Archive for the ‘Franklin Richards’ Category

Fantastic Four #524

January 2, 2015

Fantastic Four 524Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
May 2005
****

Reed has accidentally decoupled the team from their powers, so they zip around NYC to reabsorb them. Will Reed don Ben’s rocky hide to protect his pal? A spritely swansong puts the period to Waid’s FF run; it’s had a few bum notes, but it did more for Johnny than anyone since Lee on Strange Tales.

last issue: Fantastic Four #523
next issue: Fantastic Four #525

also indexed for May ’05
Astonishing X-Men #10
Daredevil #71
The Pulse #8
Secret War #4 of 5
Young Avengers #2

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Fantastic Four #523

January 1, 2015

Fantastic Four 523Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
April 2005
***

Temporarily in a human body, Galactus is inspired by Reed’s scientific humanism to step into a Kirbytech suicide booth. Or something. The plot’s a vehicle for a sentimental supercomic tour of How the Other Half Lives, with Waid & Wieringo adding a Silver Age SF poptimism. Still, it coasts a bit.

last issue: Fantastic Four #523
next issue: Fantastic Four #524

also indexed for Apr. ’05
Daredevil #70
Young Avengers #1

Fantastic Four #518

December 27, 2014

Fantastic Four 518Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
November 2004
****

Aliens have targeted Sue, the only thing in the universe that could penetrate their cloaking device. In a cool twist, they’re refugees who use the inviso-shield to protect planets from Galactus. Ringo draws A-1 monsters, but flubs an interstellar sequence by drawing dull planets, not cosmic psychedelia.

last issue: Fantastic Four #517
next issue: Fantastic Four #519

also indexed for Nov. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #5
Daredevil #64
Daredevil #65
The Pulse #5

Fantastic Four #517

December 26, 2014

Fantastic Four 517Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
October 2004
****

When mile-high pylons embed themselves in NYC bedrock, it looks like a job for the Fantastic Four! Waid’s FF has its flaws (mainly in its metaphysics), but when it’s executing classical superheroics it’s keen. Wieringo builds the scope & threat thru panel size & pacing while avoiding widescreen realism.

last issue: Fantastic Four #516
next issue: Fantastic Four #518

also indexed for Oct. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #4
Daredevil #63
Secret War #3 of 5

Fantastic Four #514

December 23, 2014

Fantastic Four 514Mark Waid with Karl Kesel // Paco Medina
late July 2004
***

The unexpected focus on Johnny continues: his coffee date is an unsure accomplice of the Frightful Four. Yet another penciller, a hack in the dated Maduriera vein. The earnest style & bad backgrounds don’t sell Waid’s somewhat generic supervillain rants & heart-to-heart beats of unbuttoned emo.

last issue: Fantastic Four #513
next issue: Fantastic Four #515

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
Daredevil #60
Fantastic Four #513
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

Fantastic Four #513

December 22, 2014

Fantastic Four 513A-story: Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
B-story: Mark Waid // Paul Smith
early July 2004
A-story: ***
B-story: ***

Spidey/Torch hijinks recalls the Silver Age years of rivalry (Waid shows a Lee influence, not a Kirby one). Ringo heightens this by homaging Ditko’s Sandman w/ a D-list aqua-baddie. In the back-up, Paul Smith draws bombshell bods for Sue’s catfight w/ one of Reed’s exes, a tomb raider-type adventurer.

last issue: Fantastic Four #512
next issue: Fantastic Four #514

also indexed for Jul. ’04
Astonishing X-Men #1
Daredevil #60
Fantastic Four #514
The Pulse #3
Secret War #2 of 5
Thanos #10

Fantastic Four #512

December 21, 2014

Fantastic Four 512A-story: Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
B-story: Mark Waid // Paul Smith
June 2004
A-story: ****
B-story: ***

Hard-luck Johnny seeks advice from Spider-Man at a waterpark, in a superhero version of Friends or a Hollywood bromance. Cool—the run’s high point so far has been Waid’s early focus on Johnny Storm, maybe the trickiest of the four to write well. And hey, a three-page marriage gag for a back-up!

