later in Annual #6, both of which are included in this volume along with issues #64-83 of the comic book. The stories are all written by Stan Lee, with Jack Kirby being credited as co-plotter and penciler. With the exception of Annual #5 all of the stories are inked by Joe Sinnott, who did as nice of a job of inking Kirby's pencils as anybody. I like what Vince Colletta did with Kirby on "The Mighty Thor," but Sinnot's work on the "Fantastic Four" represents the King's artwork at its best for my money.

Comic book superheroes having children was a rather novel idea, but then having them get married was a rather radical notion (it took decades for Superman and Lois Lane to finally get hitched). But during the Silver Age of comic books the big idea at Marvel was to try and be (relatively speaking) more realistic. Reed Richards and Sue Storm loved each other, so instead of having years of lovers' quarrels like Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyke, it made sense for them to get married, and once they got married having a kid would be the next logical step.
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Format: Paperback
It's all been said here, but when Stan Lee declared the FF "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine" - he wasn't kidding. Much of the credit goes to Jack Kirby, who truly embraced and loved his characters - the Thing, Mr Fantastic, Invisible Girl and the Torch. Volumes 3 and 4 of the Essential FF series are basically Kirby in overdrive and his best. Sinnott is arguably, as some say, the best inker the FF and Kirby ever had.

I can't help but feel that something in Jack Kirby died when he left the FF behind. Nothing before or ever since comes close to what he accomplished with Stan in the FF. The chemistry, the love-hate relationship between the two men - whatever went on - translated into a passion that remains one of the unparalleled artistic achievements in comicdom. For all the soap operatics and cornball cracks which appear in the series, each page is a fresh experience. No two frames look alike - and with thousands of pages of art - the villains, the drama, and the humour defined a comic generation.

I only wish this collection was available in full colour - and an affordable price! But the fact that it grabs you even in black and white is testimony to its punch.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume collects Issues 64-83, and Annuals #5 and #6 of Marvel's first family. The book has some good issues, some odd ones, but overall comes out ahead.

Issues 64 and 65 classically introduce to the Kree Empire, first through a Sentry robot and then through Ronan the Accuser, a key moment in Marvel history.

Issue 66 and 67 are a somewhat so-so story about under earth people kidnapping Alicia for nefarious purposes. Not a great story.

Fantastic Four Annual #5 is a great annual. It's a 30 page story with the FF, the Inhumans, and Black Panther teaming up to find Pyschoman and some other villains plus a special announcement that Sue and Reed are expecting. It also includes a 12-page solo story for the Silver Surfer as he matches up with the vilainous Quasimodo.

Issues 68-71 are classic. While there have been other "Ben Grimm" turns evil stories, this was perhaps the most epic with a lot of twists and emotional tension.

After Issue 71, Reed and Sue decide to cut out on the FF but that's cut short when the Watcher has to summon them as the Silver Surfer has decided to start blowing things up to start world peace and the FF has stop in Issue 72.

Issue 73 is fun but somewhat gratuitous. Doctor has tricked the FF into fighting Daredevil and Spidey comes in along with Thor to even the odds. So it's a nice exhibition that's actually pretty pointless.

Issues 74-77 has Galactus returning to Earth to get the Silver to help him find a planet to eat and if he can't be found, Galactus will break his word and eat Earth. This forces the FF to go into a microscopic world to find the Surfer. It's a fun plot though to long-term Marveldom, it remains pretty inconsequential at the end.
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