A lot has happened in Marvel comics over the last few years. There was a second Civil War, major superheroes turned over their mantles to more diverse heroes (and then switched back), and Captain America even became a Nazi for a little bit. But there’s also been a keenly-felt absence in the Marvel universe of late, owing to the fact that the blockbuster 2015 event series Secret Wars (by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic) ended by removing the Fantastic Four from the playing field. But after a few years away, Marvel announced Thursday that the Fantastic Four will be returning in a new ongoing comic series this August, written by Dan Slott and illustrated by Sara Pichelli.
“The First Family is returning to Marvel on a monthly basis,” Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski said in Marvel’s announcement video.
The superpowered foursome — Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and The Thing — are often described as “Marvel’s First Family” because they were the first Marvel superheroes created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, setting the tone for all who followed. The ending of Secret Wars saw Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman remove themselves to a far-flung part of the cosmos where they could help rebuild the universe after the destruction wreaked by the Beyonders and their old foe Dr. Doom. Left by themselves, Human Torch and The Thing tried to carry on the Fantastic Four’s legacy by themselves — as seen in the Marvel Two-In-One comic by Chip Zdarsky and Jim Cheung — but now the four will be together again. According to Cebulski in the announcement video, Marvel Two-In-One will continue alongside the revived Fantastic Four.
One possible reason for the Fantastic Four’s much-anticipated return is Disney’s purchase of Fox, which is set to bring the Fantastic Four back under the Marvel Studios umbrella alongside the Avengers and the rest of the big-screen MCU heroes. It had previously been reported and rumored that Marvel originally cancelled Fantastic Four (and scattered the characters to the winds) due to Fox’s hold on the movie rights.
Last year, Slott wrapped up a run with artist Michael Allred on Silver Surfer, a character who was originally introduced in the pages of Fantastic Four and carried on that book’s sensibility of mixing cosmic discovery with emotional human relationships. Pichelli’s role on art makes Fantastic Four one of only a few titles in Marvel’s new “Fresh Start” initiative to feature a woman on the creative team.
Marvel’s new Fantastic Four comic launches this August. Watch the announcement video above.