1. The “3” story kicks off here where Hickman will kill off a member of the Fantastic Four. For an idea this well trodden, we’re going to need some stellar execution, something Hickman excels at.
2. The Fantastic Four spend the issue off in some random battle, as they oft do. The battle isn’t interesting and is merely to get them out of the way and set up a plot point, so it’s good that little time is spent with it.
3. Ben Grimm is mutated by the radiation of the battle. That will, naturally, play a large role going forward and, as the most important part of the plot, is properly given a lot of foreshadowing screen time, even as the veteran characters dismiss it’s importance.
4. Valeria gets the bulk of the issue, which is great as she’s the most interesting character right now, adding a fresh dynamic to the tried and true family team. She finds out about the council of Reed’s and decides her father made the wrong decision putting himself above the greater good. That, of course, raises the greater question – did he in fact make the wrong choice?
5. This leads her to, as the future Franklin warned, go to Doom for help. He’s apparently brain damaged and accepts her help with that in exchange for later helping Reed. Valeria is incredibly smart, but also naive, so this blowing up in her face will make for an excellent, if predictable, moment.
6. Or will it? Doom honors his word and he did genuinely help last arc… I love ambigious Doom. He’s far more interesting than the totally evil megalomaniac.
7. The visit to the Council of Reeds and seeing the Celestial battle is no less interesting the second time around, though the darkness of the inking detracts a bit from the spectacle.
8. The Fantastic Four win their battle in the usual manner- Invisible bubble and Johnny Super-Nova. That awesomely cool move that has become cliche and takes up less than two pages is emblematic of how much has changed. The action-adventurers role has been done and can be done without Reed, so why isn’t he fixing everything?
9. The Silver Surfer prologue where he finds a defeated Galactus and deems this “unacceptable” is ominous and, if nothing else in this great issue did, gets me back for more.
10. <b>Rating: 8/10</b> – We have Doom, the Surfer, Galactus and Reed’s responsibility with his inventions. All old tropes made to seem new again.
Tags: Fantastic Four, Jonathan Hickman, Marvel Comics, steve epting