Comic Book Coffee, number 122: Fantastic Four #542, penciled by Mike McKone, inked by Andy Lanning & Cam Smith, written by Dwayne McDuffie, lettered by Russ Wootan and colored by Paul Mounts, published by Marvel Comics in March 2007.
During the ongoing fight over the Superhuman Registration Act, Reed Richards and Johnny Storm meet at a coffee shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn to try to make sense of things. Of course Johnny can’t help but flirt with the lovely barista behind the counter, and he insists on getting decaf for Reed “because you’re so grumpy lately.”
British artist Mike McKone made his professional debut in 1989 on Justice League International for DC Comics. He was worked on a wide variety of titles over the past three decades, including Teen Titans and Vext for DC, Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers Academy, Exiles and Punisher War Zone for Marvel Comics, Magnus Robot Fighter for Acclaim, and Spartan for Wildstorm. Most recently he drew a number of Star Wars covers for Marvel. This sequence from FF #542 ably demonstrates McKone’s aptitude for effective storytelling, as he makes the conversation between Johnny and Reed visually interesting, imbuing both characters with a great deal of personality & emotion.
This was the first issue of the late, great Dwayne McDuffie’s all-too-short run on Fantastic Four. McDuffie was a superb writer, and in this installment he made sense of Reed Richards’ previously-jumbled, incoherent motives during the Civil War crossover. He wrote FF thru issue #553. If you haven’t read those comics I highly recommend seeking them out.