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3.8 out of 5 stars13
3.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 26 July 2007
I used to read the Fantastic Four a lot when I was a kid. Now, many, many years later, I gave the Ultimate Fantastic Four a chance as I've already been introduced to Mark Millar's The Ultimates series. It still smacks a little of something produced for kids, but that's mainly because the FF of this universe gain their powers when they are still in their teens. However, the story has some powerful moments - not least those moments just after the experiment-gone-wrong which turns these innocents into four of the most powerful beings the world has known (and, check out the woe displayed by Sue and Johnny's dad who feels he has just lost both his kids, a very adult moment that wouldn't be out of place in a more mature offering), and it also has some wonderfully snappy and amusing dialogue (I loved Ben Grimm's view that he'd probably gone mad, something which allowed him to be more devil-may-care about proceedings).

The villain of the Piece, the Mole Man, isn't necessarily the grandest of foes, but he's drawn quite well (reminding me of Danny Devito's take of the Penguin in Tim Burton's Batman films) and he has a nice line in twisted genius dialogue. However, I look forward to latter issues and seeing the Four confront the likes of Doctor Doom and Prince Namor (the former of which has been scripted by Warren Ellis, so that will be an interesting read).

So, all in all, a good effort and a fair beginning and one to while away some time in the bath having a good read (engaging enough for the water to go cold without you even noticing).
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As someone who embraced the idea but not necessarily the execution of Marvel's "New Universe" and have enjoyed many of DC's "Elsewhere" stories, I have applauded Marvel's Ultimate line of comic books. Once you have done over 500 issues of "The Amazing Spider-Man" or any other title I can certainly appreciate the impulse to start over and re-create Marvel's characters for the 21st century. One of the best things about these stories is that they work both ways. If you know nothing about a Marvel superhero beyond what you pick up from a movie, then you can get in on the ground floor (especially with Marvel committed to these tradepaperback collections). But if you were reading Marvel comics back in the 1960s, even as far back as the "Pop Art" period, then you can enjoy the way things are slightly different and how they play off of what "originally" happened. However, with the re-imagining of the Fantastic Four I think they went a bit too far.
"Ultimate Fantastic Four, Volume 1: The Fantastic" brings together the first six issues of the comic book as the "World's Greatest Comic Magazine" makes its long-awaited debut in the Ultimate Marvel universe, which is just a way of saying that while the "Ultimate Spider-Man," "Ultimate X-Men," and "The Ultimates" have been out there for a while, the FF are only just starting to get up to speed. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar, and illustrated by Adam Kubert, we start 21 years before the birth of the Fantastic Four with the birth of Reed Richards. We then jump ahead ten years when Reed is doing a project on teleportation for the Midtown Middle School science fair that succeeds well enough for Reed to be asked to join a government think tank in the Baxter Building. This means he leaves behind his family and his one friend, Ben Grimm, the star linebacker who makes a point of protecting young Reed from the school bullies.
While I liked the idea that Peter Parker is still 15 when he gets bite by a radioactive spider in the Ultimate universe, turning Reed Richards into Tom Swift bothers me. Reed was always the adult in the FF, and it was not just the gray at the temples. Besides, I do not want the Fantastic Four to be teenage superheroes. The X-Men are supposed to be Marvel's teenage superheroes. I do not have a problem with the idea that the unofficial space flight into the cosmic rays where you take along your fiancé and her kid brother has been replaced by a more terrestrial explanation for their transformations. But the think tank being nothing but kids smacks too much of Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game." Originally the future Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom meet in college, where the idea is that each is on the cusp of intellectual greatness. Making them smarter, earlier, just does not work for me and makes me thing this is all a marketing ploy to make the FF more kid-friendly. But I, despite persistent lapses, am not a kid and I like my Fantastic Four to be adults, except for Johnny Storm the (literally) hot-headed teenager.
That being said, one of the other great things about the Ultimate comic books is that they take, as in this case, six issues to tell a story. That means you do not have to come up with a new story and a new villain every single issue. What we have with "The Fantastic" is both the creation of the FF and their first encounter with the Mole Man (who, in a nice twist, is not unknown to them). I thought the best part of the story is how the four members come to terms with their new powers (best line is Johnny's, "Oh, man. I hope that's not Sue," because the Thing's first take on what time it is was too self-conscious). I also like the idea that unlike the Ultimates, the government's pet superheroes, there is initial fear and distrust of these four, especially Ben. Of course, Volume 2 of the "Ultimate Fantastic Four" will be devoted to their first encounter with Doctor Doom, so we at least have to go along for the ride that far to see if their creator can take this comic book to the next level. There is potential, of course, but they are not there yet.
