Fantastic Four Volume 1 (Hickman run)

Storytellers: Jonathan Hickman, Dale Eaglesham, Neil Edwards
Publisher:  Marvel Comics
Year of Publication: 2009-2010
Page count:  5 issues, Fantastic Four 570-574

What I learned about writing/storytelling:
In the first story, Reed joins an inter dimensional superhero team, but it means he has to spend a lot of time away from his family. So there’s a superhero subplot, and a personal life subplot.  You could even say its about a workaholic dad who has to decide whether to put family first, and the inter dimensional stuff is just wallpaper.  It’s not particularly groundbreaking or anything, but its ok for what it is…

What I learned about art/storytelling:
Not much. The art seemed pretty generic to me.  This part, with a different stylistic background, was the only bit that stood out:
Fantastic Four page with children style art in the backround

It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you’d want to do often, though.

Recommendation: C

The first story involved Reed Richards joining a club of alternate reality versions of himself. It was ok, but pretty forgettable, especially if you’ve read the earlier comics that have already done this sort of thing: I know Captain Britain did it, Tom Strong did it, Supreme did it, and the mind control subplot originates from Doc Savage, and was used in Squadron Supreme and Tom Strong. Plus, I think there were alternative versions of Reed Richards in some old Fantastic Four comics from the 90s.

There was a one shot story that was completely incomprehensible, either due to being a sequel to another story or a crossover– some poorly paced gibberish about an alternate earth overrun by Ultrons.

Finally there was story material about Franklin Richard having a birthday party, featuring obscure characters like Leech and Power Pack who I’m not familiar with and have no reason to care about.  Poorly explained continuity porn, basically. The final 10 pages of the book were more promising, as a version of Franklin from the future comes and causes trouble. There’s an ironic bit where Sue, not knowing who he is and thinking he’s hurt her son, threatens to hunt him down and kill him.  That was clever.

A cosmic epic was foreshadowed, and it sounds interesting, but after wasting my time with 5 issues of continuity porn and by the book genre stuff, I’m not sure I’d come back, especially because the future volumes probably will involve crossovers.

The characterization ranged from decent to so-so. Hickman’s main way of making the three year old girl seem super smart is to have her say she’s super smart and solve plot problems, it doesn’t really stand out from the dialogue:

super smart girl say she's super smart

It seems like he could have done it a bit better.