Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fantastic Four, Volumes 1-4

Jonathan Hickman was the writer chosen for the final arc (as of now) for Fantastic Four, which resulted in the widely reported death of the Human Torch and the monthly book being retitled FF, which stands for Future Foundation. I've never been that into the group, but this was a pretty solid storyline with a lot of crazy stuff going on, all delicately balanced to keep from getting out of control. The Fantastic Four were already a pretty weird group, as befitting super heroes with an origin story that involves them being in outer space. They were already into some advanced stuff when they were turned into freaks thanks to Reed's superb intellect, and putting those together combines for some wild ideas. There's so much going on in these 19 issues; parallel universes with parallel Reeds working together, a bunch of his dads collapsing into one timeline, the discovery of several cities with new civilizations running them, Galactus finding his future corpse and getting PISSED, and the fact that I didn't lose my mind reading it probably speaks to Hickman's ability.

Some of the concepts are pretty silly, or just not given enough time to be explained when he jumps to some new thing he wants to talk about, but it kind of works to create a sense of chaos that builds towards the climax, where not everything is resolved but a pattern emerges and a big emotional event happens for the characters. It's hard to care much about Johnny because I don't have a history of affection for the group and the refusal of most comic book characters to stay dead is pretty infamous, but it's still a well-realized moment, and the epilogue issue of mourning is a departure for most mainstream books and fairly interesting. Plus it had a good Spider-Man scene, so that's a bonus. I don't expect I'll be reading any FF, but I appreciate the occasional opportunity to check out some of the more prominent story arcs that go on in this universe, which are never as resonant as the books I read more regularly but still worth a quick read. Comic books!

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