There is a heartfelt feeling, a big fuzzy to Jonathan Hickman’s adventure of the Fantastic Four in issue #606, and I really wanted – being from the Stan and Jack era – to enjoy this sentiment.
Unfortunately, the bane of his usual storytelling – the plodding, the unneeded exposition, the verbal veil sewn to hide a “surprise” – is back as sure as you can find talking heads in a Bendis script.
Oh, there are nice moments in this issue and I really appreciate that Hickman is trying for these “family” stories for long-time readers, stories he can point to later and say, “See, I really knew these characters, their voices.” And he does.
But that is not what #606 delivers.
From the beginning and a feeling of reading DC’s Red Lanterns title instead of F4 (hold down those tones please, Jason Keith) through the subtlety of the exploration, a reader can but hold his breath and bide his time.
Now artwise, Ron Garney’s Fantastic Four is spot-on. These people look like adults who are engaged in the exploration of the fantastic, and (in the vein of the late Gene Colan) these folks look real and ready to go.
This is not a bad issue; I just felt it could’ve been more. Hickman always has a great payoff, and that is no different here. But it sometimes feels like you are waiting your turn in the dentist’s office to get to it.