Archive for December, 2013

FF #21

December 31, 2013

FF 21Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
October 2012
*****

The epitome of a Hickman FF issue, w/ smart nonlinear storytelling & epic SF political melodrama. The Kree & Inhumans broker a peace, built upon undoing a space-opera Romeo/Juliet romance! Check how Dragotta not only nails the Kirby costumes, he makes the title team’s b/w costumes look cool!

last issue: FF #20
next issue: FF #22

also indexed for Oct. ’12
The Fantastic Four #609

Advertisements

The Fantastic Four #609

December 30, 2013

Fantastic Four 609Jonathan Hickman // Ryan Stegman
October 2012
****

Millar’s superteam from the future returns to refit Galactus’ corpse as a starship & sets course for the future at light-speed. Over his run, Hickman has improved on Millar’s high concept by adding spacetime wrinkles. Stegman, another penciler from the bullpen, comes in to help JH close the run.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #608
next issue: The Fantastic Four #610

also indexed for Oct. ’12
FF #21

FF #20

December 29, 2013

FF 20Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
September 2012
****

Dragotta shines in the SF opener, where a cityship blasts at a starcruiser. His parallel talent for aliens helps set high expectations for the next phase of Hickman’s FF run: the Inhuman invasion of Earth. In a cute touch, Val & Bentley the Wizard Clone draw a plan up to subjugate the Kree Empire.

last issue: FF #19
next issue: FF #21

also indexed for Sept. ’12
The Fantastic Four #608

The Fantastic Four #608

December 28, 2013

Fantastic Four 608Jonathan Hickman // Guiseppe Camuncoli & Karl Kesel
September 2012
***

I suspect this Wakanda arc should’ve been one issue, like many in Hickman’s run. The tale’s suitable, as Black P faces an oracular cat-god & becomes king of a necropolis, but the payoff’s dispelled by the length. Plus Camunc. & Kesel’s art looks rushed & fails to capture the epic epiphany.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #607
next issue: The Fantastic Four #609

also indexed for Sept. ’12
FF #20

FF #19

December 27, 2013

FF 19Jonathan Hickman // Gabriel Hernandez Walta
August 2012
***

FF accompanies the mothership to Wakanda for a safari field trip. The kids make a friend (a Wakandan wünderkind) as they outflank an African tribe of water-thieves w/o resorting to violence. A charming, kid-friendly adventure that’s way too rare in modern Marvel, a bit like classic Power Pack.

last issue: FF #18
next issue: FF #20

also indexed for Aug. ’12
The Fantastic Four #607

The Fantastic Four #607

December 26, 2013

Fantastic Four 607Jonathan Hickman // Guiseppe Camuncoli & Karl Kesel
August 2012
**

Last ish was post-Vernean SF; #607 (& #608) revisits the mag’s Lost Civ. Wakanda, the home of Black Panther, has been weathering raids from Harryhausen skeletons—footsoldiers in a war w/ the Egyptian God Anubis! Camuncoli’s art (cartoonlike, workmanlike) adds nothing to an ish that’s all set-up.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #606
next issue: The Fantastic Four #608

also indexed for Aug. ’12
FF #19

FF #18

December 25, 2013

FF 18Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
July 2012
*****

Less manic than last ish but equally superb, #18 sees Johnny & the kids learn a lesson in foreign politics. The malevolent bug civ from the Neg Zone requests a free election, then writes votes in for the local Kirby tyrant! You don’t expect Marvel to deliver a sly commentary on American naïvity!

last issue: FF #17
next issue: FF #19

also indexed for Jul. 12
The Fantastic Four #605.1
The Fantastic Four #606

The Fantastic Four #606

December 24, 2013

Fantastic Four 606Jonathan Hickman // Ron Garney
July 2012
**

The team takes a fantastic journey into the human body to remove a tumor from their mailman. By far the most conventional issue of Hickman’s Four. For one thing, Garney’s formulaic style scants on imagining the strange bodyscape (compare N. Adams’ classic odyssey into the Vision).

