Publisher: Marvel Ent.
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch
It's always been my belief that there are no lame characters, only lame writers. For example, I would have never thought I'd be a fan of Thor or Captain America. Growing up, those characters were never cool! It was all about Spidey and the X-Men, which isn't surprising if you were a kid during the eighties and nineties. All it took was Mark Millar's The Ultimates to change my mind. Ed Brubaker's phenomenal run on Captain America (which is still going by the way) has easily been one of the most consistently high quality Marvel titles spanning nearly a decade! Each book has broken all of my preconceptions of Cap and Thor. The proper writer makes the book. He or she could make Paste Pot Pete more threatening than Deadpool on a bender and despite that belief, the one book that has eluded me until recently has been Marvel's first family. A Fantastic Four book needs to be...well fantastic! It needs to be about family and super heroics, and part science fiction, and it can't be too dark but it's not a joke of a book either. Juggling all these components and still making a book that satisfies today's readers is no small feat, but damn it, if Jonathan Hickman isn't the right man for the job.
Maybe it's his history of subversive independent titles like the Nightly News and Pax Romana that make Hickman such an unexpected choice for the new architect of current goings on in the Baxter Building. Maybe it's exactly the creative and unpredictable nature of these books that makes him the perfect choice. Either way, his four previous volumes of Fantastic Four all build up to this new evolution and culminate in the death of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. Filling in the Torch's spot is Spider-Man and his history with the team, his wise-cracking jokes and scientific mind make him as perfect a choice for the team as Hickman is for the book.
So, what's going on in this book? Well, it's nothing short of the most colossal and massive event ever to threaten Earth! A secret society of Reed Richards from parallel realities have escaped to our plane of existence with one goal: to save the entire universe! The only problem is they don't care if they have to destroy our planet in the process. After all, what's the destruction of one Earth when you're saving a multiverse? And so the question becomes: how do you stop Reed Richards? Putting together a think tank of the Four's greatest villains which include Diablo, the Mad Thinker, Wizard, Bentley 23, the High Evolutionary and headed by Victor Von Doom, that's how! I mean, this is only Volume 1 people! Will the new team survive long enough to save this and countless other Earths from the mad destruction at hand? Only Jonathan Hickman knows. End of line.