last issue: Fantastic Four #511
next issue: Fantastic Four #513

also indexed for Jun. ’04
Daredevil #59
Thanos #9

Fantastic Four #509

December 18, 2014

Fantastic Four 509Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
March 2004
****

The mag still has its dark edge, thankfully dulled by Wieringo’s return. The team’s split, Reed’s brooding, & Johnny hallucinates Ben for company. A game of phone tag mobilizes the Fantastic Three for a rescue mission—to heaven! The Kirbytech is vintage: Doom’s flawed machine from college!

last issue: Fantastic Four #508
next issue: Fantastic Four #510

also indexed for Mar. ’04
Daredevil #56
New X-Men #151
New X-Men #152

Fantastic Four #505

December 14, 2014

Fantastic Four 505Mark Waid // Howard Porter
late December 2003
****

The Richards use parental fear-mongering to justify their unilateral adventurism to a dubious Grimm. The latter is H. Porter’s strongest art element, having internalized the lessons of his scratchy school of ’90s superhero comics, w/ bad expressions, static panels, & problematic layouts.

last issue: Fantastic Four #504
next issue: Fantastic Four #506

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
Avengers/JLA #4 of 4
Daredevil #53
Fantastic Four #504
New X-Men #148

Fantastic Four #502

December 11, 2014

Fantastic Four 502Mark Waid // Casey Jones
early November 2003
***

This arc’s core is a speech by Ben to his nephew: not “your family will keep you safe” but an admission that tragedy may strike from the blue. It’s got a touch of maturity under a pretty treacly delivery. Ringo takes 5 (again); C. Jones presents a similar manga-eyed, cartoon style w/o flair.

last issue: Fantastic Four #501
next issue: Fantastic Four #503

also indexed for No. ’03
Alias #26
Daredevil #51
Daredevil #52
Fantastic Four #503
JLA/Avengers #3 of 4
New X-Men #146
New X-Men #147

Fantastic Four #501

December 10, 2014

Fantastic Four 501Mark Waid // Casey Jones
October 2003
****

Franklin has gone catatonic after his trip to hell, while his pop sulks in the dark. It’s a Claremont-like beat, to take an issue or two after a costly victory to deal with scars literal & figurative. Note that Waid tasks Johnny to deal with his bro-in-law’s funk, again nailing the character’s voice.

last issue: Fantastic Four #500
next issue: Fantastic Four #502

also indexed for Oct. ’03
Alias #25
Avengers/JLA #2 of 4
Daredevil #50
New X-Men #145

Fantastic Four #500

December 9, 2014

Fantastic Four 500Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
September 2003
*****

An extra-long ish, given a false sheen by ‘unbooting’ the issue #. Tutored by Dr S, Mr F outwits Dr D by learning humility. He admits magic is beyond him & that he’s outclassed by both men, whereas Doom disrespects his demonic allies & gets dragged to hell! It’s an intense take on Doom that eschews nuance—he muses whose skin to wear on his mystic armor—that plays off the cartoon art.

last issue: Fantastic Four #70
next issue: Fantastic Four #501

also indexed for Sept. ’03
Alias #24
Daredevil #49
JLA/Avengers #1 of 4
New X-Men #144

Fantastic Four #70

December 8, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.70Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
August 2003
****

Waid’s got a very dark take on the quintessential super-villain. His Dr. Doom has no aristo code, he’s an amoral megalomaniac whose Faustian deal gives him victory in his vendetta w/ Mr F. Are his scenes of triumph ill-served by the Disney-like art or does its clash of tones make for starker relief?

last issue: Fantastic Four #69
next issue: Fantastic Four #71

also indexed for Aug. ’03
Alias #23
Daredevil #48
New X-Men #142
New X-Men #143

Fantastic Four #69

December 7, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.69Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
July 2003
****

Indebted to Claremont’s X-style (& much stronger than CC’s recent FF), Waid sends his science-heroes crashing to the ground, outclassed by Doc Doom’s sorcery. Ben argues that magic makes Reed feel inferior—a nice insight in a strong scene. But mostly, #69 give the adventure a real sense of stakes.

