Jonathan Hickman is a mad genius. I mean, who ever thought the Fantastic Four could be relevant again? More after the cut!
Before he took over, The Fantastic Four had been largely unnoticed within the hierarchy of the Marvel Universe for years, taking the backseat to more easily franchise-able teams like the X-Men and The Avengers. While the Avengers blew up in terms of rosters and titles, rivaling that of the X-Men franchise, and the X-Men held their own in terms of market share, Marvel’s First Family has languished out of the spotlight. Even Mark Millar failed to bring interest in the book (at least for me).
But then a wild Mr. Hickman appeared!
Ever since he took over the title, along with the incredibly talented Dale Eaglesham, the book has returned to its roots, focusing less on the superhero aspect of being in the Fantastic Four and instead focuses on them as the scientific explorers they were always meant to be. From going to the center of the Earth to assist their first ever enemy (the Mole Man) to finding a whole new set of creatures in the deepest ocean, the Fantastic Four is positively captivating again!
Hickman seems to understand the characters, and it shows in incredibly fun ways. The moment that pops into mind was the crew getting off of the plane in the Antarctic. It’s unbelievably cold, and you see all the characters step off the plane in the standard cold weather gear, but then you see some cowboy boots with red flame designs. Here comes Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, who clearly doesn’t need to keep warm, he’s already HOT! Couple that with Reed being lost in his thoughts, Ben being his usual rough self, and finally when Sue brings everyone together, and you have the closest thing to the family that we’ve had in ages.
But even if Hickman weren’t one of the best writers in the business today, he has as his secret weapon one of the best artists in the business with the aforementioned Dale Eaglesham. Eaglesham, who I first encountered on the absurdly excellent Infinite Crisis Tie-In Villains United, has some insanely detailed and warm artwork, which is a pretty clear difference from the dark and gritty work he did for Villains United. Sure his models are kind of the same, but the tone is completely different, which says a lot about the talents of Eaglesham as well as his inker.
I I really can’t say enough good things about his run on FF. It hasn’t been this good since I’ve read it, and that’s a long time for sure. I can only hope that now you read it too.