Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

FF #4

By Colin Andersen
May 26, 2011 - 22:19

Few People are able to write a long-term story the way that Jonathan Hickman does and FF is proof of that. I was extremely hesitant when this series was announced as a follow up to the ending Fantastic Four as I was worried that too much of the story of that book would simply be swept under the rug. As it turns out, my worries were completely unfounded and FF just continues the story that Hickman started in Fantastic Four.

In fact, Hickman is currently using FF to wrap up some loose ends from his very first story arc in Fantastic Four called “Solve Everything” in which a council of alternate Reed Richards(es?) abandon their lives and families to band together and shape perfect universes. In the current story, young Valeria Richards accidentally allows four of these Reeds to invade the Marvel Universe and they are desperate to get back to their plans, so much so that they are willing to start the much-touted War of the Four Cities that has been brewing in the background of Hickman’s run. Knowing that there is little that can stop four of the smartest men in all universes, the Future Foundation bring together some of their smartest and deadliest enemies to brainstorm how to stop these Reeds.

This grouping of villains is easily the highlight of FF #4. Reading each of their different plans, all of which are very in line with their individual personalities, and their clashes with each other is pure comic book enjoyment. Hickman has nailed all of these villains perfectly, but the real fun comes from the obvious anguish having to listen to these theories causes for Reed. This kind of conversation would upset anyone, but Reed has very specific feelings that are unique to him: he knows how smart these men are and how dangerous that makes them and that they are his responsibility.  There’s also some really good action this issue as Sue Richards leads a team to Old Atlantis and it is safe to say that this is where the War of Four Cities is finally beginning. Perhaps the best part of this issue is not even in the issue itself, but in the preview of next month’s cover which seems to indicate the return of a big Marvel character that has me particularly excited.

The art in FF #4 is no slouch either. Barry Kitson steps in this month and does a surprisingly solid job of keeping visual continuity between his art and Steve Epting’s. A lot of this can be attributed to Paul Mounts’ stellar coloring job, but Kitson also steps up his games and tightens his linework some. Normally, Kitson’s work is similar to the loose style of Mike McKone, but it is apparent that he put effort into matching Epting as much as possible. He really does a good job, but some panels look better than others with some looking rather rushed or some awkward facial expressions. Two in particular that stood out are one in which Alex Power has an odd look on his face that makes him almost look as though he’s on drugs and another where Kitson actually changes the shape of Dr. Doom’s mask for the sake of emotion. I understand what he was going for with this panel, but all it did was take me out of the issue and look rather silly, but if you have ever wanted to see Doom frown with his mask on, this is your chance. These are fairly minor quibbles all in all, though.

FF has managed to become a remarkably solid comic book in its four issues. In fact, I would argue that it is easily one of the best super hero comic books on sale right now. Hickman is a consistently good writer that knows how to write stories that deftly interlock if you can follow the events as they transpire. If I had to list a problem with this series, it is that is far from new-reader friendly despite being only four issues old. However, not every series needs to be and FF uses all of its continuity to its advantage. Aside from that fact and some minor art problems, FF really is a comic book that every superhero fan should be reading, so go pick it up (and Hickman’s Fantastic Four trades if you need to catch up)!

Rating: 9 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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