last issue: Fantastic Four #68
next issue: Fantastic Four #70

also indexed for Jul. ’03
Alias #22
Daredevil #47
New X-Men #141

Fantastic Four #68

December 6, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.68Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
June 2003
****

Valeria says her first word: “Doom”! The Doc attacks the family thru the baby, having bound her to himself w/ arcane spells at her birth. I’m not sold yet on Waid’s focus on magic for the arch-villain, although the trait is well-established. Or maybe I preferred the earlier issues’ lighter tone.

last issue: Fantastic Four #67
next issue: Fantastic Four #69

also indexed for Jun. ’03
Alias #21
Daredevil #46
New X-Men #139
New X-Men #140

Fantastic Four #64

December 2, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.64Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
February 2003
****

Mr. Fantastic is often central to a great FF run, esp. on the artist’s side. Wieringo’s Stretcho is a marvel (no surprise, given his talent for body language), w/ a balloon-like body. Waid has the super-inventor face a data-based doppelgänger who wants to kill the family, esp. neglected son Franklin.

last issue: Fantastic Four #63
next issue: Fantastic Four #65

also indexed for Feb. ’03
Alias #17
Daredevil #40
New X-Men #135

Fantastic Four #63

December 1, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.63Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
January 2003
****

Reed’s latest gadget—a tablet (in ’03, a “PDA”) w/ infinite memory—lets loose a being of sentient data. A formulaic FF plot, but Waid nails each hero’s voice. And MW’s art is enchanting! The flat cartooning style is as close to Disney comics or Archie as it is to the superhero tradition or to manga.

last issue: Fantastic Four #62
next issue: Fantastic Four #64

also indexed for Jan. ’03
Alias #16
Daredevil #39
New X-Men #134

Fantastic Four #62

November 30, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.62Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
December 2002
****

Unlike the conventional widescreen comics of this era,  FF actually reflects ’00s NYC: a playground for the tech-happy wealthy. Reed computes in Times Square, Johnny wears couture suits to FF Inc., and Sue & Ben get attacked by a data-being make of SFX: T2‘s liquid form in The Matrix‘s flowing glow-font.

last issue: Fantastic Four #61
next issue: Fantastic Four #63

also indexed for Dec. ’02
Alias #15
Daredevil #38
New X-Men #133

Fantastic Four #61

November 29, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.61Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
November 2002
*****

No matter how hard a writer works to mature Johnny Storm, the next one will regress him. For Waid, that means Sue appointing her bro CFO of their fortune—a super-corporate setting! An odd take but potentially profitable. Wieringo enhances Waid’s light tone w/ his expressive, comedic cartooning.

last issue: Fantastic Four #60
next issue: Fantastic Four #62

also indexed for Nov. ’02
Alias #14
Daredevil #37
New X-Men #132

Fantastic Four #60

November 28, 2014

Fantastic Four 2.60Mark Waid // Mike Wieringo
late October 2002
*****

Enchanting & light-hearted, good for all ages! #60 is a one-off, a meta-SoP for MW & MW, as an exec is tasked w/ rebranding the family after dips in popularity. His outside perspec takes in their body weirdness, the Kirby monsters that Reed makes palatable to the public under a veneer of celebrity.

last issue: Fantastic Four #59
next issue: Fantastic Four #61

also indexed for Oct. ’02
Alias #13
Daredevil #36
New X-Men #130
New X-Men #131

Thunderbolts #2

June 16, 2014

Thunderbolts 002Kurt Busiek // Mark Bagley
May 1997
****

Baron Zemo’s clever plan to insinuate his two-faced team into the Avengers’ vacant slot is already working; his deputy wonders if they’ll prefer honest celebrity to criminal success. Busiek fills out the personalities a bit (& starts adding soap), which’ll help sustain this premise in the medium term.

last issue: Thunderbolts #1
next issue: Thunderbolts #3

FF #23

January 4, 2014

FF 23Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
December 2012
****

In a sense, Hickman’s Four was Mr. F, his dad, & the time-tossed kids. #611 bade goodbye to Reed, Nat, & Val; #23 focuses on Franklin. In this coda, he tutors his child-self in imagination, their superpower. It’s a bit sentimental, but it values creativity over intellect—in comics & in life.

