Fantastic Four has gotten off to a great start with Hickman and Eaglesham's first 3 issues. "Solve Everything" put Reed firmly back in the family. He was becoming obsessed with his work until he realized that it would cost him his family. Now Reed is back. In the last issue we saw that Ben and Johnny left for a vacation on Nu-World. What they did not know was Franklin and Val tagged along.
Inks: Andrew Currie
A couple of guard robots attempt to stop them. This is Ultron territory. They are too la te. The robots have the portal surrounded. Ted destroys the robots. He wants to know where Reed Richards is.
Ted explains that although it has only been a couple of weeks on Earth, in Nu-World time is has been 8 years. Nu-World's sun collapsed into a black hole. Ted was hoping that Reed could fix it. They try to escape as the armies of Lightwave and Ultron attack. Ben stays behind to hold them off while the others escape.
Ben tears through the robots until Lightwave shows up. The others see an explosion.
Ted explains that once the star collapsed, Ultron and Lightwave took control. The people revolted but were brought under control through the mind powers of Natalie X. Rebels use jet packs to escape the gravity and get pulled through the black hole. They don't know where it will take them. Ted takes them underground to Sanctuary.
The Fortress, capital of Nu-World...Lightwave and Alex Ultron disagree over Val Richards. Lightwave wants to abduct her. Ultron does not. Ultron leaves. Lightwave says they have Ben Grimm. The others will come for him.
Holding cell...Ben wakes up to find Jr. in the cell beside his. He became a prisoner because he asked the wrong questions.
The Wheel, center of Nu-World...Ted is telling Franklin and Val that the portal is broken. They can not return home. Val is questioning him about the problem. He does not have a power source for it. Val produces a power cell from her backpack.
Outside...Johnny and Alyssa are breaking into the fortress. Natalie X senses them.
The Wheel...Ted switches the power on. Now he needs the calculations done. Originally, he had 100 scientists do them. He was hoping Reed would do them. Val says she will do them if Ted promises not to tell anyone she is already smarter than her dad. Ted tells her that he has to stay behind when they return home. He has to make continual adjustments to keep them from being pulled into the black hole. Franklin shares a sandwich with him.
The Fortress...as Johnny frees Ben, Alyssa is killed by Psionics. Psionics tells them that they plan to use Val to fix the portal. Then they will go to Earth and take over. Banner Jr. kills her with one punch. He is staying behind to finish his business with Lightwave.
Later, back home...Sue is tucking Franklin in to bed. Franklin wonders if they will ever get to see the ones who stayed behind. Sue answers that is the best thing about their family. You never know what is going to happen next.
The Good: I was very worried when I saw that Dale Eaglesham was not drawing this issue. Fortunately, Neil Edwards and Andrew Currie did a great job filling in. I am not familiar with his work but I will be looking for his name in the future. I want to see him with a regular penciling job on a book. He looks to be influenced by Alan Davis.
Edwards is very good with special effects and action. The angles of the panels implies the high degree of action in the story.
Hickman knows the Fantastic Four. It almost seems like he has been writing the book for years.
Hickman's dialogue is natural sounding. I enjoy seeing Ben and Johnny tormenting each other while their actions show how much they care for each other. Ben is single-handedly holding off the forces of Ultron as he reminds Johnny about being the worst travel agent ever. This trip was supposed to be a vacation for Ben and Johnny.
It was surprising to see that eight years had passed on Nu-World. Hickman's explanation of the sun collapsing into a black hole was solid. Science fiction has theorized that the increased gravity would affect the flow of time. This book should reflect ideas from the science fiction field.
Hickman is not afraid to change things. In this "change of pace" story, he makes major changes to Nu-World. The deaths of Alyssa and Psionics were surprising. Many authors are not willing to take changes and kill characters. I don't want to see it happening all of the time but the occasional death is expected in the world the FF inhabit.
I fully expect to see this storyline continued in the future. Hickman sets up things with the people going through the black hole and the effect of Alex Ultron's schemes. I will be disappointed if this is not explored.
The Bad: The art was very good but lacked some consistency. The faces, particularly Johnny's, varied during the story. During the break in, Johnny's face looked off.
Overall: Fantastic Four #573 is yet another reason to believe Hickman's run on this title will be a great one. I can not wait to get my hands on future issues.