Marvel has been releasing preview images this week to announce the next big story for one of their flagship titles, Fantastic Four, and specifically the return the of currently left-for-dead Human Torch.
The images started on Monday with a simple â€œ4â€ over a picture of the Earth, possibly signally a return of the original line up. We got a bit of a change up with Tuesdayâ€™s image, which showed the current team, complete with Spider-Man, in their Future Foundation uniforms. Wednesday brought us the big one though, with a big beautiful image of the original team, complete with Johnny Storm. Wednesdayâ€™s teaser was drawn by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada. The only words in the announcement were a simple “Coming November 2011.”
What this presumably means is that the Human Torch will be returning to the first family of Marvel Comics, and that we can expect to see the current FF (or Future Foundation) series wrap up before either going back to the old numbering of Fantastic Four or launching with a new first issue.
The great news is that the current team of Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting will be sticking around, and it looks like they may be joined by Leinil Francis Yu in some capacity. The odder news is the involvement of indie writer/artist Farel Dalrymple (at least Iâ€™m assuming heâ€™s the Dalrymple whose name appears on all of the teasers). Dalrymple has a very unique style, and of all the news, Iâ€™m curious to see how his talent is used for this series.
Ever since the Human Torchâ€™s â€œdeathâ€ in Fantastic Four #587, readers have been awaiting the character’s inevitable return. Johnny heroically sacrificed himself to an oncoming army of FF foe Annihilusâ€™ minions, but his end came without a body, and as comic book fans know all too well, no body, no death. So I donâ€™t think it should come as a shock to anyone that Johnny is returning to the pages of the worldâ€™s greatest comics magazine, and if this does come as a shock, you probably havenâ€™t been reading comics for very long.
What is a bit more surprising is the speed with which the Human Torch is returning. As I said, I think most comic fans who read FF #587 assumed he would be back at some point, but I doubt Iâ€™m alone in thinking that he would be left on the shelf for a bit longer. I have faith that this is all part of Hickmanâ€™s overall story, because itâ€™s been clear from the beginning that he does have a huge story to tell, but this does seem a little rushed.
So, do you think Marvel decided that Spider-Man is over-exposed and wanted to get him off the team, or is this how the story was always planned to go? Are you excited to see the Human Torch light up the night sky in the Marvel universe? I, for one, am looking forward to the story and seeing the teary-eyed reunion of Johnny and Ben Grimm, but thatâ€™s just me.
[Image Source: Marvel]