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Fantastic Four Vol 4
Writer – Jonathan Hickman
Artists – Steve Epting (583-587) Nick Dragotta (588)
Artist “Uncles” – Mark Brooks
Within this volume, is the tale of how the Fantastic Four, became the Fantastic Three. It was not by some megalomaniac superpower, or a being that was a “world eater”. Just the simple decision of sacrifice for those they love, and protect with their very lives. It all unfolds with the choices that Reed and Sue make, leaving Johnny and Ben behind to take care of the kids. In the onset of the tale, Reed’s quest is to find understanding beyond the norm, and Sue’s journey is venturing beneath the waves.
Hickman delivers clever writing through these pages, never once is it hinted that anyone would die. It is so open ended, with the choices each character makes, whether it’s the adults or kids of the “Future Foundation”. There’s even a journey with Johnny and Ben (where he becomes normal for an entirety of a week) with no powers, just being a human being enjoying life. On the sidelines, the frontlines are crossed beyond the stars, Reed’s quest finds him unraveling a paradox that could undo the fabric of existence. Where Susan’s can ultimately change Atlantis foundation for the future, along with a certain Sub-Mariner by (or is he ever) on anyone’s side.
Epting’s art is expressive, using light and dark texture’s throughout. I remember his previous work with the Captain America series. Here it is constantly focused on each character in a significant way. Where dialog, and expressions remain key to how the art changes. It never leaves the reader sorting through pages to figure out what they missed. But an ongoing read through, just to put some of the most bizarre pieces in the F4 history to date. Then again, this is about the result of the team becoming a three member party.. Epting delivers a dark transfer of what being a hero truly can be by just making one decision.
Dragotta’s entry has oddly enough no dialog to work around. But by simple expressions: on each characters face, whether it’s a quiet scene, a tear, anger, or understanding. It works so well, that it covers several pages, and its emphasis is about what makes this family a foundation as heroes.
Be sure to read the subnotes at the end of the tale regarding the non-dialog issue. Its well worth reading just how much effort that this team put into scripting a moment of remembrance, pain, and healing.