The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.
The last time we reviewed a Jonathan Hickman comic, one reviewer :cough:thefourthman:cough: compared him to Alan Moore. High (and ludicrous) praise indeed, but the comic was Pax Roman so maybe going a bit crazy with the hyperbole was warranted. Since then Hickman has made the jump to Marvel and is one of the hottest creators around and has been tapped to follow up Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's love it or hate it Fantastic Four run. How crazy can we get with the hyperbole this time around? Let's find out...
Review by Jack Burton
I really liked this issue. Hickman's got a really good grip on the kids and I really like his take on Reed. The Council idea is a little like the Kang one but that doesn't make it any less awesome.
A lot of people are harping on Eaglesham about Reed and Johnny's bulkiness but that doesn't really bother me. I've read enough superhero comics to know artists exaggerate sometimes. I was a little thrown by Ben's speech pattern. I think Hickman needs to work on that to make Ben sound a little more normal and a little less Jimmy Durante (which granted his speech pattern is based on but he's progressed since the 60's).
All in all an excellent start to what I hope is a great run.
Review by thefourthman
Yeah, I really liked this issue. I really like the art, I like a buff Reed. He seems more super-heroish that way. I loved the whole 101 thing and really look forward to where the end of the issue is going to take us. However, this felt lite for a Hickman book, even a Marvel Hickman book...
The flashback sequence by Eaglesham was the bee’s knees...
You can read thefourthman's full review here: http://brokenfrontier.com/reviews/p/detail/fantastic-four-570
Review by Daringd
The first issue of Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four run is well….fantastic. I really dug the issue, the art is killer here, especially the flashback sequence. Hickman really makes FF interesting again, similar to Millar/Hitch run. I just hope Hickman and Eaglesham don’t run out of steam. I also had no problem with the bulky Reed and Johnny. I don’t really have much to say other than it was a solid opening to Hickman’s run.
Review by 48THRiLLS
Being a fan of Jonathon Hickman, I really wanted to like this but I have come to the conclusion that I just don't like the Fantastic Four. I have picked up and dropped this title more times than any other book and it always falls flat with me. This first issue of Hickman's run had a few nice moments but it is was just sorta dumb and boring. My real question is why was Hughie (from The Boys) one of the clones? It looked just like him! Anyways, I am not interested with Johnny and Ben going to Nu-Earth. Reed meeting different versions of himself whom will probably turn out to be evil is just dumb. The most interesting member of the 4 (Sue) is totally under used... and the art was just all over the place, what was with Eaglesham drawing small heads? Or ginormous bodies? I think this title will never be what it once was because it is just stale and until someone comes in and shakes things up it is going to stay boring, hell let the kids grow up some and utilize their powers, I dunno... maybe the comic’s world has moved on from the first family, I think I have.
STORY - 5
ART - 5
OVERALL - 5
Review by House of J
I've always loved the FF, they were one of my first books and they've always had a special place in my heart even when I'm not reading or enjoying them. Reed Richards was always one of my favorite characters, but I hated his actions in and after Civil War and could no longer stand by the character's actions as written. I see Hickman beginning Reed's path to redemption in FF: DR and this issue, and similar to Fraction's redemption of Tony Stark, Reed is probably going to eat some humble-pie before all is said and done too. It's hard not to see some possible foreshadowing of that in his Idea 101 and acceptance of his Ultimate Importance, or so it seems.
I already discussed FF: DR in this thread a bit--the recap paragraphs are so much better than reading 1-5, trust me. But the Franklin plot point left dangling at the end is pretty bizarre, especially when he is saying "Pow! Take that bad guys!" you think Reed might remember Franklin's action in FF: DR #5. But it's all no more odd than Norman's actions in the mini, I guess.
That makes me worried about the characterization and motivations of Hickman's FF--but in 570, things seem a little better written. My main complaint is the beginning with The Wizard and the unimaginative ways the Four's powers are used in this issue.