last issue: FF #22
continued in The Fantastic Four #1
continued in FF #1

also indexed for Dec. ’12
The Fantastic Four #611

FF #22

January 2, 2014

FF 22Jonathan Hickman // André Araújo
November 2012
****

#22 varies Hickman’s wonky non-linear plotting by recounting the events of #610 from Bentley 23’s standpoint. Bentley, the Wizard’s clone-kid, confronts his “father” (tapping into the run’s father/son themes). Araújo’s superfine line is a different look for this mag, a prettier Dalrymple type of pencil.

see also The Fantastic Four #610
last issue: FF #21
next issue: FF #23

also indexed for Nov. ’12
The Fantastic Four #610

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

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

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

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

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

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 #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

FF #1

November 30, 2013

FF 01Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
May 2011
****

Effectively #589, but the new title marks a shift to the team post-Johnny. His slot is given to Spider-Man, who fits in better here than on the Avengers—after all, he attempted to join back in ASM #1! The bigger surprise is Doc Doom, who’s been invited to the Future Foundation by goddaughter Val.

continued from The Fantastic Four #588
next issue: FF #2

also indexed for May ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1

The Fantastic Four #588

November 29, 2013

Fantastic Four 588A-story: Jonathan Hickman // Nick Dragotta
B-story: Jonathan Hickman // Mark Brooks
April 2011
A-story: ***** // B-story: ****

Hick finally gets a partner who matches his calibre: Dragotta, who apes Kirby’s dynamic grunts but draws a Sturm-like indie line. Silence signifies mourning as Johnny Storm’s family & friends grieve. It sells the moment w/o sentiment—unlike the B-plot, where Spidey helps Franklin mourn his uncle.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #587
continued in FF #1

The Fantastic Four #587

November 28, 2013

Fantastic Four 587Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
March 2011
****

A fantastic climax caps Hickman’s first “season”! Sue stares Namor down as she’s crowned regent of Atlantis. Even better, Val leads a junior team into the Neg Zone to commit science heroics. And Johnny sacrifices himself to stop an insectoid invasion. Would be ***** but for Ept’s photorealism.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #586
next issue: The Fantastic Four #588

also indexed for Mar. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

The Fantastic Four #586

November 27, 2013

Fantastic Four 586Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
February 2011
****

Hickman seems most compelled by Reed’s plot: rescue the Nu-Earth from a vengeful Galactus. Epting seems most into Sue’s arc: stop an Atlantean peace conference from becoming a civil war. But the real actions’ w/ Johnny, who must protect home & family (incl. de-powered Ben) from an alien invasion!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #585
next issue: The Fantastic Four #587

The Fantastic Four #585

November 26, 2013

Fantastic Four 585Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
January 2011
****

Hickman has divided the Four while accelerating his story’s pace. He’s got plenty of plots in play, from the Negative Zone death-cult to an Atlantean war of succession to a deep-space excursion w/ Galactus. That last plot brushes w/ Kirby-like grandeur, tho Epting’s prosaic style doesn’t match.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #584
next issue: The Fantastic Four #586

also indexed for Jan. ’11
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3 of 9

The Fantastic Four #584

November 25, 2013

Fantastic Four 584Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
December 2010
****

For over a year, Hickman has been writing one- & two-issue arcs, which makes this multi-plot storyline all the more portentous. Reed parleys w/ Galactus while Sue escorts Namor to Old Atlantis. But the soul is Ben, who swigs his cure & clobbers the gentrified Yancy Gang, now hedge-fund financiers!

last issue: The Fantastic Four #583
next issue: The Fantastic Four #585

The Fantastic Four #583

November 24, 2013

Fantastic Four 583Jonathan Hickman // Steve Epting
November 2010
*****

When Val lets a quartet of alt-dimension Mr Fs loose on Earth, she asks for help from their worst enemy: Uncle Doom! Brilliant recasting of the hyper-intelligent toddler as equivocal, a potential bad seed. Epting’s coarse realism, tho’ v.g., isn’t the best fit for Hickman’s non-linear imagination.

last issue: The Fantastic Four #582
next issue: The Fantastic Four #584

also indexed for Nov. ’10
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #2 of 9