This volume of writer-artist John Byrne’s run on ‘The Fantastic Four’ reprints no.s 258-267.
His novel approach to the comic book form is in evidence straightaway. (Is FF 258 the only issue of a superhero comic that doesn’t even feature the title characters?) The story concentrated entirely on Doctor Doom, and fleshed out the background of this interesting villain - although perhaps Byrne meant it as a tribute to Annual no.2 (half of which is given over to Doom’s origin story). There are more clever homages here to the glory days of Lee and Kirby, with Doom attempting to recreate the power cosmic he once stole from the Silver surfer (in FF 57). This book even includes a Mole Man story complete with a reworking of the classic monster cover from ‘Fantastic Four’ no.1.
Byrne’s art is beautiful and fluently-drawn throughout, and aside from the Doom ‘power cosmic’ story, there are other exceptional issues including Reed Richards being put on trial for saving Galactus, an offbeat story with the villainess Karisma (who can force men to obey her with the power of her lipstick), plus a clash between Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Octopus.
There are a couple of bonus comic books reprinted here too: ‘Alpha Flight’ 4 (with a crossover Sub-Mariner story), and ‘The Thing’ no.10 (with Ron Wilson’s rather average art, that only showed how great Byrne was).
At 280 pages, this is a good-sized installment in the ‘Visionaries’ series too - especially when you compare it to Volume 7 (the weakest) which has only around 135 pages of John Byrne’s artwork.
Not since the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the trailblazers of the Marvel Universe, had someone so perfectly captured the intense mood, cosmic style and classic sense of adventure of Marvel's first family of super heroes. Writer/artist John Byrne launched the Fantastic Four into realms where few creators before had dared to go. Now, the collection of his classic run continues! Featuring the trial of Reed Richards - and introducing the newest member of the Fantastic Four! Plus, Reed and Sue place the fate of their unborn child in the arms of...Doctor Octopus?!