Fantastic Four: the Movie — graphic novel review

Written by Tom DeFalco. Fantastic Four: the Movie is a graphic novelisation of Michael France‘s and Mark Frost‘s Fantastic Four. And having already reviewed that, it’s really quite difficult to review this incarnation without mentioning things that don’t also apply to the film. If this comes across more a series of thoughts rather than a straight-up review, that’s because it was the only way to talk about this graphic novel. The first thing that comes to mind is the character art. It seems that Marvel Comics didn’t hold the likeness rights to the actors Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis, so instead the Fantastic Four get a complete redesign, along with Julian McMahon’s Victor Doom. That’s a thing, actually; a lot of people can be confused as to why a villain calling himself Doctor Doom would have the real name Victor Doom, but it’s because his identity is public. His name is Doom and he’s a doctor, and this is the person known to be behind the mask. When people refer to him as “Doctor Doom”, they mean “Doctor [Victor] Doom” and not “[the villain known as Doctor Doom]”. The surname’s Latverian, so it’s just a coincidence. That’s just a little thing I wanted to point out.

I suppose I should really talk about the differences. Well, most of it’s the same. Fantastic Four might have crappy, expositional dialogue, which is written to inform the audience what’s happening and not because it’s of the character, but at least it’s more realistic than comic books. Early comic books, particularly Ant-Man, always had a way to describe what they were doing and what was happening in a way that makes Deadpool look real and grounded. For some reason, the graphic novelisation decides to reject the screenplay’s dialogue and instead go back to the corny style of the 1960s that may as well be prefixed with “this is what’s happening:”. But, it’s better than George Lucas‘ dialogue, so there’s that. And at least then it’s actually being said and not hammered into action description as italicised “thoughts” like Greg Cox novelisations.

Most of it is just slightly different versions of the original. Like on extra features, where they show a scene shot from a different angle, or edited in a different way. But it was all done to make reading the graphic novel shorter than watching the film. Which means that a lot of the time it feels forced and rushed. The film might only be one-hundred minutes, but that was a good length.

At the end, the graphic novelisation feels more like an extended promo for the real product, and not something that exists on its own. It’s really only at fault as much as novelisations of anything else.