by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Dale Eaglesham (art), Paul Mounts (colors), and Rus Wooton (letters)
The Story: The origin of the human race is discussed, as well as the future path of the Inhumans.
What’s Good: Dales Eaglesham’s art has been tremendous on Fantastic Four thus far, so when I say that this is quite possibly his best outing yet on the series, you know you’re in for some awesome art. Everything just looks wonderfully creative, not to mention massive in scale. The giant space ships, the varied and colorful aliens, it’s all really vibrant, creative, and generally impressive stuff from Eaglesham, leading to a 22 page feast for the eyes. With such wide eyed goodness, insane cosmic stuff, and retro sci-fi goofiness on the page, the art is best described as fun, and yet it maintains a high level of detail and sophistication as well.
As far as Hickman’s story goes, this is the sort of Jonathan Hickman story where it’s hard not to admire the man’s creative aspirations and his willingness to enlarge his scope to truly ridiculous proportions. Hickman’s narratives often feel vast, treating mind-bursting large ideas, and that’s really not far from the case here. Why not deal with the origins of the human race in 22 pages and relate it to the species-endangering issues suffered by the Kree? And keep in mind, this isn’t done in a six part story arc. It’s accomplished in a single issue. It’s frankly mind boggling, but it’s also the sort of gigantic insanity that works best in a book like Fantastic Four.
What’s Not So Good: While I respect Hickman for trying to do so much in so little space, it perhaps ironically leads to a pretty dry issue. After all, the only way Hickman can deal with so much history in so short a space is to go extremely heavy on the exposition.
The result is an entire issue of the Wayfinder, Dal Damoc, talking….and talking…and talking. Until the last page, nothing truly jaw-dropping or moving is contained in all of this talking. It’s just a ton of explaining, and it doesn’t make for a particularly engaging read. Rather, this is basically a 22-page lecture. Unfortunately, as is the case with most lectures, this also makes for a good amount of jargon, which is a bit problematic when said jargon is of the far reaching, comic book pseudo-science sort. There are definitely a couple of lines you’ll have to re-read and probably still scratch your head at. Of course, that only makes the read even less engaging.
I guess it also doesn’t help that like most of the Prime Elements “arc,” this is also another one-shot. Usually, when a book is boring, it’s still passable because we get to see our favourite characters move around, or perhaps some aspect of the current plot being illuminated, but there isn’t any of that leeway here. This is particularly the case since the FF themselves have very little dialogue this month. With each of the past few issues basically being a done-in-one setting up another aspect of Hickman’s status quo for the FF, I’m about ready for that status quo to actually be used.
Conclusion: The first misstep in a run that’s been phenomenal thus far. I can forgive that.