If you’re following the Point One initiative from Marvel and chose “Fantastic Four” #605.1 to try to get up to speed with Marvel’s first family, you’re going to be sorely confused. Editor Tom Brevoort admits in the letters page that this issue “may not be the most accessible Point One issue.” Brevoort’s right, this isn’t a very accessible Point One issue, but for readers (or even samplers) of Hickman’s “Fantastic Four” run, this is a wonderfully bizarre interlude filled with story potential.
Rather than finding the adventures of Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and Thing in these pages, you’ll find a very different Reed Richards, the God Hand and a World War II-victorious Adolf Hitler propelling Germany into the space race. Certainly this seems much more like the set-up for an issue of “What If. . .?” than the proper plot for a reader-friendly Point One issue. If there’s one thing Jonathan Hickman has proven though, it is to expect the unexpected in the pages of “Fantastic Four.” How else do you explain a panel of Sue Sturm (nee Storm) stomping on the face of a fellow soldier?
Mike Choi’s artwork is crisp and clean, packed so full of detail that a careful studying of the artwork seems to be in order following an initial read of “Fantastic Four” #605.1. Cris Peter is able to fill Choi’s drawings with spectacularly lifelike colors, giving the American province of New Berlin and all of the other settings in this issue substance and intensity despite the overpowering drab color palette of this other world. Clearly the duo enjoy their visual creative collaboration as this issue is filled with hidden gems (in some cases, literally) and cameos.
Hickman’s run on this title has been a wild ride and I suspect this issue will serve as a lynchpin for whatever lies ahead. Taken on its own merits, though, this is an entertaining tale filled with left turns that changes the world — and the multiverse, according to the recap page — forever. While less patient readers may come away entertained, but sorely confused, this issue is a great sample of Hickman’s imagination in motion throughout this title. It’s not a standard Point One, but “Fantastic Four” isn’t a standard comic and should be celebrated for its diversity. Hop on now and you’ll be able to point back to this issue further on in Hickman’s run and brag about your foresight to climb aboard here.