last issue: The Fantastic Four #605.1
next issue: The Fantastic Four #607

also indexed for Jul. ’12
The Fantastic Four #605.1
FF #18

The Fantastic Four #605.1

December 23, 2013

Fantastic Four 605.1Jonathan Hickman // Mike Choi
July 2012
****

The “bonus” ish is less a jump-in point than another JH done-in-one w/ set-up for a later payoff. It flashes back to sketch a member of the Council of Reeds, who destroyed his alt-‘verse where the FF were Nazis! Choi’s work is better than his covers suggest, w/ lovely colors from C. Peter.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #605
next issue: The Fantastic Four #606

also indexed for Jul. ’12
The Fantastic Four #606
FF #18

FF #17

December 22, 2013

FF 17Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
June 2012
*****

Spider-Man has been underused as a member of FF, a flaw that’s finally rectified by this A+ issue. The creative team write the nerdiest Parker since Ditko’s. Johnny Storm makes a terrible roommate (no surprise), then drags Pete out to party w/ MJ & his alien pals. The final straw is truly hilarious.

last issue: FF #16
next issue: FF #18

also indexed for Jun. ’12
The Fantastic Four #605

The Fantastic Four #605

December 21, 2013

Fantastic Four 605Jonathan Hickman // Ron Garney
June 2012
*****

The Thing’s hide means he ages slowly—a brilliant idea, which Hickman mines for pathos. Reed, via time machine, sees his pal age into loneliness over 5K years, Garney, a pro even in a sloppy era, draws beautiful (albeit conventional) scifi cityscapes & a phenomenal Ben Grimm, incl. rock-beard!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #604
next issue: The Fantastic Four #605.1

also indexed for Jun. ’12
FF #17

FF #16

December 20, 2013

FF 16Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta & Steve Epting
May 2012
*****

If all of John H’s FF run had Nick D on art, it’d be second only to Kirby/Lee! See a heavenly moment of adult Franklin & Galactus viewing sunrise from orbit. This ish, post-grand finale, centers on Hick’s best char: supersmart toddler Val. Even her adult self mistrusts her! And in a coda, Doom.

continued from The Fantastic Four #604
last issue: FF #15
next issue: FF #17

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
The Fantastic Four #604

The Fantastic Four #604

December 19, 2013

Fantastic Four 604Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
May 2012
*****

Hickman closes out his theme of fathers & sons, as Nat & Frank Richards save Reed from mad space-gods. Franklin, in the future, will turn cosmic & take Galactus as his sidekick! Sadly, he’s only given ’90s-style hand-zaps. Maybe #604 itself is only ****, but it’s a perfect climax to an ambitious run.

continued in FF #16
last issue: The Fantastic Four #603
next issue: The Fantastic Four #605

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
FF #16

FF #15

December 18, 2013

FF 15Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
April 2013
*****

#15 dovetails w/ #603, even ending on the same panel. The focus is Franklin, whose “imaginary” friend (a white silhouette) guides him thru a cataclysmic attack by science-gods, then reveals his ID as adult Franklin! Welcome back to Dragotta, whose talent for “acting” warms Hickman’s cerebral tone.

see also The Fantastic Four #603
continued in The Fantastic Four #604
last issue: FF #14
next issue: FF #16

also indexed for Apr ’12
The Fantastic Four #603

The Fantastic Four #603

December 17, 2013

Fantastic Four 603Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
April 2012
*****

Mad science-gods from an alt dimension arrive (via Hickman’s other FF mag) to pitch Galactus out of the heavens! Our heroes return fire via space-cannon powered by the sun & Kirby-energy! Visionary plotting, elaborate & epic in true SF style, tho’ Kitson doesn’t quite capture Hickman’s grandeur.

see also FF #15
last issue: The Fantastic Four #602
next issue: The Fantastic Four #604

also indexed for Apr. ’12
FF #15

FF #14

December 16, 2013

FF 14Jonathan Hickman // Juan Bobillo
March 2012
*****

Thru chrono-hero Nat Richards, Hickman explains his mag’s cosmology of time. The Kree v. the Annihilation Wave, Galactus v. Celestials: all are inevitable but they can be hastened or delayed. So Dr. Doom, full of Miltonic grandeur, will hold the bridge btw dimensions alone against Kirby Titans!

