(Please note: Clicking on just about any of the links in this post will take you directly to spoilers for Fantastic Four #600.)
This week saw Marvel revert back to the original numbering for their flagship title, Fantastic Four, as they released the 600th issue of the “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine.” The $7.99, 96-page comic contains five stories, all written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by a variety of artists, including Steve Epting, Rick Magyar, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ming Doyle, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan and Farel Dalrymple.
And just like they’ve done in the past, Marvel spoiled one of the plot points from the book in order to get mainstream media attention. One of the plot points, anyway; when Hickman was asked on Twitter about a particular article that contained a major spoiler, he replied, “… I haven’t read that article, so I’m not sure ‘which’ spoiler is being spoiled.” Yep, this comic book is just packed.
Here’s a sampling of what folks have been saying about Fantastic Four #600:
David Uzumeri, ComicsAlliance: “The 96-page issue #600 not only progresses a large number of Hickman’s ongoing storylines, it also adds a number of new wrinkles, catches the new or returning reader up on the saga so far, looks gorgeous, and is somehow still a bargain at the whopping retail price of eight dollars for a single issue of a comic book.”
David Harper, Multiversity Comics: “There are five artists that work on this issue, and all of them completely nail it. Each of them have wildly different skill sets and styles, but each of them are perfectly attuned to the story they are working on and Marvel/Hickman/whomever deserves massive props for doing just that. Each artist has specific strengths that work particularly well for their individual story, and it makes them pop all the more. Really, this book is worth $7.99 just for the efforts of Epting, di Giandomenico, Doyle, Yu and Dalrymple.”
Nick Budd, Top 5 Comics: “It’s a wallop of a story, the perfect example of the Marvel Universe being a shared land of stories tethered together. Hickman connects things that have not only been happening in FF, but also with books like The Mighty Thor. You also get to see the proceedings happening from every point of view imaginable, be it from the good guys to the bad guys to the guys that are treading water in the grey area. Hickman doesn’t leave a man behind or out of the equation.”
Jesse Schedeen, IGN: “Most of the actual story progression comes in the lead segment from Hickman and artist Steve Epting. This portion marks the first part of “Forever,” as the FF, Avengers, and X-Men have banded together to fight back a Kree invasion force. Interspersed with this epic battle are scenes of a showdown in Latveria and turmoil in the Baxter Building. In some ways, this segment highlights the primary flaw of the series since the shift from Fantastic Four to FF. It lacks heart. There isn’t much focus on characterization or team interplay. The battle itself is somewhat underwhelming, with the necessary sense of danger never really becoming apparent. Epting’s art is generally solid and well-constructed, but thee are certain non-FF characters he seems to struggle with (particularly Iron Man).”
David Pepose, Newsarama: “The last few chapters are shorter, little more than brief interludes, but contain some of the best moments of the book. Ming Doyle’s touching, and haunting rendition of the Inhumans is all too short, and it’s always excellent to see Leinil Yu taking on a character like Galactus, but perhaps the most stand out of the last three chapters is Hickman and Farel Dalrymple’s story of Franklin Richards and Leech, as they tear through a fictional universe of Franklin’s creation. This is perhaps the most intriguing of the plotlines foreshadowed, but it’s Dalrymple’s terrific art that sells the story. He captures the childlike wonder, and somewhat sarcastic tone of Hickman’s hilarious script without getting bogged down in juvenile or immature tropes. It’s less like a comic, and more like a storybook, but that’s exactly what the story needed.”
“Bad Man” Mark McCann, Bad Haven: “The final short is perhaps the most leading, hinting at something BIG for the Four should things ever go awry. Farel Dalrymple does an excellent job on pencils as we follow Franklin Richards and Leech into a Universe of Franklin’s own creation in a tale, that while child like and entertaining also posits the question: What would happen if the most powerful mutant in the world turned evil? And for all it’s innocence, this tale is actually the most terrifying.”
Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: “As anniversary issues of comics go, this one is different from the norm (or perceived norm) in that it doesn’t waste any time navel-gazing. This issue does very little to celebrate the stories leading to this anniversary point and blazes full speed ahead to what is going to happen or is currently happening. It breaks the mold of preconceived anniversary expectations, but that’s pretty much the preconceived expectation for Fantastic Four stories from Jonathan Hickman. This issue is yet another entertaining, fun read from Hickman and company. It’s burdened by a hefty price sticker, but that is easily justified away once you realize that you’re getting ninety-six pages of new story. That makes this issue quite a deal by comparison. That is something to be thankful for.”