When I was a boy—a long time ago—there was always one title that went straight to the top of my reading pile. And when I was done I’d read the book again and again.
The Fantastic Four was written and drawn brilliantly by John Byrne. He shot to superstardom on Uncanny X-Men with Chris Claremont and didn’t miss a beat when he reintroduced Superman to the world in the character’s spectacular reboot The Man of Steel. However, for my taste, nothing came close to the writer/artist’s stunning and captivating work on Marvel’s First Family.
Byrne was clearly a fan of what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had accomplished on the book two decades prior. Byrne’s stories were contemporary takes on the FF while steeped knee-deep in nostalgia. His stories included the Inhumans, Galactus, the Skrulls, Annihillus, the Mole Man, the Puppet Master, and trips through the Negative Zone. He also splintered the team with the exit of the Thing and the inclusion of She-Hulk (it has to be four folks), he introduced cool new costumes, and tore apart Ben and Johnny when a relationship between Mr. Storm and Alicia Masters blossomed.
I have two favorite FF stories. The first (issues #249 and #250) sees a strange visitor from another planet called the Gladiator who comes to Earth to track down the Skrulls. Of course the hunter is certain that Reed and team are all shape-shifters and a battle royale ensues in Manhattan (featuring guest appearances by Spider-Man, Captain America and the X-Men). Perhaps my favorite single issue is Fantastic Four Annual #17 in which Byrne follows up on a story from issue #2 from the long-running series. It would seem that Reed’s decision to hypnotize a group of Skrulls that they were common cows on a farm yielded disastrous consequences after the creatures were milked. The poor townsfolk.
So why the reminiscing? Marvel is releasing a super-sized Fantastic Four Omnibus that features much of Byrne’s run and includes 44-whopping books. The mammoth book clocks in at over a thousand pages of Fantastic Four goodness.
Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus Vol. 1 is scheduled for release this August (details after the jump).
FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS VOL. 1 HC
Written by JOHN BYRNE, CHRIS CLAREMONT, MARV WOLFMAN, BILL MANTLO, STAN LEE & ROGER STERN
Penciled by JOHN BYRNE, MIKE ZECK, JACK KIRBY & RON WILSON
Covers by JOHN BYRNE
It was the world’s greatest comic magazine — again! Not since the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had a creator so perfectly captured the intense mood, cosmic style and classic sense of adventure of Marvel’s First Family. Fresh off an earth-shattering and reputation-making run as penciler on UNCANNY X-MEN, John Byrne proved his writing talent was every bit the equal of his art as he pulled double-duty on FANTASTIC FOUR, launching Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny into realms of imagination and wonder into which few creators before had dared to travel. From the four corners of the globe to the farthest reaches of space to the deepest depths of the Negative Zone, the FF face off against foes old and new — including the Dr. Doom, Galactus and Annihilus! Plus: The FF aid the Inhumans, bid farewell to the Baxter Building, don new costumes and celebrate their 20th anniversary in style as Byrne reminds us all there’s a family at the heart of this team of adventurers! Collecting MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #61-62; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #50; FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #215-218, #220-221, #232-262 and ANNUAL #17; PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #42; AVENGERS (1963) #233; THING (1983) #2; and ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) #4.
1084 PGS./Rated A …$125.00
Trim size: oversized
FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS VOL. 1 HC VARIANT (DM ONLY)
1084 PGS./Rated A …$125.00ISBN: 978-0-7851-5825-7