It's been more than two years since the Fantastic Four were last together as a family at the end of the Secret Wars event, and nearly three years since a new issue of Fantastic Four was published. Since then Reed Richards, Sue Storm and their children Franklin and Valeria have been off having adventures in the multiverse, while Johnny Storm and Ben "The Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing" Grimm have had plenty of adventures of their own in the Marvel universe proper.
Even with everything else going on in the pages of Marvel Comics, the absence of the team has been felt in one form or another for a very long time, and fans have definitely taken notice. Now, at long last, the First Family of Marvel Comics will be reunited, with a new #1 issue and a new creative team.
After starting a count-up from one on various social media pages Thursday morning, Marvel officially revealed that the Fantastic Four will return this summer in a new ongoing series, finally ending their long absence from the Marvel Universe as a team. In a conversation with Marvel Vice President Ryan "Agent M" Penagos, new Editor-In-Chief C.B. Cebulski confirmed that the new series will feature the classic lineup of the Four, and that it will arrive in August.
"The First Family is returning to Marvel on a monthly basis," Cebulski said.
When it came time to reveal the creative team, Cebulski teased it out a bit, noting that the publisher has been hoping to relaunch the Fantastic Four for some time, but they waited for the right team to become available. That team is writer Dan Slott and artist Sara Pichelli.
Slott, best known for a mammoth run on Amazing Spider-Man in which he, among other things, killed off and resurrected Peter Parker, is a fan favorite writer whose past credits also include acclaimed runs on The Thing, She-Hulk, and most recently, Silver Surfer. With his Spider-Man run coming to a close this spring, Slott is moving over to begin writing Iron Man, but the announcement that he'll also be tackling the Fantastic Four is arguably more exciting.
"Dan is the biggest fan of the Fantastic Four, but he has that uncanny ability to have this almost encylopedic memory of everything that happened in every Marvel comic, including Fantastic Four from the first issue, and respect the past in the stories but also drive the stories forward with new ideas and new ways of thinking, and new approaches that we haven't seen before," Cebulski said of Slott.
Pichelli is perhaps best known as the co-creator of Miles Morales, the second Ultimate Spider-Man, who became so popular that he was merged into the main Marvel Universe after the Ultimate Universe was destroyed. In addition to co-creating Miles, she also stuck with him through Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, the Spider-Men and Spider-Men II miniseries, and the Miles 616 Universe solo series Spider-Man. Now, she gets to take her talent for character work to Marvel's original superteam.
"The Fantastic Four's not an easy team to draw," Cebulski said. "The Thing is the big orange rock guy, Reed can move in all kinds of directions, Johnny is on fire when he flames on, and Sue, when she's invisible or not, you still have to make her presence felt in each panel. And Sara just can do that like nobody else."
Fantastic Four #1 arrives in August. Marvel has promised more details, including some from Slott and Pichelli, in the coming days. For now, check out the full announcement video below, as well as a teaser image from Pichelli.