'Three's' Company: Four-War may leave one gone from Four

  THE BREWER REPORT: 'Three’s’ company Four-War may leave one gone from Four   By Byron Brewer Fantastic Four #583 Let’s be realistic if nothing else: Marvel is not about to kill off a single member of its flagship book, Fantastic Four. We all know that, right? Right? That said, I still believe we are in for a great bit of high drama and cosmic clobberin’ as writer Jonathan Hickman and new regular (I hope) artist Steve Epting (Captain America, The Marvels Project) get into high gear with the meat of the War of the Four Cities storyline, an arc controversially called “Three.” Personally, I had hoped our four imaginauts had seen the end of such member separations as one or more go their separate way(s) or “dies” a Cap death (although I did enjoy both Medusa’s and She-Hulk’s stints on the Fantastic Four in the past). Still, as those one-and-dones of Hickman begin to reap their fruit – we have already seen the Universal Inhumans have at it with an Annihilus cult in the Negative Zone – and Epting hops aboard for “Three” in Fantastic Four #583-588, I think they will be bringing in the kind of action that has been missing from the World’s Greatest Comic (Cosmic?) Magazine as they build to a monumental 600th issue! Fantastic Four #583 As the writer explained in a CBR interview, the background for “Three” will indeed be the War of Four Cities first hinted at when a future Franklin visited Val Richards. “I went out of my way to establish that there were these four cities and they were reflective of characters that we felt like we couldn’t use yet because of goings-on in Annihilation, Dark Reign, War of Kings and on …,” Hickman said. “We set up a structure to reintroduce those elements, and all of that is going well, but there are other independent pieces at play as well; specifically, the Council of Reeds, (whom) I introduced in my first arc.” What Hickman means is that everything that has gone before, including Nu-World and the Baxter Building’s new arrivals, is important and will come into play in “Three.” But will a Fantastic Four family member really die, as Marvel has promised? Or just depart? We know Ben Grimm is slated to become one of the New Avengers this month. Is that what all this hoopla is about: Ben’s trip across town to Bendis-World? Most likely not. Fantastic Four #583 To a question in an IGN interview phrased, “The description (the interviewer) was given for this epic says that ‘one of the FF will be breathing their last’ by the end; should the readers take that to be as clear-cut as it sounds?” Hickman responded: “Yeah, sure. Absolutely.” I still ain’t buying it, unless he is referring to Franklin or Val perhaps? Meanwhile, Hickman said he is more than happy to be making this journey into the exciting world of Lee and Kirby with Epting. Even Doc Doom is expected back for the rocket ride! “One of the nice things is, Steve and I live rather close to each other,” Hickman told CBR. “So before we got started on the book, we went out to dinner and talked about where the book has been headed and where we both want it to go. I think there’s a synergy here that may have been missing on the book and I’m pretty stoked that he’s here.” Fantastic Four #583 As Hickman on his phenomenal run so far has purely made FF the cosmic book it was born to be (right from Issue #1), how does Epting feel as he enters this environment? “It’s always a good idea to challenge yourself as an artist as well and move outside of your comfort zone,” he told Newsarama. “That’s not to say that I’ve never drawn any sci-fi stuff, since it was a part of my run on Avengers as well as Crux at Crossgen, but the FF takes it to a whole different level.” Aside from confirming Marvel’s promise that, at the end of the storyline’s epic War of Four Cities, “one member of the Fantastic Four will have breathed their last,” Hickman said in a Marvel.com interview “Three” will feature “the return of Doom, Galactus and the Council of Reeds … For now, the war is going to stay confined to Four’s little corner of the Marvel Universe. I wouldn’t plan on it staying that way, though.” On behalf of Marvel Cosmic fans everywhere – with or without an FF member’s demise – no better words could have been spoken! “Three” begins in Fantastic Fourin September!