The whole "switch opponents" thing is so stale--and far beneath The Wizard who would've learned that lesson back in Stan and Jack's day. And please--Sue can do SO much more than put a force bubble around herself, few robots stand a chance.
The scene with Ben 'n' Johnny is ok, I hope they take a lot of condoms with them. I hate Nu Earth, and am sorry it is going to be used here.
The Reeds is an interesting idea, though, much more than Pirate Johnny and Cowgirl Sue from the mini. In fact, Pirate Reed and Cowboy Reed are nowhere to be found.
The Infinity Glove(s) is like the ultimate Monkey's Paw, and here we see there is one for your left hand and two for your right, so you know that's bad news for somebody.
The art is pretty good, but needs to be more dynamic when powers are used.
Review by Fintan
This was an enjoyable book. It was my first time reading a Fantastic Four book but I was aware of all the characters. The art was fine but not very interesting. The story has me interested in whets to come. I might continue picking it up.
Review by starlord
This is one of longest running series I've ever read, having started collecting it while still in high school. There's been a lot of ups (John Byrne) and downs (Mark Millar); so my initial reaction to Hickman taking the reigns was guarded.
Having read the first issue of this I'm not really that impressed, nor am I that disappointed, either. The story is meh at best, and some of the art is impressive; however, buff Reed is just not right. Hickman handled the Wizard very well and made him creepier than I can remember him ever being - nice one! The idea of Reed fixing the whole world is rather old, though.
Perhaps I'm finally at a place in my life where I just don't care anymore what happens to the First Family of Superheroes. Or perhaps there are no more really interesting stories to tell about the Fantastic Four.
Either way, I've come to a serious cross-roads with this book. If Hickman (who I usually enjoy) can't even rise above the dreck that Millar just left, perhaps it wasn't Millar after all. Maybe it's just time to say goodbye to a book that really has nothing more to offer.
My Score: 4.5
Review by doombug
Wow I disagree with almost all of you. But then again I thought Millar's run was paint by numbers boringness and believe I predicted every single plot twist from the start. From my column which should be up some point this week:
Fantastic Four #570 which starts the new creative teams run. Jonathan Hickman continues to build off what he started in his dark reign mini which I'd highly recommend. Reed Richards stops one of his long term nemesis as Johnny give Ben a cool vacation present which we'll see in a future issue. Oh and the last page? 3 infinity gauntlets held by 3 very different Reed Richards.
Usually I'd complain about someone using stuff from a miniseries but Hickman manages to bring readers in easily and nail the 6 characters voices right off the bat. Dale’s artwork here is beautiful and probably the best I've ever viewed from him. Loved his stuff on JSA but here he seems to have gone crazy with ideas. It's going to be fun to see where this run heads next.
Verdict: definitely a buy and finally feels like Marvel's first family is back on track.
I guess my grade is an 8.5
I just think it was above average, not amazing but really, really good.
Review by MrBlack
I do not think I have ever picked up a Fantastic Four comic until last week. I understand that they're an important superhero team, and I have enjoyed their appearances in other books, but they have never appealed to me enough to buy an actual Fantastic Four comic.
Well, I really enjoyed this issue. It seemed to hit a lot of character moments right from the get go to establish Hickman's take on the team, although it certainly focused on Reed, for obvious reasons. The story is pretty well trodden at this point (How far will science dare to go?), but Hickman is taking it in an interesting direction (THREE Infinity Gauntlets?!).
Eaglesham's art is great, as always, but it really pops here even more than it did in his Justice Society of America run. I recall reading elsewhere that he opted not to go with an inker, and is digitally adding colors, but whatever he's doing he needs to keep it up. Count me as one who likes Buff Reed; it's a nice throwback to the adventurers from the old '50's serials.
I am not sure that I will continue to pick up Fantastic Four, but if the story retains the quality of the first issue, I will definitely grab it in trade.
