Marvel Comics announced today that the Fantastic Four will return, in The Fantastic Four, an ongoing series kicking off in August.
Marvel teased the news on Twitter hours before revealing its announcement video. To be fair, it doesn’t get much bigger than the return of the company’s very first superhero team, which has been missing in action for years.
Despite its status as the book that began Marvel’s revolution of superhero comics, The Fantastic Four hasn’t been published since 2015, when its four leads were splintered across the universe in the aftermath of the Secret Wars crossover. While Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) and Ben Grimm (the Thing) remained on Earth, Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman) and Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) took their kids and set off on an adventure across the multiverse. They’ve only sparingly been seen or referenced since.
“Reed and Sue will be coming back to the Marvel universe,” said Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski, “and [the original] team will be re-forming.”
That team’s book will be written by Marvel veteran Dan Slott, who has just a few more issues before he steps away from a decade-long run on the character of Spider-Man. Artist Sara Pichelli (Guardians of the Galaxy, Runaways, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man) will draw the series.
Since The Fantastic Four’s cancellation in 2015, much speculation has surrounded the “demise” of the Fantastic Four at Marvel, as they are among the Marvel characters that Marvel Entertainment does not currently hold the film rights to. The conspiracy goes that Marvel Entertainment downplays the X-Men and Fantastic Four so as not to provide free marketing for other film studios.
As a counterpoint, Marvel Comics currently has more than a dozen books about X-Men characters. Still, the announcement of the Fantastic Four’s return at this particular time may be seen by some as proof of their misgivings. Marvel’s parent company, Walt Disney Studios, announced that it was acquiring a major portion of 21st Century Fox’s assets in December, opening the possibility of integrating the Fantastic Four and the X-Men with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Here’s the full promo image, revealed in the above video: