From the moment the issue opens you get the sense that this book is going to be heavy; and it is. The issue begins with a pensive, Franklin Richards as an adult having a conversation with an adult Valeria; the two of them planning. The way the scene is set up is just so peaceful; like the calm before the storm. It's really beautifully set up. It's clear that the beginning of the issue are the moments before impending doom for Franklin, and it feels bittersweet. Yet, the ending of this issue and the series run for Hickman feels incredibly complete; as though the characters (as well as the writer) have come full circle on this title, doing all that they set out to do. The scene parlays into a moment between young Franklin and the future version of himself. Looking back at previous issues, some of the moments shared between these two characters are some of the most entertaining in this series. The following pages feature Franklin and Leech falling into this incredible world born out of a child's imagination. It's an incredible series of panels that really depict Hickman's ability to go into the mind of a young kid, and delve into a child's thoughts and dreams. To say it isn't fantastic would be an understatement.
Not only is this issue incredibly poignant and will pull on your heart strings, but it will make you really appreciate how consistently great this series has been under Hickman's pen. It;s been incredible, and it's been an incredible journey. The story will suck you in and pull you in all different directions, and it's great. Not only is the writing amazing, but the flow of the story and the art is absolutely brilliant. Yet, even though things are amazing on the surface, it's Hickman's ability to tell a great underlying story that is his true skill.
"See Franklin, intelligence without imagination is pretty much useless."
This issue also does something else sort of interesting; it makes you think of Franklin and Valeria as a sort of ying and a yang -- two characters who really complete one another. The story doesn't only focus on Franklin and Valeria, however, it goes on to explore the relationship between adult Franklin and other members of the FF. It's all really well done.
Nothing bad here
I am so sad to see Hickman leave this title, but so glad to see him do it in this incredible fashion. The way he is able to write these emotional and poignant moments that will literally bring tears to your eyes (at least they did for me) is astounding. He will make you care about these characters and their interactions in a way that maybe you hadn't before, and he establishes a very fitting end to both his book as well as to Franklin. In the end, it's a beautifully written story that might make you tear up a little bit, paired with some truly fantastic art. If you have to pick up one book this week, make it this one.