by Carlton Hargro
Am I the only one who’s digging the Fantastic Four these days?
If so, that’s a shame because, under the creative guidance of writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch, this is the best the book has been in quite years. In fact, I’d say Millar and Hitch’s run on the book to date is just as good as the classic stint by (gasp!) John Byrne.
What makes the work of current creative team so enjoyable? It’s just clear that these guys get what makes the Fantastic Four work.
From a writing perspective, Millar is able to blend the out-this-world cosmic stuff with the mundane family stuff; of course, a lot of FF writers try to do this. Millar, however, succeeds by presenting the cosmic stuff — like alternate dimensions and dating super-human burglars — as mundane and the mundane stuff — like finding a babysitter and the best way to celebrate your anniversary — as incredible. On top of that, while Millar does make use of classic FF supporting characters and villains, he finds a way to blaze a few new trails and tries out some things that have never been done in the pages of the comic before. And for a comic that’s been published for (at least) 562 months, that’s saying a mouthful.
When it comes to art, Hitch’s ultra-realistic style fits well in the FF; his drawings help to ground the reader and make all the extra-terrestrial/space-faring concepts, characters and landscapes more believable. Is this stuff as good as his work on The Ultimates? Yes … for the most part and on most panels. At the end of the day, Hitch at 85 percent is better than most artists at 100.
Now, all that good stuff taken into consideration, I must admit that I’m not happy with the apparent lateness of the book. But, when the comic does happen to hit the stands, the quality is top notch.
So, in conclusion: I like the FF, and you should, too.
Carlton Hargro is the editor-in-chief of Creative Loafing. For more comic reviews from Carlton, visit www.charlotte.creativeloafing.com.