Review: FANTASTIC FOUR 4 YANCY STREET #1 – The Ben Grimm Story We Deserve

FIRST IMPRESSION

FANTASTIC FOUR 4 YANCY STREET acts as a standalone story that those not reading any current Fantastic Four stories can enjoy.
Writing
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Lettering
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Are you tired of interstellar travel that somehow always starts a war with aliens? Or any of the weirdly obscure adventures the Fantastic Four go on? Well, Fantastic Four 4 Yancy Street is right up your street. Out now at your local comic shop.

Fantastic Four 4 Yancy Street is more of a one-shot than the start of anything; or as Marvel says, “the first in a series of regular essential release.” Taking place in between the ongoing (reviews here), the Fantastic Four now reside on one of the most famous streets in Marvel history—Yancy Street. This street means a lot to the Fantastic Four, but the most to Ben Grimm (The Thing), who this story primarily revolves around.

Review: FANTASTIC FOUR 4 YANCY STREET #1 - The Ben Grimm Story We Deserve 1
Retelling of Ben Grimm’s childhood, with art by Greg Smallwood

Ben’s love for Yancy Street runs deep, he has fond memories of his older brother, until said brothers death. Writer Gerry Duggan and artist Greg Smallwood use three pages to retell Ben’s troubled childhood. They use a newspaper print look and simplistic art style/paneling. The three pages even have the small colored box on the top of its page. This art is beautiful and works best for the flashback, with Smallwood then changing his style to reflect the present. This style change comes with the popularly used white paper, while Smallwood opens his panels to breath more.

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The present by Greg Smallwood

With his troubled past now retold, Ben stumbles upon graffiti on the youth center dedicated to his older brothers memory. Wanting to “clobber” the urban artist Ben makes his way home asking Reed for help on finding the suspect. The moment inside the Fantastic Four’s house Smallwood starts to open his panels more until he goes full Kirby structures. When Reed enters the frame, Smallwood graces the reader with a full-page filled with devices Kirby would have loved.

As the pace quickens, Smallwood returns to the simple square panels, now with six per page helping Duggan’s story keep the flow. Then, all the sudden, Mark Bagley takes over. For the battle between Ben and The Terrible Trio, Bagley makes the panels huge. As great as Bagley’s art is, it was such a vast departure from Smallwood’s that its jarring, in a negative way.

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Mark Bagley starts the action!

Then, before you know it, Luciano Vecchio and Pere Pérez are the artists on the book. This shift in style doesn’t hit as hard as the previous since Vecchio and Pérez’s style art similar to Bagley, but the change still feels awkward.

A great call back to the artistic history of the Fantastic Four is the way letterer VC Joe Caramagna plays around with the font size and colors. Anytime a character yells Caramagna makes sure you know with boisterous lettering that screams off the page. The conversations are very stylized. This old-school technique is refreshing and fits perfectly.

The Fantastic Four On Yancy Street (Conclusion)

Fantastic Four 4 Yancy Street is a fun Ben Grimm story that keeps the Fantastic Four grounded. Yancy Street acts as a standalone story that those not reading any current Fantastic Four stories can enjoy.

The art my take a hit each time it changes artist, but for the most part, it works quite well. 4 Yancy Street would’ve benefited by staying with just one artist. Smallwood’s art is the highlight of the issue.

Memorable Quote: “I don’t smash–I CLOBBER!” – The Thing

Yeah, because then your catchphrase would be, “It’s smashin’ time!” Which sounds weird and inappropriate!


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Jason Jeffords Jr
Jason Jeffords Jr
Jason resides in the cold crime-ridden town of Anchorage, Alaska. When he isn't running away from murderers, he "chills" at home reading comics/books, watching films/TV, and playing video games with his three-legged cat Lucky. Oh he also sometimes writes for websites such as Monkeys Fighting Robots, Comics Bulletin, and Witll.

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