Review by amlah6
I'm a huge fan of Jonathan Hickman's creator owned work. It's innovative and has a voice to it that truly feels new to the medium. It's exiting, it's fresh, it's daring, it's pretty much everything this issue of Fantastic Four is not. This was safe and boring. There was nothing in this issue even hinting at the exceptional. I feel like I've read this issue many times before, it's simply another issue of Fantastic Four with a new creative team. The only real positive from this for me is that the characterization maintained a consistent tone with that of the Millar run that preceded it.
So, I guess since the Millar/Hitch run Reed and Sue must have spent a ton of time in the gym. Seriously, I'm not all that familiar with Eaglesham but this seems like he just applied his own template for a comic book superhero onto the characters without any consideration for how they have been portrayed for decades. It was horribly distracting and took me out of the story being told on virtually every page. I was fine with the rest of the art and even felt like from a storytelling and layout perspective that it was very strong. Had I not heard Paul Mounts discuss the art for this book on a recent episode of Around Comics, I never would have known he was coloring directly on top of Eaglesham's pencils.
Maybe it's the weight of expectations dragging this book down for me, but on the whole I'm very disappointed. Maybe the Council of Reeds thing will turn out to be something cool, but short of great word of mouth for the subsequent issues, this doesn't appear to even warrant trade wait status.
Review by Kerny
Being a huge fan of Secret Warriors and being glad Millar's run was over, I was excited for this book. Needless to say, I was a bit let down.
The good: The characters. I feel that Hickman really nailed what every character should sound and act like. I also love the fact that Johnny used his powers in a way that had been underused in a while
Also the art is GREAT. I was sorta an Eaglesham fan from what little I had read of JSA, but he really knocks it out of the park here. I don't get the complaints on Buff Reed. Dude can make his body look like anything he wants, not that big of a deal. The beard might take some getting used to, but even that is not a big issue
The Wizard. Don't know much bout this guy, but he was pretty awesome-ly creepy here with the cloning shenanigans
The bad-Plot. I know this is the FF and all, but I thought this issue was just a little too out there for my taste. Plus I think we all know where this is going. Reed can't solve everything, and he's gonna learn a lesson.
Reedtastic! I thought this issue was way too focused on Reed. I want to see the team as a whole, not "Reed does something super-science-y". Hopefully, Hickman shows us a lot more of Ben and Johnny's vacation to Nu-Earth.
Review by Amoebas
My first comic book was FF #160 (making it my 1st FF as well obviously). Fantastic Four was my favorite comic for over a decade until Englehart came on with his She-Thing stuff that just didn't work. I still bought it regularly but lost a lot of love for the FF.
Simonson renewed the flame and it was a great (short) ride until the crap that was DeFalco started and a sad for me as I stopped buying the book for the 1st time ever. Heroes Reborn was an abomination and the return by both Lobdel and Claremont was a joke.
A couple years of more crap and then Waid came in to make the book readable again. Some of his arc were good others weren't but at least it was readable again (as were Kesels far too few issues).
I dropped it a couple issues into JMS shitfest started and never even bothered with McDuffie’s run (reading the boards confirmed my decision as wise). I've no use for Millar so that was gladly slipped (again a good decision based on the boards).
So he I go again. I love the FF but I keep waiting for the next Kirby/Lee, Thomas, Wein, Wolfman, Moench, Byrne, Simonson, Waid & Kesel. And that brings us to today...
Fantastic Four #570
The cover - nice Davis stuff even tho Ben apparently as fish pupils. Can't figure out why Johnny's burning yellow with hints of orange rather than red.
Right from the start it looks like Eaglesham is hitting everything. Those two opening pages are beautiful.
The Wizard-bot fight - 1st: I'm not a fan of Steroid Reed and HGH Johnny. Second, the Wizard is smarter than this. "There was a hole in my logic."? What the fuck? The Wizard has been fighting the FF longer than most anyone. For him to miss the "switch" is absurd.
Ben's use of "da" instead of the "the" didn't sound right to me (as a lot of his later dialogue would likewise also sound off).
Johnny's call for Sue to look out made no sense as she wasn't in danger from the water.
