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Posts Tagged "apanelfromeveryissueofthefantasticfour"



Since I’ve already read every issue of Fantastic Four and many issues of Hulk, this miniseries seemed like a no-brainer for a write up.  Plus, it was written by Bruce Jones who wrote one of the best Hulk runs of all time, and illustrated by Jae Lee, who also worked on that run (along with many other all-star artists).  I’m not sure why this wasn’t released as part of that series—perhaps it was deep inventory, or perhaps it didn’t fit with Jones’ overall story arc and theme there.  When he wrote Hulk, it was almost as a horror book.  Hard Knocks is not horror.  It’s much more personal.

The story starts with the characters meeting at a diner, and Thing wants to tell Hulk a story…


It’s the story of the first time the F4 met Doctor Doom—one of the greatest single issue comics of all time.  It’s told with a revisionist bent, a little bit anyway, but the main thing is, Thing wants to tell the story to Hulk, not Banner…


Why is he telling the story?  It’s unclear for most of the book, to add the suspense, but much of the interplay is about who is stronger: Hulk or Thing.


It’s the age-old question for Marvel fans.  But remember how I said it was a personal story?  It is.  It’s really about Thing coming to grips with the fact that he can never be Ben Grimm, even when he’s a hero.  Even when he saves the world.  But Hulk breaks shit and is a force of pure destruction, and he still gets to be a human from time to time.


This gets 5 stars from me.  A fantastic miniseries well worth hunting down.


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


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