One of the reasons why Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s Fantastic Four run works so wonderfully is because they focus on the FF as a family, and they do so without skimping on the imaginative action/adventure. Other super-teams might be like a family, but the FF legitimately are one.
And in this issue, the family dynamic plays into the plot. Reed and Sue’s young son Franklin accidentally creates a sentient mathematical expression while fiddling with his father’s advanced computer because he was trying to make himself smarter so his parents would love him more. The sentient expression wants to use Reed to create a balanced equation, so it attempts to “subtract” everything and everyone from his life until they are equals.
Math is not for the faint of heart.
Yes, it can be a little goofy, but it’s also genuinely heartfelt and relatable. That’s the balance a great Fantastic Four story strikes (and one none of the movies managed).
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Fantastic Four by Waid & Wieringo Ultimate Collection, Book 1 (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 9 and up