The first issue of a new writer on the Fantastic Four is always interesting, as almost always, the first issue is the writer at his or her best, brimming with ideas for the series, before it ultimately ends up looking like most every other writer’s run. Mark Millar’s first issue follows this pattern as well, although he seems to have set himself up a bit better than most, and the end result is a good comic book, with lovely Bryan Hitch artwork.
When I note that Millar is set up better than most, it is because Millar, unlike many previous writers on the book, seems to be trying to avoid re-inventing the wheel, and instead just seems to be focusing on just telling good Fantastic Four stories, using the now quite familiar character tropes that make up the book. I think this will help keep his run more consistent than most.
As for the first issue itself, Millar is clearly having a ton of fun with the book, as you can see from the madcap opening to the issue. Check it out…
Millar is quite lucky to have Hitch along with him, as Hitch manages to draw all the dramatically different situations Millar presents to him, from action-packed adventures in the Old West to character bits where the expressions of characters is key to the effectiveness of the scene.
Notably, in this issue, Millar even uses a character Claremont invented during his run on Fantastic Four, Alyssa Moy, Reed’s girlfriend before Sue, and she gets Reed involved in a fairly trippy science-fiction storyline that gives the book one killer cliffhanger.
Throughout the book, Millar spends a lot of time on character moments, from Ben flirting with a teacher on a visit to his old school, to Reed boring the schoolchildren with a lecture on the phsysics of building an Anti-Galactus suit (and how to fund such an undertaking), to Johnny Storm’s desire to remain relevant, to Sue attempting to develop a team of female superheroes to do charity work – each of the members of the team get a moment to shine. It’s really nice work by Millar.
Will every issue be this packed with new ideas? Certainly not, but Millar has put into place, with the various plots and subplots he began this issue, a nice framework for traditional Fantastic Four stories that will not require him to do much but see as the group reacts to the situations they encounter.
Should be a lot of fun.
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