see also The Fantastic Four #602
last issue: FF #13
next issue: FF #15

also indexed for Mar. ’12
The Fantastic Four #602

The Fantastic Four #602

December 15, 2013

Fantastic Four 602Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
March 2012
*****

Hickman remixes Kirby’s original concepts into a grand work of SF, w/ novelistic complexity & cinematic scope. Alien armadas pause their orbital battle to apprehend the advent of rival cosmic gods. Kitson’s clarity, depth of focus, & attn to detail helps immensely in staging this space operatic ish.

see also FF #14
last issue: The Fantastic Four #601
next issue: The Fantastic Four #603

also indexed for Mar. ’12
FF #14

FF #13

December 14, 2013

FF 13Jonathan Hickman // Juan Bobillo
February 2012
*****

A pack of kids, incl. reality-shaper Franklin, face Kirby Gods on an interdimensional space-bridge! But the prime mover is Nat Richards, planning contingencies for potential futures in a Kirbytech harness. Bobillo’s art = elaborate cartooning, yet it has the cosmic grandeur that the tale demands.

see also The Fantastic Four #601
last issue: FF #12
next issue: FF #14

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
The Fantastic Four #601

The Fantastic Four #601

December 13, 2013

Fantastic Four 601Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
February 2012
****

To counter an alien armada, Johnny S. leads his space-insect cavalry into the skies, reinforced by the Inhuman cityship! But can Earth survive a battle low in its orbit? Epting’s in his element, penciling okay widescreen action (if you want Hickman’s heftier, smarter work, read the partner mag).

see also FF #13
last issue: The Fantastic Four #600
next issue: The Fantastic Four #602

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
FF #13

FF #12

December 12, 2013

FF 12Jonathan Hickman // Juan Bobillo
January 2012
****

Hickman’s run goes biweekly; F4 follows the original Four while FF features the Richards children & pals. Val, a delightful schemer, teleports the team’s HQ to Latveria, where she & Grandpa Nat ally w/ Doom & the evil alt-Reed. Bobillo’s art is rough & scratchy but big eyes add a cute feel.

continued from The Fantastic Four #600
last issue: FF #11
next issue: FF #13

also indexed for Jan. ’12
The Fantastic Four #600

The Fantastic Four #600

December 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 600A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Carmine Di Giandomenico
C-story: Jonathan Hickman // Ming Doyle
D-story: Jonathan Hickman // Leinil Yu
E-story: Jonathan Hickman // Farel Dalrymple
January 2012
A-story: **** // B-story: ***** // C-story: *****
D-story: **** // E-story: *****

A king-size #600. The A-story picks up the threads of FF, pitting every NYC superhero against a pair of alien invasions; a surprise twist has the late Johnny Storm break the Annihilation Wave! Then Hickman shows that Torch did die in #587, only to be resurrected in a gladiator scenario. That piece has a Euro look that meshes w/ the bug-‘verse setting; like all the back-up pencilers, it puts Epting to shame. Much of the art is “ugly” yet lovely, accentuating how creative JH’s whole run is.

continued from FF #11
continued in FF #12
next issue: The Fantastic Four #601

also indexed for Jan’ 12
FF #12

FF #11

December 10, 2013

FF 11Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
late December 2011
****

Two alt-Reeds serve as biomass for a rebooted Kree Intelligence, who mounts an invasion of Earth—concurrent w/ an incursion from the Negative Zone! Luckily, the real Mr F calls his pals, incl. the Avengers, to prep for battle. Kitson only pencils breakdowns; the loose art keeps #11 from *****.

continued in The Fantastic Four #600
last issue: FF #10
next issue: FF #12

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #10

FF #10

December 9, 2013

FF 10Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
early December 2011
****

