By Andy Frisk
January 18, 2012 - 14:31
Now that Johnny Storm is back amongst the living and free of the Negative Zone, the Fantastic Four are reunited and Fantastic Four is an ongoing series again. Thank the comic book gods though that FF is still an ongoing as well. Hickman might have lost his way a little in S.H.I.E.L.D. (although I still really want this book to be finished or continued), but he continues to produce the greatest examples of High Sci-Fi anywhere in mainstream comics. His use of Omega Level Mutant powers, The Celestials, The Kree Supreme Intelligence, The Inhumans, as well as some brilliant characterization, and some great overall storytelling all makes for an all around brilliant read. Hickman’s FF is kinda like the Tool of comic books. There’s always the hint of some super mathematical/scientific mysticism going on just underneath the surface that multiple readings might reveal.
In this issue, Val and her Grandpa Richards are, once again, debating, in a brilliantly written scientific manner, the end of the universe and how to prevent it. They have their plans, plans that only they seem capable of executing and understanding. Reed and the rest of the Fantastic Four are battling other intergalactic threats over in Fantastic Four currently, so it’s up to Val and Grandpa Richards to handle things from their end. Franklin, Dr. (Uncle) Doom and a few other members of the Foundation unite to attempt to stop some mad Celestials from destroying the universe. Celestials whom Franklin makes fools out of at first, but in the end can only be opposed by Doom and the last remaining parallel Earth Reed Richards…
Yeah, there’s a lot of super-science going on here in FF, and all of it is fantastic (pardon the pun). Parallel worlds, intergalactic Space Gods, a beyond Omega Level mutant, and the slight melting of Doom’s heart all comprise some of the most interesting mainstream super heroics around. Hickman’s penchant for intricate and heartfelt, yet steeped in reality warping science, storytelling makes one think that he was born to write Fantastic Four. He’s taken old characters and injected some new life in them and made them some of the most interesting out of all of Marvel Comics’ heroes and villains, all while expanding upon the super and High Sci-Fi themes that made the Fantastic Four franchise so great in the first place.
Juan Bobillo’s artistic style fits FF pretty well. He’s pretty skimpy on the panel background detail, but his up close stuff is well proportioned and highly detailed. The spacious backgrounds and lack of panel gutters on some pages helps create the visual feel of vastness that the storytelling and locations create. These are big themes and characters here, so they do need room to breathe a little.
As long as Hickman is the creative force behind Fantastic Four and FF, these books will remain top of the reading pile each month, as they rightly should be.
Rating: 8.5 /10