A new era for Marvel's First Family is about to begin. Writer Ryan North (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) and artist Iban Coello (Venom) are the new creative team of Fantastic Four. They replace the departing Dan Slott, who has teamed with different artists throughout his multi-year run on the title that started in 2018, including Sara Pichelli, Aaron Kuder, Sean Izaakse, R.B. Silva, and John Romita Jr. Marvel teased a changing of the guard for Fantastic Four during its Next Big Thing Panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Fantastic Four will relaunch in November with a new first issue.
Instead of starting with a big, epic story, North and Coello's Fantastic Four will tell shorter, one-and-done tales that takes the family/team away from their home of New York City. "I had the advantage that Dan Slott's run went super huge," North told EW. "In the most recent arc, The Reckoning War, they saved not just the universe, but the multiverse. That made the choice obvious: I'm never going to go as big as Dan did, so let's tell smaller stories about the Fantastic Four. That was my way in."
He added, North adds, "I want to do these smaller, self-contained stories in the vein of '60s Star Trek where they go down to a planet, find a weird thing, fix the weird thing, and move on. Having these four weirdos roll into town where there's a mystery or a problem or some sci-fi thing, solve the problem, and then move on struck me as a very interesting way to position the Fantastic Four and tell stories that would feel fresh and not like a retread of what we've seen before."
Each issue will focus on a small group of characters. For example, Issue #1 features Ben Grimm/The Thing and Alicia Masters, who got married during Slott's run and have two adopted kids; a Kree son and a Skrull girl. Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic and Sue Richards/Invisible Woman take the lead in Issue #2, with Johnny Storm/Human Torch taking on a starring role in Issue #3. After that, they will all reunite.
"I love that they got married in Dan's run," North said regarding Ben and Alicia. "They have a very real and sweet relationship. Usually in comics, you have this relationship where one character is slated to be the other character's lover, they meet in high school and then get married, it's a straight line. What I love about Ben and Alicia is because they've got 60 years of publication history, you have a Skrull replacing her at one point, you have all these trials and tribulations over the years, which makes the relationship and their marriage feel so real and lived in. They have this history, and they don't shy away from it."
Legendary artist Alex Ross is providing covers for the series, which is ironic since he's also writing and illustrating his first graphic novel featuring the Fantastic Four, which ComicBook.com exclusively revealed in December 2021.
"When I was a kid reading comics, I loved Alex Ross especially, and my brother would tease me about it," North said. "At the same time, I had just gotten my driver's license. In order to drive his car, I needed car insurance, and car insurance is expensive when you're a teenager with no income. I forget how this started, but my brother would tease me by doing impressions of me writing a letter to my favorite artist Alex Ross and saying, 'Dear Mr. Ross, I love your work, would you please pay for my car insurance?' He would relentlessly do this bit."
He continued: "I texted my brother recently like, 'You will not believe what Alex Ross is doing. He didn't buy me car insurance, but he is doing covers for my Fantastic Four comic.' That's a joke for two people, but this is all to say I'm super thrilled. He's a gifted artist, and the very idea that he'll be drawing stuff that comes from my writing feels like a fairy tale."
Fantastic Four #1 by Ryan North and Iban Coello debuts in November.