If you’ve been following the reviews of “Fantastic Four” here on CBR, you know my colleagues think this new creative team is simply ginchy and well-suited to the adventures of everyone’s favorite first family of imaginauts. After reading this issue, I must say I agree. This issue is a very entertaining read, and while it does feature some (literally) earth-shaking events, it is not going to be the “ultimate” issue of “Fantastic Four” that I point back to whenever I converse with friends about these characters. Hickman does a very good job of making the Fantastic Four a family without resorting to the tried and true infighting between Torch and Thing. Hickman deepens the family feel by giving Franklin some panel time, and appropriately childlike dialog.
My biggest gripe with this issue is with the art of Dale Eaglesham. Eaglesham’s Moloids are creepy and make me want to scrub myself clean after just a few pages of looking at them. His Mole Man is snide and equally creepy. The dramatic, and to the best of my knowledge, never before drawn method of grand entrance from the Mole Man is an instantly classic image for that character. Eaglesham’s drawing of the Fantastic Four proper, however, is a little too over-the-top for me. It’s a minor gripe to be sure, and if that’s the only flaw I can find in the art for this issue (which is impeccably colored by the fabulous Paul Mounts) — and it is — then all in all, I’d have to say this issue is pretty darn good.
Hickman keeps things moving down his timeline for his overarching story, but he delivers a story in this single issue that is immediately approachable, visually engaging, and pleasantly resolved. The use of the HomePad page at the end of the issue — especially on the day Apple announced their iPad — borders on genius. It deepens the story without adding extra (unavailable) pages and gives us a sniff of what next month and after might have in store for the Four.
Hickman plays upon what makes the Fantastic Four unique with great results. Marvel has done an admirable job of finding creative talent to match with their properties, and Hickman fits the “Fantastic Four” much in the same way Abnett and Lanning fit the “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Nova,” and general Marvel cosmos scene. In essentially doing what Hickman does best, which is playing up the oddity of the Four, their universe gets more deeply defined and their supporting cast becomes much more colorful. I’ve never been a monthly devotee to the adventures of the Fantastic Four, but this creative team has my interest piqued. Another couple of issues on this level and I might just be joining them for the long haul.