The New Fantastic 4

I picked up the new issue of Fantastic 4 last week, #554 to be exact, where writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch have started their run on the comic. These guys are only household names if you live with someone who reads comic books, but they could be compared to a guy like David Fincher, who makes movies that are not only smart, but flashy and edgy as well. The two worked together previously on a comic called Ultimates, sort of a contemporary take on The Avengers, but filled with the moral and political issues of our modern day society.

But now they’ve set their sights on bringing back one of Marvel’s most recognizable heroes to the glory they haven’t experienced since the 60’s or 70’s, honestly. Their run is slated at being 16 issues, almost a year and a half, and the first issue doesn’t disappoint. Within the first 10 pages, you’re subtly shown what each character’s powers are, and even a slight nod to how they got them. After that, it starts to feel extremely real. Millar’s characterizations are spot on, and you don’t feel like you’re reading a comic, it’s like you’re reading an issue of your favorite well written TV show.

That idea is also helped entirely by the amazing art of Bryan Hitch, who is hands down one of the best artists in the industry. His character’s feel absolutely real, such as seeing She Hulk sitting down on the couch with a more normal sized person. She Hulk looks like she’s 7 feet tall because she is 7 feet tall. Or when Sue (The Invisible Woman) is sitting on the opposite couch relaxing, suddenly an old love of Reed’s (Mr. Fantastic) teleports into the room. The first thing Sue does is put up her hair, realizing that she looks like she a mom and not the hot chick from the F4. It’s these subtle details that really make this something different from normal comics.

At the end of the issue you’re left with a pretty big reveal, drawn in a typically epic style that only Bryan Hitch can do so well. If you have any interest at all in comics, pick this up. If you’ve never read a comic in your life, go pick this up. This is a great place to start and should lead up to some pretty exciting things over the next year or so.


February 17, 2008