Civil War Aftermath & 45th Anniversary
I feel like I should have liked this issue more then I did. Dwayne McDuffie has the hard task of writing the 45th Anniversary Issue of the Fantastic Four, while it also being the first Post-Civil War issue. He does manage to celebrate the FF while moving the story forward all at the same time.
The tribute in McDuffie's story is mostly handled in a "Lateline" look back at the Fantastic Four. It's a documentary style special that Ben, Johnny and the kids are watching on TV. While it is nice to see almost every character that's important to the FF mythos comment on the team, the real meat of the story is the conversation between Reed and Sue. If you like them or not, they are Marvel's first couple, and probably the most important.
It all leads up to finding out who is in the "new" Fantastic Four. If you're lucky enough to not know the line up for the new team, then you might be surprised at the end of the issue. Although the reason for the new members staying at the Baxter Building doesn't make much sense to me, it'll probably be fleshed out more in future issues (maybe of another book). The timing for the anniversary issue was just not in the cards. It does feel kinda odd we're celebrating 45 years of the Fantastic Four by having the team "break up", but with this being the first issue coming off of Civil War there wasn't really any way around it.
There's two back up stories here. The first written by Stan Lee and penciled by Nick Dragotta. At first glance I thought this was a reprint of an old FF story as Dragotta does an excellent job of capturing a 60/70s feel with his artwork. This story is a comedy by no stretch of the imagination as Reed Richards doesn't want to save the world because he thinks Marvel didn't do enough to celebrate their anniversary. Although not very relevant, it's a fun story none the less.
The second back up story is written and penciled by Paul Pope. Another fun little story featuring The Human Torch and Spider-Man. Although still not relevant... I'm not going to complain about Paul Pope doing an FF story.
Although I didn't think the issue was all that great, it's probably worth checking out. It's also a great jumping on point for anyone thinking about picking up Fantastic Four. It has a brief history of the team, and it's also embarking on a new story arc.