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on 4 September 2004
At first I was a bit worried about the fantasic four being given the "Ultimate" Treatment how wrong was i.
The story is set in the first two Decades of Reed Richard's life and continues shortly after the four aquire there powers.
This is more of an introduction to what's to come with a brief apperance by victor von damme (Dr Doom).
There have also been a few major changes to the story (which i will not say for fans out there!)
From page to page the art work is nothing short of perfect.
This is a brillant, refreshing take on the fantastic four and a must buy for fans and comic book fans.
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on 24 May 2010
One would expect the second coming from the pairing of Millar and Bendis, aptly aided by the amazing (wait, I mean fantastic!) Adam Kubert, here at his second milestone in the Ultimate Universe (after creating Ultimate X-Men with Millar).
What they achieve is a story just about their respective average, on par with Bendis's own retelling of Spider-Man's origin and Millar'sown remaking of th X-Men, but light years away from Bendis's creator owned masterpiece Powers and Millar's Ultimates or Authority.
The story goes like this: Infant genius Reed Richards has found a way to breach the wall to a parallel dimension. The first large scale experiment with this goes awfully wrong and it mutates Reed, his best friend Ben Grimm, fellow young genius Susan Storm and her brother Johnny into superhumans, while suspect fellow genius Victor Von Doom goes missing (he'll pop up again in Vol. 2, pissed as all hell).
The story has been intelligently reprinted without breaks and it does read like a single story: I honestly could not figure out where chapters started. The collected edition thus reads smoothly, alhough way too slow in the first half.
That's probably because both Millar and (I suspect) especially Bendis wanted to start the story giving us as much background and humanity as possible to our supposed identification figue, super (misunderstood) genius and ultimate nerd Reed Richards (sic).
Bendis's excesses in these directions are exaggerated by his own success with Ultimate Spider-Man (but alas, the magic doesn't work twice) and tempered by Millar's usually faster and more compressed storytelling.
The guy who really shines here though, is artist Adam Kubert, once again turning scripts ino rollercoasters of layout adventuring and simply beautiful art. As a true superhero artist, he fails a bit in facial expressions and the like (but some of them, when he nails them right, are still absolutely priceless). The best sequences are the 4-panels pages Warren Ellis praised him for (which are apparently his idea, meaning he should probably write his own stories and he would totally rock!) and those snake-like succession of panels in double-page spreads towards the end, as the underground cave the FF are fighting the Mole Man in goes down and we learn the final bit of the Invisble Woman's powers.
Thankfully, they also reproduced all of Bryan Hitch's covers to the series too (a pity the Adam Kubert ones were ruined by the most awful computer colouring ever, to the point that the cover to issue six looks like a bad Liefeld piece...), thus making the collection complete.
If you are a fan of the Ultimate Universe, o if you would like to know the Marvel heroes at the ground level and without the baggae of decadesof convouted continuity, this is defnitely for you.
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on 5 December 2014
There are a few elements I liked about this retelling of the Fantastic Four story and a few I really didn't. What stands out is the reimagining of Doom (Victor Van Damme, tsk) as a young man included in the scientific project and (so far) unrelated to his original, campy origins. The issue being that I can't see his reveal as being no less campy and ridiculous either.
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on 30 December 2009
This works in exactly the way that heroes reborn did not work. Perhaps not perfection but close.

The Ultimate FF are really worth a look. Art and production values are superb but where it really scores is in the plot dialogue and charactarisation.

It makes a really good fist of re working the 1961 FF origin and adds to story.
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on 9 March 2013
Just completely brilliant and really reasonably priced. i would recommend this series to anyone looking to get into comics for the first time.
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on 22 February 2015
Great at making the old-fashioned Fantastic 4 more relatable for modern fans
Stays consistently great for about 30 issues + check it out
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on 26 September 2004
One of the first collections I ever bought was the first six issues of Fantastic Four, so when I saw an "Ultimate" Version I was keen to buy. Maybe I expected too much and that's why this collection left me feeling like it was all over before anything had really happened. I don't know how UFF sold in the comic version, but I doubt I would have stayed with it, if what we get here was spread over six months. I will definitely be reading reviews of the next collection before buying. Good, but not great.
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on 11 January 2014
The book itself is a great read, no visible damage inside or out side the book, arrived with in agreed time with time to spare.
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