And . . . a new creative team brings me back to the Fantastic Four. The first thing I notice is that the smartarse, self-consciously ‘modern’ cover dress of the Millar/Hitch run has gone. Look at that lovely Seventies logo, complete with headshots! OK, so the cover line meant to entice us to buy is depressing (‘what is the true cost of a man’s mistakes?’), but that’s easily fixed – just give us back the traditional Lee/Kirby boast that this is ‘the world’s greatest comic magazine’ and I’ll be a happy chap.
Jonathan Hickman’s debut script uses as its springboard his recent FF: Dark Reign mini series, and the Civil War shenanigans, with Reed Richards desperate to ‘solve everything’. A run-in with the Wingless Wizard, happily creating clones to attack the FF on his way to building a better world, doesn’t alert Reed to the dangers of his own god complex. So the offer of a bunch of otherdimensional Reeds to join their troubleshooting council is tempting.
The rest of the issue has some nifty characterisation for the first family, with Johnny and Ben on form, and Sue strangely tired. Hickman’s handling of kids Franklin and Valeria is a joy. I just hope that he shares out the big scenes as time goes on – so far, it’s obvious that Reed is His Guy (he even gets a character-forming flashback with old beardie weirdie Nate Richards and a tremendous treehouse). For now, though, I’m happy to see where Reed’s latest spot of mad science goes – will the man who calls himself Mr Fantastic ever learn some humility?
Dale Eaglesham’s illustrations fit the script perfectly, being powerful in the fight scenes and quiet for the domestic moments. My only moan is that the retained Bryan Hitch short-sleeved costumes look awful – awkward and ungainly. I’m for a move back to the Kirby jumpsuits or the Byrne-tweaked version, and sharpish. And unless there’s a reason for the FF to have the costumes on, civvies would be nice – surely by the time Franklin and Val are being put to bed the team could have changed into something a little more comfortable?
These are mere quibbles, though. Eaglesham and colourist Paul Mounts give us a good-looking FF here – heck, Johnny is practically a Greek god and those kids are soooo cute – and I hope they have a decent run on the book. Looks like I’ll be here awhile myself.