Ultimate Fantastic Four Volume 3

Ultimate Fantastic Four Volume 3
Ultimate Fantastic Four Volume 3 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 0-7851-2603-1
  • Volume No.: 3
  • Release date: 2007
  • UPC: 9780785126034
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Mark Millar’s contribution to the first Ultimate Fantastic Four hardcover was a stunning high concept reinvention of the Fantastic Four’s origin. His contribution to Vol. 2 was a by-the-numbers introduction of the Inhumans to the Ultimate universe, thankfully far shorter. It’s welcome, then that Millar really turns up for this quartet of three chapter stories, barring a few quibbles and one weak ending, all contenders for the best of the run.

Millar’s obviously determined what’s been holding Ultimate Fantastic Four back is the decompressed nature of the stories, and the pace here is phenomenal. We’re introduced to the Ultimate universe editions of the Skrulls and Namor, taken through a whole cycle of Ben Grimm coming to terms with his new condition, and there’s a time travel story in which the present is altered and everyone gets super powers. There’s an alien threat to the planet, Doctor Doom returns with a fiendish plan, and there’s also a return for someone referenced, but never seen, and whose presence confuses and disrupts the FF. And all of that is before mentioning the Marvel Zombies, introduced in the first story and seen again in the last. It’s clever, it’s thrilling and it’s worth the price of the hardcover.

The big caveat is how you feel about Greg Land’s art. He’s largely good here, really filling the panels, excelling himself with the zombies and giving everyone a super-attractive makeover. The price is some decidedly dodgy placement of heads on bodies and some sleazy, objectifying shots beginning to sneak in. Part of the characterisation is that Johnny Storm is young, shallow and unable to think beyond his groin, but even with that being the case, Land sometimes oversteps the mark.

Only once does Millar lose his way, with the conclusion to what’s otherwise been a fine introduction to the Namor of this universe. Millar must have had an off day when he came up with Reed Richards creating a machine that makes his thoughts reality, and so enabling him to do anything. An Enid Blyton overdose, perhaps.

If price is a consideration, then this material is available in Crossover and Frightful, but this one’s a keeper either way.