Sue says "Johnny's out", yet he's fine enough to see thru the other three bots - including the one that was designed to fight him which should have been heat shielded.
I know I'm nitpicking - but it shouldn't be this easy.
Sloppy battle sequence.
The FF can teleport now? How much Cash for Clunkers will it get then?
The Wizard pages were nice except for the ungodly easy defeat. The Wizard took on the entire FF to many times for this kind of cheap defeat. I have to assume he wanted to be caught.
The FF at home was good enough - although I'm not a fan of Valerie.
Reeds hidden rooms felt right as did even the numerous Reeds (although as pointed earlier there should have been some stringbeans). I'm guessing Thing Ben from FF #117 will show up next issue. The Brute seems like he should be there but he's from the same universe as this Reed.
Apart from the sloppy beginning the rest of issue kept me interested enough and even tho some dialogue was off at least they felt like the characters I've loved for so long.
Art 8 (woulda been higher without the roids)
Overall (and this was not by design) 6.66
Review by SuperginraiX
Why is the Fantastic Four against having a cool title font? Let's take a trip down memory lane for a bit to see all the various FF logos.
We start out with the original logo from issue number one.
Quirky, interesting, but incredibly dated. This logo will never die. It will return. It always does.
Around issue 119, we finally got an updated logo.
It was nothing to write home about but it was the seventies. They were trying out new things and the dated FF logo had to go.
In issue 160, they tried again.
Look familiar? That's because it's ba-ack. This one isn't bad but it's still boring and the "O" in "Four" really annoys me. It's just too large or something.
From there, John Byrne took over and I'm betting he had something to do with the original logo returning. That thing stuck around from issue 218 to issue 59 (yeah, 59-- by old numbering, that would be issue 488).
At that point, we finally got a new logo for the first time in two decades.
Easily my favorite logo. It started Mark Waid and Mike Weiringo's run. A modified version of it appeared in Marvel Knights 4. By the end of Waid and Weiringo's run, the original logo returned (issue 509).
The final FF logo appeared during Millar and Hitch's run.
Very modern. Nice trade dress. Made the title look cutting edge.
So naturally it had to go. Instead of going back to the dated original logo, we're hitting that seventies logo. The second one. Both are boring. Both are dated. No looking modern for the FF. For the writer of the book with the coolest current cover (Secret Warriors), it's a step backward. A couple steps.
But how about the book inside? Not a bad beginning. Reed looks bulky. More like his Jack Kirby days than the nerd look everyone gives him nowadays. Seriously, if I were drawing Reed, I'd probably veer towards the Kirby design more than the stereotype he's become. This is a guy that spends most of his days in his lab but still trains up and is prepared for a throw down with the likes of the Wizard. He's probably going to have some bulk on him especially if he can stretch right into that bulk.
This is totally a Reed Richards book and it's fitting the current Marvel theme. Examine the leader. That's pretty much what every Marvel book is doing. Who's getting the face time in the X-Men? Cyclops. Who are we seeing throughout every book in Marvel's line up? Norman Osborn. Before that? Tony Stark. Marvel is focusing on leadership even if it's subconscious. Since I like the leader characters, I'm happy to see it. Maybe I'm seeing what I want to see. Any way you look at it, this book is about Reed Richards.
And it sort of makes him look like a chump. Here's a big council of Reed Richardses from alternate dimensions that are running circles around you. You're playing catch-up. We're reading about the smartest man in the Marvel Universe but not the smartest man in this comic. That's an interesting place to put Reed in but it depends upon if it's addressed or not.
The art is pretty good stuff. Eaglesham has some troubles in a few panels that throws me out of the comic but, overall, it's a nice look. I've already mentioned that I dig his version of Reed.
So it's over all a pretty nice read. They just need to kill the logo and go with a more modern look.
Fantastic Four, you get a 8.5. I'll see you next month.