Hick & Kit charge a scene btw Mr & Mrs Richards with a lovely sense of marital intimacy. But their best moment involves the father/son theme of JH’s run, as Nat Richards reaches out to a doppel-Reed whose father he & Doom killed in #582. But JH still misuses Spidey, who just quips in the background.

last issue: FF #9
next issue: FF #11

also indexed for Dec. ’11
FF #11

FF #9

December 8, 2013

FF 09Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
November 2011
****

Epting’s in his element as he draws a massive, chaotic battle btw Inhumans & Moloids. On the field of combat, Hickman’s characters act like chesspieces, as Black Bolt captures a pair of Mr F’s duplicates (& Reed himself) while the fourth Richards takes Dr. Doom hostage & flees to Latveria! Awesome.

last issue: FF #8
next issue: FF #10

also indexed for Nov. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9

FF #8

December 7, 2013

FF 08Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
October 2011
***

Back down to Earth, literally & figuratively, after the cool flashback of #6-7. Epting’s Hollywood realism can’t encompass Hickman’s imagination; it’s just bland, confusing—maybe rushed? Less plot than usual too, as the Future Foundation’s villain-allies fight the Reed-doubles & Inhumans in a melée.

last issue: FF #7
next issue: FF #9

FF #7

December 6, 2013

FF 07Jonathan Hickman // Greg Tocchini
late September 2011
*****

Half a million years ago, the Kree AI-superbrain massacred its weaponized mutates, Herod-like, to prevent its own prophesied downfall. But he missed a few, which makes Black Bolt, Inhuman king, a cosmic messiah! So resurrection’ll be no problem. Tocchini’s lovely art is light-years from convention.

last issue: FF #6
next issue: FF #8

also indexed for Sept. ’11
FF #6

FF #6

December 5, 2013

FF 06Jonathan Hickman // Greg Tocchini
early September 2011
*****

Tocchini’s liquid style adds just the unconventional beauty that Hickman’s needed all along. Sadly, he’s only drawing this 2-issue arc, which showcases the grand scope of Hick’s run. He entwines the fate of the mag’s Kirby clan of superhumans w/ the Kree AI—by flashing back half a million years!

last issue: FF #5
next issue: FF #7

also indexed for Sept. ’11
FF #7

FF #5

December 4, 2013

FF 05Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
August 2011
****

The prophesied war ignites! First the doppel-Reeds & Mole Man destroy Old Atlantis, then they face the Inhuman space-city at the strange Forever City. And kudos to Kitson: tho’ his Reed is bland, his Thing is expressive &, even rarer, his Sue is a strong presence, matching Hick’s portrayal.

last issue: FF #4
next issue: FF #6

also indexed for Aug. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9

FF #4

December 3, 2013

FF 04Jonathan Hickman // Barry Kitson
late July 2011
****

Can Sue stop alt-Reed from building a planet-wrecker?! Kitson relieves Epting, an incremental step up in quality since his bright, flat style (akin to C. Swan) mirrors this mag’s optimism. He’s also better at monsters, which means (a) a better Thing, & (b) a great face-off btw Atlanteans & Moloids.

last issue: FF #3
next issue: FF #5

also indexed for Jul. ’11
FF #3

FF #3

December 2, 2013

Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
FF 03July 2011
****

The first symposium of the Future Foundation, hosted by Dr. Doom, asks “How to defeat Mr. Fantastic?” The enemy: the Council of Reeds, trapped on Earth. Various foes pick one side or the other, as the Reeds devise an Earth-shattering gateway home using the fantastical cities of last year’s issues.

last issue: FF #2
next issue: FF #4

also indexed for Jul. ’11
FF #4

FF #2

December 1, 2013

FF 02Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
June 2011
****

The gang helps Doom, suffering from brain damage, with a cerebral software patch. In return, he joins the Foundation! JH continues to surprise w/ twists. Epting may be his strongest regular partner so far, but that grungy photorealism fits poorly w/ the title’s weirder elements—esp. his Ben Grimm.

last issue: FF #1
next issue: FF #3

also indexed for Jun. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9