Friday, 26 October 2012

Review - FF #23: Run

And so the time has come. Issue 23 of FF was released yesterday (Wednesday) which saw the end of Jonathan Hickman's 3 year run (or, in truth, it could have been more) of guiding Marvel's First Family through some crazy adventures through two books and as this second run ends, all I can say is "Boy what an end".
For reasons that don't make sense, I was expecting a big loud action packed issue, but what was given was something better; a small intimate tale about Franklin Richards, both old and new. Running concurrently with Fantastic Four #611, the time has come for Franklin and Val to leave and while Val does her thing in the pages of the sister book, Franklin stays behind to spend just a little more time with his younger self and teach him just a last few nuggets of advice regarding the amazing powers which were returned to him during this run. Once this is done, older Franklin goes about saying goodbye to all the family members (his parents, uncles and even little Val) before departing their lives for good.
I read this book twice, and despite thinking very little of it first time round, I've realised that that was a grave mistake on my part during the second pass at it. This story is just a beautiful epilogue which emits such emotion between the members of the first family, especially between older Franklin and the other characters, who makes clear the love he realised he has for every single one of them, knowledge he did not know of when he was younger. As Hickman, mentions in his letter at the back, his entire run has been about love within a family. This is what I've enjoyed about this run in general and this issue in particular; despite the fights, the differences in personalities and (in the FF's case) the unbelievably outrageous adventures, they are a family who always has each others back.
The art in here just makes a good book better. I'm not normally a fan of Nick Dragotta, but here he's used a very clean, simple style which just works perfectly for no other reason than that it just does. The panels are so clear and give a feeling of bittersweetness which the story eventually gives, except for those set in Franklin's pocket universe, where you know that Hickman let Dragotta off the leash and told him to go nuts. Those are zany, outlandish and and just totally insane, but they show you the range of Dragotta's talent and gives a clue to the premise of the book in a nutshell, This is a book that has crazy ideas.
And so it's over. Jonathan Hickman has completed his stewardship over the Baxter Building and he's done it with a gorgeous, elegant epilogue. The run as a whole hasn't been perfect but it's been one hell of a ride and when all is said and done, it allows me to throw down the gauntlet to new writer Matt Fraction and his artists by saying "You've seen what's come before you Mr Fraction, so show us what you got!!!"

No comments:

Post a Comment