Review by guitarsmashleyI have no issues in the muscular reed. Personally I think it's a good thing to finally have him look like he could be capable of kicking some ass instead of letting other people do it for him while he twist around them rubbing his genitals all over there bodies. The art on this issue was pretty good but the story is stagnant as best. For a jump on issue it doesn't do that at all. It doesn't introduce the reader to anyone except a world full of reeds who you know are just going to turn out to be bad guys and reed and the boys and Sue who seemed completely useless this issue are going to have to help him out of this bucket of syrup. This issue had moments and I will say it had three great moments.
1.Reed and Sue in embrace.
2.Franklin asking about them helping the boy.
3. Idea 101.
but that's it. The bridge is a pretty stupid concept and I can't say this was a great first issue to a run of anything. Mark Waid did such great things and I see them all just disappearing.
Review by ChubblesI've never had fantastic four be a part of my pull list so I came into this hoping Hickman could push through my disliking of the F4. So far so good I think. Hickman is one of my favorite writers out there. Transhuman, Pax Romana and Nightly News are all brilliant. Hickman is an excellent storyteller. He ties so many grand schemes and elaborate plots together so fantastically that I have no doubt he's gonna do something awesome here as well. This was a solid set up issue where he allows Eaglesham to flex some of his artistic muscle a bit. I very much enjoyed that spread with all the alternate Reed's. I still don't care much for the F4 but I believe 100% in Hickman so count me in for this.
Review by PunchyStory - For a very simple concept, the Fantastic Four has been difficult for many writers to get right, nobody has really struck the right tone since Stan and Jack. People may suggest John Byrne or Waid and Wieringo, but they still don't come that close. Millar and Hitch had promise early on, but by the end of their run, things had petered out. So now it's the turn of Jonathan Hickman to take the reins of Marvel's first family, and for my money, he does a pretty great job.
This is not Hickman's first go around at the FF, he previously wrote the team's Dark Reign mini-series, which recieved mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed, it was full of great ideas, funny alternate worlds, and some great Norman Osborn moments. Hickman picks up from that series here, as Reed Richards decided to use his 'Bridge Machine' in an attempt to 'solve everything'. That's a big statement, it may be a bit nebulous, but it's a catchy hook for a storyline, it's very Reed, and an inventive writer can do a lot with such an idea, and I think Hickman is the man for the job.
Make no mistake, this opening issue is the Reed Richards show all the way, the rest of the family barely get a look in. But I don't really have a problem with this, Reed has often been short-changed by many writers, and ever since Civil War many fans have hated him with a ferocity close to Tony Stark levels, Hickman began to rehablitate him in DR:FF and he continues here. The issue opens a flashback to Reed's childhood, where he is afraid to leap off a ledge, but his father gives him some sage advice. It's a scene which explains much of Reed's motivation, why he does what he does in general, and also why he does what he does in this issue.
In the present day we see the FF facing one of their old foes, The (Wingless) Wizard, in a scene that is genuinely creepy, the clones' blank faces, and then the poor cloned child, it was a dark touch, but it worked. I also liked how Hickman played up the parallels between Reed and the Wizard, they are both brilliant minds, and both have a desire to change the World, but go about it a different way. Hickman even compares their parenting techniques, the Wizard is disappointed in his 'children', whereas Reed is kind and tells them stories. Hickman set up some interesting threads with Franklin in Dark Reign, but they aren't picked up here as of yet, but I anticipate some interesting stuff with him and the Wizard's son.
Reed's secret Laboratory is one of the coolest scenes I've read in the FF for a while, the scribbles all over the wall, the 'deep in thought' personal touch, it's exactly what a brilliant, distracted mind like Reed would have, that scene is a sense of normalcy, before things get truly weird, and they do get weird, like... Grant Morrison weird. Reed turns on his machine, and is greeted by... himself. Well, not himself, but alternate reality versions. There follows a lot of fun pseudo-scientific words, which even Mister Fantastic doesn't get, but essentially, he's joining The Legion Of Super-Reeds, and it's awesome. It's a kooky idea, and it can go a lot places, Hickman has shown he's got a willingness to do crazy stuff, and an idea like this is much more akin to a DC idea than a Marvel one, especially these days, but the FF should always be going to new places, and this is just that. And that last page, with the Infinitey Gauntlet Reeds... he's even picking up on threads from the Illuminati. Hickman is bringing the FF forwards again, but also tying up some loose ends, and it's a lot of fun.
