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Review: Fantastic Four #581

This guy's going to be a superstar.

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Nathaniel Richards travels back to Mr. Fantastic's college days to recruit all the ol' boys for a battle against his evil alternate self in the future, all while a grown-up Valeria scares the hell out of Sue.

The Good

I hadn't encountered Neil Edwards' art before this comic and I have to say I was quite taken aback. He's a "total package" penciler whose work is damn close to Bryan Hitch's level (although I'm sure Neary's inks go a long way in putting the work in that direction.) I hate to use "cinematic" as a compliment, but this guy's filled this book with reality - - real settings, real people, real action. And I have to give Hickman his due, because he's got a utterly masterful rhythm with his words. I think he struck the right balance between playing the heady SF straight while still stepping back enough times to keep a properly humorous perspective. He gives Reed, Ben and Doom real personalities that are still in line with their larger-than-life characterizations. While Nate Richards getting chased by his dopplegangers is (probably intentionally) walking over ground previously walked by Immortus and all his duplicates, I still found his spin on it to be quite fresh.

The Bad

I still have memories of Hyperstorm and the tendency of these kind of stories to get overly complicated, really quickly, so I'm a little leery about where these future versions' adventures will be going. So far, so good, of course, but the standards are definitely going to have to be kept up, because it'll be so easy for this to fall astray.

The Verdict - 4/5

If the tweed sweaters and old school letter shirts on the cover weren't a clue, this title's paying proper respect to the FF's roots while still keeping it up to modern storytelling expectations. Hickman and Edwards are amazing combo and I'm excited to see where they take first family of Marvel, even if this particular storyline might be veering dangerously close to time-travel plots from the past.