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Aiming for the Future

June 13, 2010

Fantastic Four #579 finally puts an end to the long exposition that was the last arc.  It begins with Mr. Fantastic speaking at the closing of the Singularity Conference, which I believe is the Marvel Universe of the Singularity Summit, a famous meeting of great thinkers from across the world.  And in the Marvel Universe, Reed is its founder.  However, after praising She-Hulk’s keynote speech, Reed chastises the rest of the conference’s members for being afraid of the future.  He announces his resignation from the conference, refusing to “go back to the cave for anyone.”  The next week, he brings Alex Power to the Baxter Building, and Alex expresses some concern about not being smart enough to join in on some unknown venture of Reed’s.  In Old Atlantis, the Invisible Woman requests something of one of its kings, and said king accepts.  The super intelligent Moloids agree to help Reed with something, and we get an interlude of Nu-World.  Then, Franklin Richards playfights (as only superhumans and their friends and relatives can) with Leech and Artie Maddicks while the Human Torch and the Thing watch and Valeria Richards tinkers with Dragon Man.  In the middle of it, they discover that Artie can create schematics that break down anything into its various parts with his new helmet.  Reed visits the Wizard and tells him that he plans to offer the Wizard’s clone something that the Wizard himself as forsaken.  Then we find out what all the mystery is: Reed has brought together Valeria, Alex, the now intelligent Dragon Man, the Moloids, Artie Maddicks, the Wizard’s young clone, and two children from Old Atlantis to teach them about the future and to breed the next generation of great thinkers and leaders.

Well, I’m rather glad that we’re done with all those ridiculous concepts and all that exposition at long last.  I know Jonathan Hickman enjoys that kind of stuff, but he’s best on the Fantastic Four when he just gets down to good character work.  Particularly with Reed.  Reed has been stuck in somewhat of a rut for years, which he only got shaken out of as a result of his involvement with Civil War.  And Hickman has taken that to its logical conclusion, bringing him back into the family once and for all and now this.  It would be nice if Hickman would work with other members of the Fantastic Four more, so I hope we’ll be getting more of that soon.  I do like what little character work he’s done with the Invisible Woman thus far, since he maintains her as a powerful woman.  And the whole concept of the Future Foundation is really cool, since it’s more forward-looking than most comic books nowadays tend to be.  Neil Edwards has also greatly improved since his recent work on this title and Mighty Avengers.  While his faces aren’t exactly pretty or well-detailed, they’re at least not grotesque anymore.  Most of them are rather technically sound.  He still struggles sometimes with proportions and perspectives, like in that one panel during the interlude with Dr. Banner, where his hand is just gigantic as compared to his head.  But again, at least I can look at his work now without cringing.  This book hasn’t really felt like it’s had much forward momentum since after the first arc, despite all the stuff that’s been introduced.  This issue offers some hope of moving forward, and there’s the big doom looming in the horizon, with the return of Dr. Doom and the possible death of one of the Fantastic Four.  I don’t think anyone’s actually going to die, because I think that the wording of the information about that (one of them will stop drawing breath or something like that) is to trick us.  Plus, it never works when someone tries to kill off one of the team.  But Hickman’s done decently on this book thus far, so hopefully he won’t try anything really ridiculous.

Plot: 8.7      Art: 7.5      Dialogue: 8.8      Overall: 8.6

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