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Cue up the theme song by Conway Twitty!

Updated: Feb 29

Fantastic Four: Big Town #1

Cover image for Fantastic Four: Big Town from Marvel Comics, showcasing Cyclops, Reed Richards, and a strange looking Iron Man.

What did I just read? Written by Steve Engleheart with art and inks by Mike Mckone and Mark Mckenna, assisted by a small army of folks. This flew completely under my radar whenever it was released and I have never heard it mentioned when people talk about their favorite alternate universes from Marvel. Given what I just read, I think I understand why.

The basic premise seems to be NY is a futuristic paradise because Reed Richards shared all of his high-tech inventions rather than hoarding them, which of course changes both the skyline and the timeline of the Marvel Universe's history. Set ten years after the origin of the Fantastic Four, New Yorkers live in a futuristic city thanks to Richards's (and Stark and a few others) tech being widely released.

The Avengers still exist and seem super chummy with the FF. Some of the "all new, all different" X-Men are part of Magneto's Brotherhood, while the original X-Men are a street gang called the Mutts. Professor Xavier is one half of a partnership with Hank Pym that runs the X-Corps, non-mutant superheroes and non-powered supercops that use tech to fight villains. Speaking of villains, the Hulk hangs out with Magneto, Namor, Ultron, and Red Skull, and Silver Surfer is the brainwashed slave of Dr. Doom. So, the core groups are still in mostly recognizable orbits and rosters, but the relationships have change for some more than others. Oh, and Quicksilver has a soul patch!

The premise is interesting enough, but the dialogue, especially for the heroes is a little too on the nose. "Gee whiz, you're so great, Fantastic Four!" and "We're all so happy" being just two exampes. That's actual dialogue. Or maybe not, but everything wildly swings from glaringly hopeful and optimistic to a lingering hollowness as if somehow some of the characters realize this is all wrong. Maybe all of it is just to set up the inevitable fall. I really hope so, but I'll never know.

The first read through didn't grab me enough to keep reading. I think I donated or got rid of this and later issues, and I don't feel as if I am missing anything truly fantastic. Still, just reading the name of the miniseries gives me an earworm. Might as well give in and play my favorite Conway Twitty tune!

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