Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fantastic Four #570, it's fantastic!

My surprise comic book of the week is Fantastic Four #570, the first issue by the new creative team of Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham. Hickman already had great comic book writing credentials with his indy / alternative titles The Nightly News and Pax Romona (as well as already writing Secret Warriors of which I've heard good things about) and Eaglesham recently wrapped up a long artistic stint on Justice Society of America, so I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was with how good their first issue of Fantastic Four is.

Hickman and Eaglesham follow the high profile team of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, which normally would be really huge shoes to fill, but although Millar and Hitch did some entertaining things on Fantastic Four, they didn't recharge this title as they have with others they've worked on. I also think Fantastic Four is one of Marvel's hardest titles to write because I a lot of comic readers don't see the characters as too exciting because of said characters largely being a happy unit who work well together. So mostly FF doesn't seem like a title on the edge and readers (and often the creative teams) don't feel the title has that urgency that comics like Blackest Night or Avengers have (although for me all of the Bendis Avengers titles have been chores to read for some time).

I think it's very important for any new creative team on any project (be it comic, television, or movie) to quickly hook their audience and Jonathan Hickman, with his first issue of Fantastic Four, has very much done this. His first story arc is titled "Solve Everything" so this is a Reed Richards driven adventure as he has Reed really trying to use his vast intellect and solve everything (slight spoiler / teaser: Reed recruits some alternate reality versions of himself to help himself out in this endeavor). This is the kind of story that is really ambitious so how Hickman ends this will be key to whether he has a future with this title, but if his following issues are as strong as his debut, well then we finally have a Fantastic Four that people will put at the top of their reading pile. Hickman also handles the Fantastic Four family dynamic really well and Dale Eaglesham has turned up his already strong artistic game up from what he was doing on JSA, delivering some great eye candy and great action sequences. Anyone who reads Fantastic Four #570 will know right away whether this is the book for them (I'm saying for those that don't like this issue, well they just don't like the very idea of Fantastic Four and should just stop reading super hero comics - I'm only half joking!).

2 comments:

Rick Tucker said...

I haven't read the book yet but I already see one "glaring" problem: why does the Human Torch have considerable shadowing on his form? He's illuminated by flame. He's a flaming light bulb. There's no place for such shadowing to occur. Artists have been getting away from this fact for some time now but Kirby, got it, as did Romita, Buscema, Kane and everyone up until about 10 years ago.
Are these new artists just plain stupid?
When the most basic visual truths are abandoned it's hard to get too excited about the rest of the book.

Dave Ziegler said...

I don't know, Ralph. The Waid/Ringo run was pretty excellent. It was at the top of my pile, anyway...

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