Review: FF #3

Published on May 17th, 2011

What happens when one of the smartest guys in the Marvel Universe becomes evil and self serving? What makes Reed Richards the man we know in the Marvel 616 and how would he change if he lost, or never had, his sense of family and honor and replaced it with cold facts and numbers. This seems to be one of the theme’s running through FF #3 by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting. I am sure you are wondering, Did Hickman and Epting continue to maintain a great book or is it time for a change? Read on to find out.

ff3“Whatever happened to all those Reeds?” This is the question posed when you open FF #3. If you have been following FF by Hickman, and Fantastic Four before that, then you know that at one point Reed opened up a portal to a place where all the other Reeds from other universes have been working together trying to solve varying problems. He agreed to help them but found that what made them different was that they all turned their back on there families. He discovered what made him unique was his strong honor and love for his family and therefore decided against joining the council. We all assumed that was the end of  the Reeds, until we find out that Val has a dirty little secret that is about to become dire for everyone in our universe.

As we open this issue, we see Hickman’s clever writing on full display as he takes us to various villains with an invitation to the Baxter Building being hosted by Doom. Interesting hook, right?  Well it gets even more so when we find out that the subject of this specific meeting is, and I quote, ” Conquering The Mount Fantastic, How to finally defeat Reed Richards.” Once the bevy of villainous minds adjourn to this meeting, we find out the secret that Val has had for so long and in turn, has requested Doom’s help for. We also have a priceless moment when a Watcher shows up and Reed turns to Val and simply states, “The Watcher… What have you done Valeria?” I don’t know why I find that so funny, but I guess if you have a child and The Watcher shows up as he or she explains the mistake they made, you know you better call in the big guns. Val then explains that she ventured into the Reed Council once and allowed a few of the other Reeds to come through. Once through, they tell her that their worlds are dying and they have to come up with a plan to save them no matter what the cost. We learn ultimately that Doom is to head this onslaught on the other Reeds to the behest of our Reed.

The rest of the book follows the other Reeds and the various shady plans they have to destroy our world in order to save all of theirs. They explain that the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few. The interesting thing Hickman has done with FF is weave former story threads with the current story arc. It is as if he has some large lavish plan and I can’t wait to see that plan unfold. We are left with a classic cliffhanger as one of the Reeds makes a deal with Annihilus to leave the negative zone open for his armies to invade in exchange for their use of the negative zone.

FF has brought so much change to the regular Fantastic Four formula. I was never a big fan of the pre -Mark Millar run of the Fantastic Four and honestly felt I would not last this long following Marvel’s first family. Hickman’s deep story telling and growth of both the team and characters are something that the old Fantastic Four needed badly and the welcomed look of Epting’s work only adds the this epic storyline.

Final Verdict: For the longest time Marvel’s first family was stuck in a formulaic pattern. Hickman not only breaks the team’s 4 person pattern up but gives you the possibility to explore a large reaching team dynamic on the level of an X-men book, put simply : FF is not only one the most creative team books but is also becoming one of my favorite books period!

Sheldon Lee