But there are still some problems, as I said, this is Reed all the way, Sue does pretty much nothing. Johnny and Ben get a bit of set-up for a holiday to Nu-Earth, which should be fun, it's good to see some of Millar's plot threads being picked up, but the balance of the FF is integral to the book's health, and Hickman needs to be able to focus on all the team members equally. Hopefully in future issues he will do, Millar tried to have each of his 4 story arcs focus (sort of) on a different team member, maybe Hickman will try something like that.
But overall, this is a strong first outing for Hickman with the FF, each team member is written well, especially man of the issue Reed Richards, there are some great new ideas floated, and I really got a kick out of the Legion of Super-Reeds. From his Indie work, we know Hickman is a writer with a lot to say and a lot of ideas, I hope things get even crazier from here on out. He's not just doing Galactus and Doom again, this is a personal story in many ways... but a cosmic one at the same time.
Art - Dale Eaglesham was one of the best artists at DC while he was there, which was why it was such a shame he was wasted on Johns' increasingly dull JSA. Now he's at Marvel, I can see his art on a good book!
Much has been written about how Reed is looking too muscular, but I don't particularly have a problem with it. He's a superhero, he fights people all the time. Before it got retconned, he was a WW2 veteran, if you go back and look at Kirby's work, he's pretty tough. To me, it makes Reed seem like Doc Savage or something, a kick-ass science explorer. I also like his stubble, for a man that's driven by work, it makes sense.
The other characters look good too, I like how lumpy Ben is, and Johnny's face is hilarious on many occasions. Eaglesham has a knack for great expressions. I was particularly chilled by the face of the Wizard's child clone, that blank, painful stare, great stuff.
And you can tell he had a lot of fun with the Legion of Super-Reeds, some funny alternates there.
Best Line - 'But to say that you're not even willing to try... that's unacceptable Reed' That pretty much sumes up the ethos of Mister Fantastic.
7/10 A strong opening issue, perhaps too much focus on one character, but the way Reed is written is very strong. There are some mad ideas in here, and some loose ends too. Plus, creepy villain. What more do you want in the FF?
That gives Fantastic Four #570 a group score of 6.79. Not so much with the flowery hyperbole, but lots and lots of mixed results.
For further discussion about this issue, feel free to join us in this week's thread (http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28054) found in the Newstand forum where you are also invited to post your own review.
House of J returned this week just in time to select our book for September 2nd so we will be reviewing the $1 Sweet Tooth #1 from Vertigo. Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to post your own review.
Sweet Tooth #1
Story and Art by Jeff Lemire
From out of the deep woods and the mind of acclaimed indie cartoonist Jeff Lemire (THE NOBODY, The Essex County Trilogy) comes a new Vertigo monthly ongoing series like no other! After being raised in total isolation, Gus – a boy born with deer-like antlers – is left to survive in an American landscape devastated a decade earlier by an inexplicable pandemic. Even more remarkable is that Gus is part of a rare new breed of human/animal hybrid children who have emerged in its wake, all apparently immune to the infection.
Enter Jepperd, a violent, hulking drifter who soon takes in Gus and promises to lead him to "The Preserve," a fabled safe-haven for hybrid children. Along the way they'll have to contend with science militias, deadly scavengers, rival bounty hunters, and hybrid worshipping cultists as they fight to make it to safety and solve the mysteries of this deadly new frontier.
This bizarre and haunting new series is boldly written and illustrated by Eisner-nominated creator Jeff Lemire and elegantly colored by fellow Eisner nominee Jose Villarubia. A little boy with antlers, a big man with guns, a world without hope – SWEET TOOTH #1 ships in September for only $1.00!
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