by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Johnathan Hickman, Art by Steve Epting
Published: May 2012
Fantastic Four has never been about smaller scale stories. Just looking at the various powers of the foursome gives you a good idea of the nature of the storytelling. It’s not a title for holding back, something the latest story arc makes abundantly clear with its alternate universes, world devourers, cosmic beings, and past selves talking to future selves. And throughout all this madness, writer Jonathan Hickman handles it like a pro, taking a story that could’ve easily collapsed under its own complex weight and breaking it down into an easily-digestible and highly-exciting sci-fi romp.
And while navigating these potential pitfalls, he manages to inject a lot of heart into it. Despite all of the madness, this is an intensely personal story. Generations of Richards, from different times, fight side by side to save our planet. The entire arc and this issue in particular deals with fatherhood, and in a unique way, thanks to some incredibly fantastical elements. Even as someone who rarely reads Fantastic Four, I find myself heavily invested in all of these relationships, some featuring characters that I’m not familiar with at all. I think this says great things about Hickman’s writing.
And I can’t forget about Steven Epting’s wonderful pencils and Paul Mount’s vivid colors, which bring the issue to life and help guide this grand story to its conclusion. None of this is hyperbole. Sure, I’m an excitable individual, but I really did love this issue and it made for an immensely satisfying conclusions, with some truly epic moments. I don’t know if Hickman can ever live up to Mark Waid, who happens to be one of my favorite comic writers of all time, but it’s issues like this that really celebrate what the Fantastic Four is all about.