Fantastic Four #588 is emotionally powerful, visually gripping, and a definite must read. Dealing with the aftermath of the Human Torch’s death, this heart wrenching tale is everything the last issue wasn’t for me. With no dialogue until the final page, the story still conveys so much about these characters and their supporting cast. Plus, it has the best Hulk versus The Thing battle ever. You have to read to find out why! Jonathan Hickman has written in a single issue, a story that sets a new bar for graphic storytelling.
Fantastic Four #587 felt, to this reviewer, like a wild convergence of multiple plotlines that would have been confusing for a new reader to pick up. Ultimately, this detracted from the impact of Johnny Storm’s demise. Given the media hype surrounding the issue, it seems a pity that a ‘first read’ comic for so many needed such back-story knowledge. The latest issue manages to be what #587 wasn’t: You don’t need to have read anything prior to sympathize with Sue’s pain, or to understand The Thing’s anger at being powerless in the face of such a tragedy. Issue #588 perfectly conveys the real draw of the Fantastic Four. The team might have super-powers, but they are a family first and foremost, and everyone can relate to those experiences.
Jonathon Hickman lets Nick Dragotta’s art speak for itself. The pages are so dramatically powerful without any dialogue; as naked and raw as the emotions that the characters are facing. There is also heart warming back-up story by Hickman with artist Mark Brooks that nicely sets up Spider-Man’s coming addition to the team. As the web-crawler tries to help Franklin cope with his loss and sense of responsibility for his uncle’s death, the comic ends on a sweet and touching note.