Issue #1 of Marvel’s Fantastic Four hit shelves and digital stores today, bringing comic book fans their first proper taste of the FF in three years. The comic – which arrives 57 years to the day that the original Fantastic Four #1 made its debut – is the first in hopefully a long run of new FF stories featuring the original foursome: Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing.

I couldn’t be happier with this first issue. The last three years have been an odd time without the Fantastic Four on comic book shelves.

I’m not saying I’ve read every Fantastic Four book or that I bought every issue on a monthly basis – I didn’t – but the idea of the FF not being part of the Marvel Universe just seemed wrong. Knowing that the team was not likely to pop up in an issue of Spider-Man or The Avengers just seemed, well, sad.

Thank Zod then for Fantastic Four #1, which not only ushers in this new age of stories, but also brings a sense of hope with it. And that’s what this first issue is really all about – hope.

For those who have not read the comic yet, the book is very much about building up the team’s return. This means *SPOILER* we’ve not got the reunion just yet, instead we’ve got the knowledge and anticipation that it’s coming.

Those who read Marvel 2-in-1 featuring The Thing and the Human Torch will know that the FF have yet to reconnect. Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm have been on a quest to find their lost teammates, but they’ve not reached the end of their journey and as such the Fantastic Four is very much still a twosome.

So, for Fantastic Four #1 we’re presented with the preamble, which leads to a return (of sorts) by the end. Does this mean readers are shortchanged? Heck, no!

While Fantastic Four #1 is light on FF action, it is still packed with everything you could want in a Fantastic Four book: Heart, humour and the ever reliable bickering between Ben and Johnny. There’s also a little bit of relationship development on the Ben & Alicia front and as mentioned above, there’s a story about the hope that things will work out in the end.

What this book does is provide the perfect jumping on point for new readers and those of us who have waited three years for this moment. This is a new beginning, but also a simple continuation of everything that has come before.

That’s pretty much what we need, right?

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Image: ©Marvel Comics

In addition to the main story, the book also includes two back-up strips. The first is Doctor Doom-centric and re-positions Victor Von Doom as a deadly villain.

The Marvel Universe needs a big bad Doom as much as it needs the Fantastic Four, so this short tale is useful as it reaffirms the fact that Doom is back on his dark path. ALL of the elements of the FF have returned.

The second, very short tale features the Impossible Man and is purely included to poke fun at this first Fantastic Four comic. So, before anyone can pass comment that this relaunch issue is not 100% FF, Impossible Man has jumped in and done the job for you.

Overall, I am loving seeing the Fantastic Four back on shelves and I really enjoyed this first issue. Let’s never lose touch again.