Saturday, March 3, 2012
FF v1 HC
What an odd approach to the Fantastic Four. Jonathan Hickman is clearly a meticulous plotter, with multiple elements from his last few FF stories coming to a head in this first collection. I bet it was confusing for folks coming in fresh to try and figure out about a second Atlantis, new Inhumans, advanced Mole Men, and a council of Reed Richards.
I love the level of history that Hickman uses in his work. In addition to the concepts above, we get the High Evolutionary, Mad Thinker, Diablo, Mole Man, the Wizard, and of course Doctor Doom. That’s a lot of great villains, and there are almost as many shout-outs to older stories in the actual Future Foundation line-up (which includes Dragon Man, Alex Power, and Artie Maddox). My problem is that the conflicts all feel somewhat sterile; for some reason I’m not invested in the outcome.
A good example is the big battle set near Old Atlantis. Mole Man shows up, along with some of his classic monsters, attempting to drop the city to the ground. The FF show up, and Alex Power gets a few cool moments, but I was never worried about whether the city stood or fell. Spider-Man’s dialogue is snappy, but I feel he’s a bit out of his role when he’s playing big brother to Alex Power during the conflict. He also seems awkward trying to hold a leadership role with the Invisible Woman. I’m afraid the balance that made the Fantastic Four work is out of whack.
Reed Richards is fairly reactive through this whole story. I think almost every decision or suggestion comes from Valeria, Nathaniel Richards, or Doom. Losing your core cast is a risk when your cast becomes so expansive, and I wonder if that’s what causing my lack of interest in the former Fantastic Four.
Steve Epting and Barry Kitson both draw Susan Richards looking a bit too young, but both excel in the black & white Spider-Man costume. I also can’t get past the Thing in his white wrestling togs. I’ve got too many years of blue uniforms to be able to put it right in my head.