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FANTASTIC FOUR #588: And My Last F4 Review + POLL RESULTS!

fantastic four 588

One of the greatest, saddest comic books of all time.

I’ve read it over and over, and it still makes me weepy.  Even though I knew at the time Johnny Storm wasn’t really dead.  I love this drawing especially for how Nick Dragotta puts Thing in the background, shadowed and sullen.

Great art, great writing, great story.  After this, we got twelve issues of a new title called “FF,” with Spider-Man joining the team for a convoluted (but fun) story in which the bad guys join the good guys, the Inhumans come along, etc. etc. until we get back to F4 volume 1, number 600.  I guess they got there because the twelve FF issues counted as part of Fantastic Four volume 1 after all.

From here on out, Hickman’s run isn’t as good–it’s still good, but not as good.

As I said, Hickman’s work doesn’t lend itself to piecemeal, “panel” reviews like the ones on this blog and, frankly, after reading 600 issues of Fantastic Four, I’m ready for a change.

We had a poll.  43% of you said I should read Amazing Spider-Man next.  29% of you liked Daredevil, which I’ve already started doing (but one reader said he doesn’t care for DD–maybe I can change that!).  Two people voted for The Defenders, and one person suggested Power Pack.

Sorry, no Pack here.  I don’t own the back issues and I’m not that into the comic.  (Runaways, I could be persuaded.)

So, starting tomorrow: Amazing Fantasy #15 and a panel from every issue of Amazing Spider-Man begins.



fantastic four human torch last stand

Johnny faces off against certain “death.”  Or at least death for a year.

I’m realizing that Jonathan Hickman’s run doesn’t really lend itself to “panel from every issue” blogging.  It’s dense, multilayered, and each issue cuts away to different parts of the same ongoing story.  I highly recommend it–I actually recommend it more now than I would have before I started to reread it for my blog–but it’s tough to write single installments about.

I’m going to stop with #600, which is when Fantastic Four Volume 1 officially ends anyway.



fantastic four 582

This storyline reminds me a little of Infinite Vacation, a terrific little miniseries about a guy who teams up with “other hims” from other realities.

In the end, Franklin Richards kills his grampaw to save all the “other Reeds.”


This makes the time stream change again, so that the Reeds who died at the beginning of Hickman’s arc are no longer dead.

It’s pretty heady stuff. Hickman’s run can really make your brain hurt.



fantastic four 580

Reed likes Valeria more than Franklin.

I never realized how deep and well-crafted Jonathan Hickman’s FF saga was until I started re-reading it.

It starts with Reed quitting finding the answer to everything to be with his family, but quickly he decides to let the kids solve everything–and to spend more time with the kid who is actually trying to solve everything.

Franklin’s disappointment at being picked over by his father (terrible drawing of his face there, by the way) turns into “future Franklin’s” willingness to do anything–even kill–to make sure that Franklin’s all over the realities have a father.  That all comes later, of course.

I know the nature of retrospective analysis of comics-as-literature is bound to have spoilers, but with Hickman’s book getting there really is half the fun.  Knowing where he’s going, and the major story beats, actually makes the experience richer.  Kind of like when you read a good Grant Morrison story.

Anyway, this particular issue also shows us that Franklin not only has his powers back, which we already knew, but he’s figured out how to begin to use them.


And, finally, the team of genius kids cures Ben for 7 days a year.  Which, ultimately, is what “kills” Human Torch.

thing cured for a week




The first 100 issues is arguably the most creative run on a comic of all time. Here’s why:

Agatha Harkness (#94) Awesome Android (#15)

Blastaar (#62)

Black Panther (#52)

Diablo (#30)

Dr. Doom(#5)

Dragon Man (#35)

Frightful Four (#36)

Galactus (#48)

Hate Monger (#21)

Impossible Man (#11)

The Inhumans (#44)

Mad Thinker (#15)

Medusa (#37)

The Microverse (#76)

Molecule Man (#20)

Mole Man (#1)

Psycho Man (#77)

Puppet Master (#8)

Rama Tut (Kang) (#19)

The Red Ghost (#13)

Ronan The Accuser (#65)

Silver Surfer (#48)

Skrulls (#2)

Sub Mariner (1st Silver Age)(#4)

Super Skrull (#18)

Adam Warlock (#67)

The Watcher (#13)

Yancy Street and the YS Gang (#20)


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