Posts tagged ‘apanelfromeveryissueofthefantasticfour’

FANTASTIC FOUR #588: And My Last F4 Review + POLL RESULTS!

fantastic four 588

One of the greatest, saddest comic books of all time.

I’ve read it over and over, and it still makes me weepy.  Even though I knew at the time Johnny Storm wasn’t really dead.  I love this drawing especially for how Nick Dragotta puts Thing in the background, shadowed and sullen.

Great art, great writing, great story.  After this, we got twelve issues of a new title called “FF,” with Spider-Man joining the team for a convoluted (but fun) story in which the bad guys join the good guys, the Inhumans come along, etc. etc. until we get back to F4 volume 1, number 600.  I guess they got there because the twelve FF issues counted as part of Fantastic Four volume 1 after all.

From here on out, Hickman’s run isn’t as good–it’s still good, but not as good.

As I said, Hickman’s work doesn’t lend itself to piecemeal, “panel” reviews like the ones on this blog and, frankly, after reading 600 issues of Fantastic Four, I’m ready for a change.

We had a poll.  43% of you said I should read Amazing Spider-Man next.  29% of you liked Daredevil, which I’ve already started doing (but one reader said he doesn’t care for DD–maybe I can change that!).  Two people voted for The Defenders, and one person suggested Power Pack.

Sorry, no Pack here.  I don’t own the back issues and I’m not that into the comic.  (Runaways, I could be persuaded.)

So, starting tomorrow: Amazing Fantasy #15 and a panel from every issue of Amazing Spider-Man begins.


fantastic four human torch last stand

Johnny faces off against certain “death.”  Or at least death for a year.

I’m realizing that Jonathan Hickman’s run doesn’t really lend itself to “panel from every issue” blogging.  It’s dense, multilayered, and each issue cuts away to different parts of the same ongoing story.  I highly recommend it–I actually recommend it more now than I would have before I started to reread it for my blog–but it’s tough to write single installments about.

I’m going to stop with #600, which is when Fantastic Four Volume 1 officially ends anyway.


fantastic four 582

This storyline reminds me a little of Infinite Vacation, a terrific little miniseries about a guy who teams up with “other hims” from other realities.

In the end, Franklin Richards kills his grampaw to save all the “other Reeds.”


This makes the time stream change again, so that the Reeds who died at the beginning of Hickman’s arc are no longer dead.

It’s pretty heady stuff. Hickman’s run can really make your brain hurt.


fantastic four 580

Reed likes Valeria more than Franklin.

I never realized how deep and well-crafted Jonathan Hickman’s FF saga was until I started re-reading it.

It starts with Reed quitting finding the answer to everything to be with his family, but quickly he decides to let the kids solve everything–and to spend more time with the kid who is actually trying to solve everything.

Franklin’s disappointment at being picked over by his father (terrible drawing of his face there, by the way) turns into “future Franklin’s” willingness to do anything–even kill–to make sure that Franklin’s all over the realities have a father.  That all comes later, of course.

I know the nature of retrospective analysis of comics-as-literature is bound to have spoilers, but with Hickman’s book getting there really is half the fun.  Knowing where he’s going, and the major story beats, actually makes the experience richer.  Kind of like when you read a good Grant Morrison story.

Anyway, this particular issue also shows us that Franklin not only has his powers back, which we already knew, but he’s figured out how to begin to use them.


And, finally, the team of genius kids cures Ben for 7 days a year.  Which, ultimately, is what “kills” Human Torch.

thing cured for a week


fantastic four origin of future foundation

Reed figures out the need for a group of kids to outsmart the smartest scientists in the world.  But he could have done without being such a smug shithead.

FANTASTIC FOUR 575-578: The Prime Elements


IMG_3002First appearance of the Moloid children, who get rescued by The Ben.

In these four stories, Hickman introduces the four cities and most of the major players for the rest of his run.  Remember the four cities?  Future Franklin warned Valeria about them in #574.  You have to admire how well orchestrated this run is.

These were also Dale Eaglesham’s first issues.  Neil Edwards would return for a few issues from time to time, but it’s Eaglesham’s visuals that really define this run.

Hickman also calls back to several old F4 runs–in these issues we see Thing mutate into something looking a bit like he did under Walt Simonson, and we see the corpse of the alternate-Earth Galactus, buried deep in the Earth during Mark Millar’s run.

I really despised Millar’s run, but Hickman actually makes it look interesting in the rearview mirror.


fantastic four #573

In his fourth issue of Fantastic Four, Hickman establishes Valeria as a super-genius.

FANTASTIC FOUR #570-572: Solve Everything


Why is that cereal green?

Anyway, Sue’s line is funny ’cause it’s true.  He’s been with the Council of Reeds.

Jonathan Hickman’s run on the FF started with Reed making a decision: Whether to align himself with a bunch of alternate-reality Reeds and solve all the problems in all the universes, or renounce that opportunity and be with his family.  He chooses family, and that sets the tone for Hickman’s years on the title, with the group adopting and educating brilliant children from all over the universe and always, always doing it together.

FF always described itself as a “family” book, but it really wasn’t until Hickman’s run that Reed actually acted like a father and a husband.

FANTASTIC FOUR #554-569: Mark Millar

captain america robot

Anyone who tries to defend Mark Millar’s run will lose the argument because of this giant robot.

It’s an awful run.

Fortunately, what comes next is Jonathan Hickman, who brings the book back to the kind of sci-fi greatness it hit with Lee/Kirby, Simonson, and Byrne.


fantastic four 544

Black Panther and Storm take Reed and Sue’s place while they reignite their marriage after civil war.

But not really.

The whole concept for this run was that Sue and Reed needed time off to reconcile after they were on separate sides during Civil War…Except that they’re all over this run.  They never go away.

Plus, it’s just a mediocre, boring run.

So, we’re fast forwarding.

It’s a shame, too, because prior to Civil War Fantastic Four was running on all cylinders.

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