Monday, December 19, 2011
Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman v4 TPB
Man, these trades seem to take forever before they come out. Doesn't it seem like forever that Marvel did their big media blitz about the Human Torch dying in this comic?
In any case, it is clear that Jonathan Hickman is really keen on his Future Foundation concept, that's where this book is leading. In fact, the Foundation operates as a team through this whole collection, with Val and Franklin both exhibiting their world-class powers, and Alex Power seems right up there now too.
In contrast, the FF spend this collection split up handling different missions, many of them wrapping up old FF storylines. Reed Richards heads out to Nu-Earth to convince Galactus that he doesn't need to destroy that planet. Susan Storm heads under the sea with Namor to broker a peace treaty with the ancient Atlanteans she discovered in the polar icecaps. Meanwhile, Ben Grimm drinks the potion the Foundation made that will turn him back into a human for one week a year. So he and Johnny Storm go out on the town. (Johnny's reaction when Ben reverts to humanity is my favorite segment in the whole collection.)
Turns out that is bad timing, since Annihilus has chosen this moment to send another Annihilation Wave into the universe. This time, he's blasting free through the Negative Zone portal in the FF's headquarters. Closing this portal is the crux of much of the collection, and I found myself being won over by the snarky Wizard-clone (he might be the 2nd biggest brain in the Foundation).
Again, I like all these plots, but Hickman's take on the FF is so... dry. Johnny and Ben are the only two who have any fun with this hero thing. Killing Johnny off doesn't improve that situation. The final issue is a silent one, featuring the cast as they agonize over Johnny's death. (But hey, no body means a likely comeback, right?) I will be switching to the library collections for Future Foundation.
Steve Epting and Nick Dragotta are fantastic pencillers. From start to finish, this is a beautiful comic. The original Atlanteans include this awesome crab race that I marvel at every time they appear. Epting's art is simply stunning, and while he draws Susan Storm a tad young-looking, I love the way he draws her controlling a room with her confidence (even a room with Namor in it!)