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Review of Fantastic Four 554 (4 stars) February 25, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Time: a little over a hundred years ago. The place: the Old West. The characters: a family of travelers. The problem: being chased by Indians. For those who haven’t read this issue yet, I’m not describing a scene from a Little House on the Prairie rerun, I’m describing the opening scene of this issue, and a good one at that, even if it only lasts three pages. After a quick time jump back home causes Ben to get ejected from the “time sled,” we get a comical scene with the Human Torch. This small scene (in which Johnny describes his plans for the future), give us a great quick look into Millar’s/Hitch’s style. In this small scene Millar establishes the characterization of all four, and shows us he understands their characters. Likewise, Hitch gives us pretty good renditions of the characters, except for Johnny. While Hitch does seem to be a pretty good artist, I really can’t say I liked how Johnny looked: he looked too old, he had a big nose, and his hair looked wrong. Thankfully he didn’t appear much in this issue, so maybe Hitch has got another month to improve him.

This is followed by another comical scene at Ben’s old school (literally, not figuratively). I love the conversation that goes on between the two women in the office. One sounds like a giddy preteen girl because Mr. Fantastic is coming, and is getting all made up for the superheroes, and the other one is being mature about it. Following a “fun” lecture from Reed (have to admit, the looks on the faces of the children that Hitch drew were priceless!) we see some poetic justice. Ben asks the mature teacher out on a date, and the giggly teacher is no where to be seen. Nice.

Cut to yet another comical scene at the would-be normal looking Richards residence (if you of course ignore the servant Doombots and giant green lady sitting on the couch). This particular scene, while not necessarily relevant nor spectacular, gives us a brief look at what at-home-life means for world famous superheroes. (Did I mention I loved the way Hitch draws Sue?) In this case they aren’t interrupted by a phone ringing, or a knock at the door, but by yet another woman teleporting into the room. It’s the little bits like this that make Millar writing have a “real” feel to it (well, as real as any superhero story can feel). So after Reed leaves with the aforementioned woman to once again help save the world, we get a comment from Ben about the looks of said woman and a priceless response from Sue (and also wordless).

The issue concludes with Slartibartfast taking Arthur to Earth Mark Two and ….. wait, what? *whisper whisper whisper* Ah yes! I wondered why Arthur had abandoned his bathrobe for a FF uniform. Excuse me, the characters decide to reenact the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in which Reed plays the part of Arthur, Dr. Castle plays the part of Slartibartfast, and Nu-World plays the part of Earth Mark Two. Where are the mice I wonder? (Perhaps is prison 42, which is of course the answer to life, the universe, and everything?) So aside from some possible copyright infringements, it was a pretty good ending, definitely leaving me waiting for the next issue.

In seriousness though, does anyone else think this “Earth Trust” group seems a little dodgy? My theory: they are constructing a new Earth, simply so that they can cause a mock disaster, which everything will think causes the end of the old Earth, and so that they can start their own government on the “nu” Earth and rule over all humanity. The mastermind behind this evil plot? Why, Dr. Doom, of course.

So, all in all, this issue had me laughing, enjoying the characters, getting in to the story, and theorizing. Definitely a great issue, I would highly recommend it, as the Millar/Hitch run looks to be, erm, fantastic! Also a great jumping on point for noobs! So no excuse, go pick this up!

Please leave comments!




1. dylan555 - February 25, 2008

I really enjoyed this. It looks like one of the most interesting stabs at the team since Walt Simonson took over the art after John Byrne’s run in the 80s. I think that was the last time we saw the Time Sled too!

2. lotrking - February 25, 2008

I know, FF could quickly become my favorite if the Millar/Hitch run is as good as it looks to be.


3. Review of Fantastic Four 557 (4.5 stars) « LOTRKing’s Comics Reviews and Other Random Stuff - May 20, 2008

[…] piece of art as we see a full page view of Reed’s Anti-Galactus suit (so cleverly foreshadowed in FF 554). As a side note, I love Reed’s reason for the similar look to Galactus (“it looks cool”). […]

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