"The Frank-tastic Four"
I was never a big Fantastic Four fan until Jonathan Hickman came on board. Sure I would check them out sporadically but I never fully invested into the concept or characters, it was more of a passing interest than anything. However, since this particular writer began his tenure on this title I have found the Fantastic Four to be exponentially more interesting than they have ever been.
First off, the writer simply understands these characters more so than anyone in recent years. His Reed Richards is a splendid of example of his “getting” these individuals. In this issue alone we witness Reed essentially pawning Franklin off on Johnny while he conducts his class with Valeria and some other pupils such as Alex Power of Power Pack fame, Dragon Man, and some Moloids from a previous arc. Can anyone deny that this is something they could without a doubt see Reed totally invested in? Just the premise of a classroom setting to place Reed in and teach and mentor the young brains is one of great promise.
Johnny is stuck taking Franklin and Leech to the ominously titled Arcade Toys to learn that the murderous gamester Arcade is the proprietor of the shop and has entered a business situation with none other than the Impossible Man. The rubber faced alien provides plenty of comical moments which is a welcome counterbalance to all the serious scientific jargon that is sprinkled throughout the pages whether it be spouting from Reed or a look into the Nu-Earth world that Hickman has introduced during his run.
The Thing is offered his hearts utmost desire--a so-called cure to his personally viewed affliction. It was cool scene to see Ben question how the kids could figure this out but Reed couldn’t. The emotional display on Ben’s rocky mug as he contemplates the proposition was simply beautiful. Visually speaking the entire issue was a splendid display of eye candy courtesy of the vastly underrated Neil Edwards, who along with cohorts Andrew Currie and Paul Mounts really deliver the goods.
While each scene was equally superb the real standout star of this title is Hickman, who seamlessly transitions from scene to scene and circumstance to circumstance smoothly and flawlessly. It is incredible to see how he incorporates all these ideas into his book and is able to make it ebb and flow so naturally. Credit Marvel for recognizing Hickman’s tremendous talent and placing him on a book that would take advantage of his talents. The Fantastic Four has been a phenomenal book to read and it looks like it is only going to get better!
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