Home > Marvel Comics > Fantastic Four (1961 Series) #588

Fantastic Four (1961 Series) #588

March 1, 2011

Title: Three, Epilogue: Month of Mourning & Uncles

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Nick Dragotta & Mark Brooks
Paul Mounts
Rus Wooton
Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Javier Rodriguez
Tom Brevoort
Marvel Comics

In the :cough cough: “final” issue of Fantastic Four, the world is reeling from the news of the death of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. In a wordless story that takes place over the month following Johnny’s death, Jonathan Hickman brilliantly shows just how the extended family is reacting, from the too little too late appearance of the Avengers moments after Johnny’s death to a bit of (what seems to be) conclusive proof that Johnny is really dead, all the way to Valeria’s plan to exact revenge. Maybe the best part of the issue, though, is how the Thing copes. He watched Johnny, a man who was essentially his little brother, die to save his life, and that’s not an easy thing for Ben Grimm to take. The way he turns to (of all people) Thor and the Hulk to help him cope is nothing short of brilliant. The one weak point of this main story is the artwork. Nick Dragotta appears to be going for sort of a Jack Kirby riff, but he isn’t doing a great job of it. It looks like an attempt to copy Kirby, and as such loses its own personality.

There is no such problem in the second story this issue, “Uncles.” Spider-Man, who (we know because nothing in the world of comic books is allowed to be a secret anymore) will be joining the team in the new FF title is also mourning the loss of his friend, but he recognizes that there’s someone in agony who may be feeling a little neglected… so as one nephew who once lost a beloved uncle, he reaches out to Franklin Richards. This is perhaps the best Spider-Man story I’ve read in years – something so wonderfully classic and true to the character that I could even forget, for a few pages, all the stupid continuity hula hoops he’s been forced to jump over for the past few years. Hickman clearly understands the spirit of the wallcrawler, and I feel very good now about him taking Peter Parker into the cast of FF.

“Final Issue?” Sure – until FF reaches #12, which coincidentally would also be Fantastic Four #600. Ain’t no way that’s a coincidence. But for the next year, I have every faith that Hickman and company will give us some truly brilliant stories.

Rating: 8/10

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