A few weeks ago, I picked up two variants of the Fantastic Four Wedding Special #1. I was originally mildly annoyed at having picked up two copies of the issue but as I was putting this post together, the benefit arose when I was able to piece together a crude love heart from them both (Even if Namor looks a little too menacing for a post ultimately revolving around love). This has no particular bearing on the rest of the post but just wanted to mention it.
Now admittedly, I am by no means an expert on the Fantastic Four. However, I was familiar with Ben Grimm (AKA The Thing) and Alicia Masters loving relationship. With that in mind, and considering the date yesterday, I felt it was a good time to take a look at this special issue set just before their nuptials.
The issue is divided into 3 small stories: Alicia’s Bachelorette Party, Ben asking for Alicia’s father’s blessing, a task made all the more daunting what with her father being the Puppet Master, a notorious F4 adversary, and what I’ll describe as a whistle stop tour of the Puppet Master’s history with the Fantastic Four.
The bachelorette party sees Alicia and her friends, including the likes of Sue Storm, Medusa and Jennifer Walters, hit the town going to a rather interesting establishment. However, their fun is quickly interrupted by Mole Woman. Gail Simone was on writing duty for this short story and did a fantastic job capturing both Alicia’s calm collectedness when chaos inevitably ensues. There was also a couple of wonderful twists, the first involving an unexpectedly sweet interaction with Mole Man (You haven’t misread that, I was as taken aback as you are) and the second involving their chauffeur’s wedding anniversary. Gloriously cheesy and fantastically executed. Laura Braga and Jesus Aburtov were on art and do a brilliant job with the detail and eye-popping colour palette employed. Again, whilst a rather poor commentator on art, I felt it captured that wonderful sense of joy Alicia and Ben’s wedding has brought with its announcement.
The second tale follows a decidedly nervous Ben Grimm taking a trip to the Raft to ask for a blessing from Alicia’s father, the Puppet Master. I won’t go into it too much but Dan Slott includes a rather interesting twist at the end that, if explored, could be an incredibly fascinating arc. That aside, seeing Ben so nervous was rather sweet, reflecting just how much Alicia means to him. The Puppet Master is a pretty intense guy at the best of times, let alone when you’re asking for his blessing. I also really enjoyed the snippets of dialogue we get between Ben and some of the inmates at the Raft. It shows the more human side of heroics, helping people redeem themselves. Mark Buckingham, Mark Farmer and Matt Yackey were on art for this short story and do a stellar job capturing an almost Kirby-esqe style, an apt choice considering his role in the creation of the Fantastic Four. However, it also builds on it with a greater level of detail, capturing Ben’s emotion in particular with such perfection.
The final story is a whistle stop tour of the Puppet Master’s history. Fred Hembeck and Megan Wilson did a great job reducing years of history over 3 pages in a light-hearted and engaging way that honoured the long-existing relationship between the Puppet Master and the Fantastic Four but also that of Alicia and Ben
In terms of the covers I got, I was rather disappointed that neither included the betrothed together but such is the way with mix and match bags. That being said, the Ferry variant depicts a rather entertaining scene involving the Fantastic Four and Deadpool. Martin’s Villain variant was also well illustrated, though Namor was an interesting choice considering his role in Sue and Reed’s relationship. I appreciate he’s a long standing adversary of the team but his role as a romantic wedge seems somewhat off in this instance. Probably just me.
On a final note, the contents page was also pleasantly decorated to imitate as a wedding invitation. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen something like it but it felt appropriate to comment.
Overall, it was a sweet special that captured Alicia and Ben’s relationship well. In a time where comic book weddings just seem to be a way to sell extra stuff, this is the real deal. Even with my rather cynical view of romance (Edgy, I know) it was difficult to not share in their heartfelt moments and excitement over finally tying the knot. I’m rather tempted to pick up the wedding issue itself but the special stands relatively well on its own, a wonderful look at Alicia and Ben’s relationship with each other and their friends.
I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day whether you were with loved ones or on your own (The Muppets’ ‘Me Party’ song is my recommended listening). If you have any thoughts or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments!