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Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 4
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection’ Vol. 4 is a masterpiece

This is a modern classic, simple as that.

The grand climax of Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman (and a small army of artists) comes when an adult Franklin Richards is pushed to the edge of his abilities by a group of celestials, and—with his remaining strength—revives Galactus to act as his herald and partner in fending off the threat to reality. It is one of my favorite moments in comics, and one of the most memorable confrontations across superhero fiction in general. A perfect climax to a legendary buildup. 

Then the story keeps going. For about 360 pages. It’s a masterpiece. 

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Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 4
Jonathan Hickman says, of foundation, “the most important word in comic writing.”
Marvel Comics

Hickman’s time on Fantastic Four is interesting for a bunch of reasons, but most of all, it’s a place where he continued telling stories even after the end of the main story he set out to tell. You don’t really have room for that when you’re telling the story that ended the Marvel multiverse, or when you’re writing a celebrated X-Men revival for whatever reason. Here, though, Hickman wrapped his main plot up magnificently.  Then, wrote some more adventures for Marvel’s first family to go on. They’re some of the best Marvel comics he’s ever written. 

Fantastic Four #605 and FF #23 are two such comics—among my favorite superhero single issues I’ve read—with the latter being my favorite finale to a superhero book ever. They both are able to perfectly show the core of the characters in 20 pages. Even those aside, the rest of the book is Hickman in a mode we don’t often get to see him in, where he’s telling stories that aren’t completely in service of whatever he’s going to do next. It’s true, some of it is building toward his Avengers run—and oddly enough toward AvX which was funny to see—but for the most part he’s just vibing in this corner he had built out into a room. We get to see him tie a couple of loose ends, and even make an addition to the cast, along with sending the team on a new classic adventure inside Willie Lumpkin. It’s fun and meaningful in a way that is immediately understood, rather than being understood months or years down the line when everything coalesces. 

Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 4
Araujo’ s delightful art.
Marvel Comics

Hickman getting to stretch different muscles is definitely a highlight here, but I think the art of the collection is just as exciting, if not more so. Dragotta is obviously the GOAT here. The aforementioned FF #23 is probably my favorite art of any superhero comic I’ve read, and it’s seemingly a platform for him to draw the most fun comic in existence, but beyond him the comic is stacked with other all-timers. Stegman, Walta, and one of my personal favorites Araujo all have work in here that’s about as good as anything Hickman has worked on at Marvel.

Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 4
Reed, explaining the theme for anyone who didn’t understand it 40 issues ago.
Marvel Comics

This is honestly just a fantastic comic. Obviously you’re not gonna read this fourth volume on its own, but uh, I also don’t own the other three, so it will sit on its own on my shelf, and I’m happy about that, because I don’t have shelf space or money for all four anyway. But if I was going to have one of them, it’d be this one, where Marvel’s First Family just kinda travels around and does nice things for their friends. 

Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 4
The thing about adventure.
Marvel Comics

That’s really all there is.

Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 4
‘Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection’ Vol. 4 is a masterpiece
Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection Vol. 4
This is a modern classic, simple as that. This collection alone is perfection, but as the cap to the larger run, it’s one of the greatest superhero comics in existence.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.8
Some of my favorite artists ever.
Hickman operating outside of the machinery he invented to create plot.
Run.
10
Fantastic
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