Overview

Fantastic Four #576

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Fantastic Four #576

Credits

  • Words: Jonathan Hickman
  • Art: Dale Eaglesham
  • Colors: Paul Mounts
  • Story Title: Prime Elements 2: The Old Kings of Atlantis
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 3, 2010

After a shaky start, Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four has really hit its stride. The FF are at their best exploring the world and the universe, and just when you think there are no new civilizations to explore, Hickman presents us with Atlantis. But we've already explored Atlantis, Namor's kingdom, right? Well this Atlantis exists in Antarctica and has a trio of races out of contact with the rest of the world for half a million years at least. With the right mix of action and melodrama, Hickman sets the Fantastic Four up as the bridge between humanity and the strange new underwater realm. It remains to be seen how this interlude will fit in with the raising of the High Evolutionary's city last issue, but the scope of the story arc seems very large and sprawling, fitting to the grandeur of the Fantastic Four.

Hickman's done a good job with the characterizations. Each of the principals gets their time on the stage, and I definitely appreciate his focus on Susan, always my favorite of the group, but seldom the star. I am not sure if it was Hickman's or artist Dale Eaglesham's gag, but having Johnny Storm bare-chested in flame adorned shorts and cowboy boots strolling through Antarctica while those surrounding him are bundled in parkas provided a laugh out loud moment.

Eaglesham's art continues to improve on the title. He seems to have toned down the musculature of Reed a bit, and is getting a real feel for these characters. More stunning however are his underwater creatures. I wish only that more of the architecture of the Old Atlantis were depicted. Hopefully, future issues will give us a better sense of what this ancient civilization looks like. His storytelling is clear and there's an excellent sequence of pages without word balloons while the explorers maneuver underwater.

The fun is back in the Fantastic Four, with strange environments and earth shattering adventures. It's become something of a cliché to talk about bringing characters “back to their roots,” but it's a proven solution in these days of convoluted continuity and less than easily accessible giant story-lines. It was nice to be able to jump into this issue of Fantastic Four and not be lost. These are the Lee/Kirby characters boiled down to their essence, and it works beautifully. Hickman and Eaglesham have earned a second look, and are producing a superior comic book.

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