Overview

Fantastic Four #600

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Fantastic Four #600

Credits

  • Words: Jonathan Hickman
  • Art: Steve Epting, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Ming Doyle, Lenil Francis Yu, Farel Dalyrmple
  • Inks: Rick Magray, Steve Epting, Gerry Alanguilan
  • Colors: Paul Mounts, Andy Troy, Jordie Bellaire, Javier Tartaglia, Jose Villarrubia
  • Story Title: Forever
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $7.99
  • Release Date: Nov 23, 2011

The "world's greatest comic magazine" takes the title to its extreme, compiling great stories that'll burn up your imagination.

Boiling down to roughly 8 cents a page, Marvel has created a book that uses each page to its fullest advantage, compiling five different stories that each focus on different characters, have different tones, visually stand out yet share the same universe (or multiverse, as it were with this book), and hit many different notes. Undoubtedly helping such a large task reach a goal with apparent ease is that Hickman writes every word in the book. In comparison, while Action Comics #900 reached a similar goal with a variety of writers to accompany the scope of artists, it was largely hit and miss; for example, Cornell's Lex Luthor story went over much better than, say, Goyer's infamous renouncement of Superman's U.S. citizenship. While, like Action Comics, not all stories focus on the main event and reveal of the spearhead, they (largely) build towards the concept of family. Black Bolt's discussion with Medusa shows the power of marriage, while Franklin's shows that of friendship. The original story features the family of coworkers as it were, while the follow-up shows that you can quickly become family and friends with those who are vastly unlike yourself. Only the Galactus story doesn't hit this beat, which is somewhat sad, as the world would much welcome the return of Adam Warren's Galacta, Daughter of Galactus.

While the major reveal of the book is common knowledge by this point, the story leading up to it is what matters. The first story in the book, drawn by Steve Epting, is the major action movie, and awkwardly similar to Spider-Island, in which Marvel's finest have to barricade and defend New York from swarms of enemies, only these are from beyond space. Spinning many plates (and not afraid to start a few), it moves quick, has heart and humor (namely in The Thing's fears and Spider-Man's day-saving nature), and the final page has one of the greatest reveals and accompanying dialogue in recent years. Even when something's played for drama, Hickman doesn't forget the humor inherent in its characters.

Following that tale, we see the past few months through another set of eyes. In "Whatever Happened To Johnny Storm?", we see the fate of our hero as the portal to the Negative Zone closed. Bounding between quiet and solemn action and glimpses into the run of Fantastic Four and FF since the fateful event, Carmine Di Giandomenico has fun with the grotesque life and lifeforms that inhabit the Negative Zone. It's a world that Carmine seems to cherish, as every opportunity to be foreign (to humanity), disgusting, and otherwise off-kilter is explored, while keeping enough semblance to our reality so the situations are recognizable and bear appropriate weight. Andy Troy cannot be ignored, especially with the coloring on the penultimate page, showing that there's a lot of potential with a simple flame.

Following Giandomenico's tale of the strange, Ming Doyle keeps things appropriately alien for a Black Bolt-focused story. In a world where Black Bolt and Medusa can talk, things go sketchy and abstract, but visually entertaining and unique. Almost evocative of a more-restrained Skottie Young, Doyle is one to keep an eye on, especially if he unleashes what lies beneath. Leinil Francis Yu, on the other hand, appropriately pencils the Galactus tale that follows. Given that it's six pages, and half of it are in the darkness of space, there's not much room for jaw-dropping, but Yu has earned that from previous works. The combination of Yu, Alanguilan, and Tartaglia on the last page's visual of Galactus amidst darkness is worth the story's inclusion, and Hickman drops teases towards the future of the fantastic family in its last panel. Lastly, Farel Dalyrmple possibly follows up on this tease with an enjoyable, all-ages look at the world of Franklin Richards. It's reminiscent of the fun had in books like Power Pack and the recurring Franklin Richards short stories, and a sweet, comedic end to the book.

Hickman and a slew of writers have made every page in an anthology book count, becoming the ultimate jam project. While some will undoubtedly pick the book up for the comic event transpiring in it, others may veer away from its hefty price tag. This may not be the world's greatest comic magazine, but it is truly fantastic.

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