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Thursday, February 23, 2012

DAMN Good Comics -- FANTASTIC FOUR #603

Y'know, it's a damn shame so little happens in Fantastic Four these days...Ahem.

Part Four of Jonathan Hickman's epically-epic "Forever" continues the redemption of the title as "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine."  On a cosmic scale not seen since the days of creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Hickman keeps unloading everything he's been building since he took over with issue #570 into a final storyline that FF fans are going to remember well into their old age.

This issue starts off, quietly enough, with world-eater/planet-killer Galactus duking it out in space with a group of Mad Celestials that speak just like Daleks from the TV series Doctor Who.  From there, we learn that the Interdimensional Council of Reeds was constructing a god-killing weapon called Sol's Anvil, which "our" Reed hooks up to four (of course) power bases located on Old Atlantis, The Negative Zone, The Blue Area of the Moon and The Forever City.  This ends up with one of the Invisible Woman's finest moments, as she defiantly defends her unconscious husband from an assault by the Mad Celestials.

And this isn't even the conclusion.

Although the art for this issue isn't by regular artist Steve Epting, Barry Kitson more than ably steps in to give Hickman's script enough visual gravitas.  Scenes of a towering figure like Galactus facing a combined Mad Celestial megabeing at least five times his size look great, especially to see the Big G having his cosmic behind blasted all the way into an impact crater in Africa.  However, it's the Invisible Woman's tearful look of defiance against the Mad Celestials where Kitson is most effective, selling the scene perfectly.

So just one more issue of "Forever" to go.  The adult versions of Franklin and Valeria Richards have jumped all the way from Fantastic Four #582 to get here, so here's hoping crossing all that space and time was worth it.  If next month's issue turns out as well as this one did, it definitely will be.

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