As I said at the end of my review for the second volume of Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read the third volume without having the fourth because that trade seemed to be leading up to this big huge war. I decided to go ahead and take it with me on a trip to New Hampshire last weekend and I was pleased because it’s a great continuiation of the story, but it also didn’t do what I expected it to. The war has been put off, but the magic of Hickman’s FF run is that you almost don’t even realize it. Instead of moving in the direction I expected, it takes a different angle, by picking up a thread first sewn in back in the first volume.
There are several stories being told here while also sticking with the overarching story, but there are some really interesting bits here. You’ve got Franklin Richards and Johnny Storm running up against Arcade with the Impossible Man making an appearance as well as Reed, Ben and Victor Von Doom traveling back in time to their college days with Reed’s dad to battle an alternate reality version of his dad. That lead into a larger part of the story that references the oncoming war and, I’ll be honest, I don’t think I quite picked up everything Hickman was laying down because there’s some pocket universe stuff going on as well as some tampering with time, but I’m excited to see what happens in the next volume and how it continues on into FF. I don’t have those volumes yet, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a good deal.
I spent a lot of time praising Dale Eaglesham in my previous posts and wasn’t as much of a fan of Neil Edwards on his fill-in issues, but I think he definitely stepped his game up as he took over the regular art chores. He’s still no Eaglesham, but he’s a lot more solid and tight this time around. He’s kind of in the same vein as Bryan Hitch, an artist I think is alright but not as awesome as seemingly everyone else in the world. Anyway, his storytelling and action are both up to par with Hickman’s words, so it’s a nice synthesis.
The interesting thing I just realized about this book is that, I believe you could give just this volume to someone and it would be a fun ride. You’ve got Mr. Fantastic starting the Future Foundation, some classic elements being toyed with like the problem of the Thing’s rock form and some other fun vignettes along with overall storytelling blocks. There might be a few questionable moments or references, but overall, I think that a basic knowledge of the FF would allow you to enjoy even this third volume in a series on its own.