By: Jonathan Hickman (writer), Steve Epting, Rick Magyar, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ming Doyle, Leinil Francis Yu & Farel Dalrymple (line art), Paul Mounts, Andy Troy, Jordie Bellaire, Javier Tartaglia & Jose Villarrubia (colors), Clayton Cowles (letters), Lauren Sankovitch & Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Story: Marvel gives their first family a 100-page, $7.99 extravaganza featuring lots of cosmic action and the return of a familiar face…
Five Things: [SPOILER WARNING]
1. ________ is back! I purposely omitted the name because it seems kinda douchey to give a SPOILER WARNING and then put Johnny Storm’s name in bold right below. But, he’s back! And, he’s back in a new and improved way after his time in the Negative Zone. This is really no surprise and given the Marvel often brings characters back a month after they “die” (Bucky) it is probably a huge show of restraint that they let Johnny be presumed dead for ~9 whole months. If you’re a Marvel hater, you could work up a lot of rage about the cheap ploy of killing someone (but not really) and then milking that death in press releases before the death, releasing a ploy-bagged issue on Tuesday and then having special issues honoring Johnny in the immediate aftermath. But….I’m glad to have him back, especially in the way that Hickman handles his return. Speaking of that……
2. We learn about _______’s experiences in the Negative Zone. I mostly loved this section where we learned that Johnny wasn’t really dead. He was just held captive by Annihilus and forced to fight in gladiator matches alongside some Universal Inhumans and where he has died multiple times only to be restored by that nasty Annihilus. The whole thing was really nicely done. It showed Johnny’s pain at being there, his unwillingness to give up, the fact that Annihilus has his number, etc. Really good stuff. The only quibble I have is that the story added 2 pages to the moments before Johnny’s “death” with him talking to Ben Grim through the closed portal. The original “death” was soooo nicely done with Ben feeling grief stricken, Johnny being brave, etc., so this added scene just cheapened it.
3. Kree, Inhumans, Annihilus, other Inhumans….. I have to admit that this part of the plot is getting away from me. While I’m actually reading it, I think it’s cool, but then when I sit down to type a review a whole 6 hours later….I really can’t remember many of the details and that tells you the story is too complex because none of it is sticking. I actually blame the artists for this. Comics are a visual medium and none of the artists who’ve worked on FF the last few months have nailed a scene from this complex plot such that it’s burned into your brain.
4. Good action. Even if the reason for a Kree armada to be laying waste to NYC is baffling to me, the action here was really sharp. Two scenes that really stuck out…. One was Red Hulk, She Hulk and Thing taking on a bunch of Kree Sentries. What made this scene neat was how the Sentries prioritized the targets and took out the Red Hulk, then She Hulk and then saved Thing for last. Isn’t that just how it goes for Thing? Dude gets NO respect, even from robots he’s fought a ton of times. But, it also shows that there’s more to Thing that just his power-level because you just know that even though these Sentries whacked 2 Hulks with ease, that Thing isn’t going to go down so easy. The scene of Spidey doing battle with the Annihilation Wave was pretty awesome too. I always love the scenes in Marvel comics that remind us how powerful Spidey is and that he isn’t just a dude who busts muggers.
5. A jillion other things. Amazing….you put 100 pages in a comic and it’s hard to distill the entire comic down to 5 bullet points! Granted there are a lot of petty folks bitching about the cover price, but there is a TON of content here. I mean….if you’re so on the financial edge that a $5 bump in price for an anniversary issue is causing pain….you’re probably in the wrong hobby. I haven’t even talked about what the Future Foundation did to the Baxter Building, or Reed’s conversation with Galactus, or what Franklin is up to or the dude who comes to talk to Franklin (who looked a lot like Michelangelo from SHIELD)….. Even at $7.99, you are getting your money’s worth.
Conclusion: It’s always nice when an anniversary issue delivers and this one hit almost all the right notes. Rather than doing some tiresome retrospective on the history of the series, Hickman powers into his next phase of stories for the characters. He’ll have his hands full telling all these stories because there is a LOT of meat on the bone here.
Jumping on point?: Clearly this book is intended as a jumping on point and it mostly does a good job. New readers are likely to be confused by the Kree/Inhumans stuff, but I’ve been reading FF for a long time and I was confused by that too.
Grade: B+ (art isn’t hot enough to get a higher grade)
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Filed under: Marvel Comics Tagged: | Andy Troy, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Clayton Cowles, Dean Stell, Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four #600, Fantastic Four #600 review, Farel Dalrymple, Javier Tartaglia, Jonathan Hickman, Jordie Bellaire, Jose Villarrubia, Lauren Sankovitch, Leinil Francis Yu, Marvel, Ming Doyle, Paul Mounts, review, Rick Magyar, Steve Epting, Tom Brevoort