Fantastic Four

Tyler McGinty

One of the Fantastic Four is dead. This month, Jonathan Hickman brought his story arc “Casualty” to a close by killing a member of the team in “Fantastic Four” #587. Even though a character was killed, I’m happy, and not only because I guessed right. I’m happy because Hickman was able to turn one of the comic book industries lamest gimmicks into the makings of a wonderful story.

I started reading the Fantastic Four when a friend of mine recommended Hickman’s work on the title. I never really cared for any of them except for the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing, Benjamin Grimm. In fact, I hated Reed “Mr. Fantastic” Richards in particular.

However, Hickman started his run on the title with something I never thought possible: making Reed Richards likable. Hickman wrote all the characters in a way that seemed far more heroic than I thought possible and with the Fantastic Four title being cancelled after this next issue, he ends it the same way.

The only real complaint I had with this issue is that it became obvious early on who was going to die. The issues leading up to this put each of the foursome in equally dangerous situations, making it a guessing game and I expected more of the same in this issue.

Instead, what happened was everyone got a couple of pages each to wrap up their situations, leaving the majority of this issue to the events leading up to the death.

Keeping up the guessing game would probably have kept the issue more thrilling, but it may have also taken away from the emotional impact. It seems Hickman works hard to humanize the Fantastic Four and it makes sense for him to write it the way he did, but it was a little disappointing to figure it out so early in the issue.

Steve Epting continues to do an outstanding job as the artist for this series and his work contributes heavily to the emotional impact of this issue. However, it wasn’t the two-page spread of the hero dying that tore me up. It was the final page as their companions hang their heads defeated.

Of course, they’ll probably end up coming back, it always happens in comic books. The important thing isn’t when they come back, it’s important how the death is used in the story. Telling a great story before the status quo is the only thing that matters here, and if the last year of innovative stories about Marvel Comics’ First Family is any indicator, Hickman will tell a great one.