COMICS YOU SHOULD BE READING: PART 18
Jonathan Hickman writes, Dale Eaglesham, Neil Edwards, and Steve Epting pencil.
Hickman started his run on the magazine with an idea in mind. Do big things in small places. The opening arc really exemplifies that idea. “Solve Everything”. This is the idea Reed has, which thrusts him into an unexpected, incredibly large scale, and greatly fun adventure through the alternate universes of Marvel. The book doesn’t slow down after this opening, either. The classic themes of the book become more present: family, and great adventure. From the quote at the top of every cover, to the letters page in the back (complete with feedback from Franklin and Valeria Richards), this book has a very classic comic feel to it.
Hickman started his run on the series with issue 570 in October of 2009. He has expressed plans to continue his run at least to issue 600.
The first nine issues of his run are available in two collections, the next four or five (I forget how many issues it has been) will are all available and will be collected in a Hardcover volume some time in the near future. The collections should be available at bookstores and comic shops, and the single issues shouldn’t be impossible to find. If you can’t find one of the volumes in stores they are always available for cheaper on Amazon.
Ironically, right before I started reading this series, I was talking to a friend of mine about how nobody really cares about the Fantastic Four right now. Their movies have been greatly sub-par, and they haven’t really had that great of a presence in the Marvel Universe as a whole. Soon after this discussion, while I was picking up new comics at the shop, I decided to pick up the first HC collection (Issues #570-#575), and while I was at it I got the next two single issues. It was a smaller week and even though I had been talking about how I didn’t care about Marvel’s first family, I had heard about the high quality of Hickman’s run on the series, and I had really been enjoying his Secret Warriors series (which appeared earlier in my list).
I remember reading the book the next day in the library at school. I was entirely blown away. I had never read a comic that had such huge scope, not because it was some huge event that effected the universe as a whole, but just to effect the characters in the series, who, like I said, have barely had much of a big role in the rest of the Marvel universe. I could not believe how amazing the story I had just read was, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Not only was the writing fantastic, though, the artwork was also amazing. Dale Eaglesham’s work on the opening three issues had such a classic feel to it, and it gave me memories of other family science teams, such as Johnny Quest, and the comical parody show Venture Bros. (which happens to be my favorite show currently on TV, so saying it gave me a similar feeling is saying a lot). Needless to say the series was soon added to my subscriptions at the shop, and I eagerly await every new issue to come out.
I can not say strong enough how amazing of a book this currently is. If you are the type of person who wants to read a comic that doesn’t have all the baggage of a lot of other series, then I recommend highly to pick this up. The book stands alone, completely, and I think it benefits from that. I can also compare it greatly to the last series on my list, Warren Ellis’ Planetary, so if you enjoy that book then I would say you need to pick this up.
So my points would be:
- The book is beautiful in every aspect, writing, art, editing, and even the letters pages in the back
- It is easy to get into, there is no baggage, no side series, no tie-ins. It’s very straight forward.
- It has a classic, clean feel, that a lot of comics now don’t have.
- Get it.
There are only two collections right now, the third will be on it’s way soon:
Vol. 1 - $19.99 HC, $14.99 TPB (#570-#574)
Vol. 2 - $19.99 HC (#575-#578)
Vol. 3 - $19.99 HC (Available Nov. 10, #579-#582)
The fourth arc on the series is titled “3”, which will have art by Steve Epting. I believe the arc is scheduled to run for eight issues, which is a large change from the mostly single issue stories that Hickman has been telling so far. According to Hickman and Marvel’s solicitations, this deals with one of the members of the four leaving the team in one way or another, likely being death. The arc is supposed to be the culmination of everything that Hickman has laid out in the series so far. Needless to say… I’m excited.