Yeah, I’d agree - though it only really comes together at FF #600 which is some way along, wouldn’t be surprised if some never made it to that point.
For me, the first third of Hickman’s run on FF was rough sledding. (There were a few issues were it seemed he ran out of space and finished the story in a text piece at the end.) He was setting up so much that I think characterization got a little bit lost. After that, everything started clicking for me.
I think one of Hickman’s challenges as a writer is that he has such huge ideas with incredible payoffs and because of that, he set-up can be a bit ponderous and making the story feel slow in moving. It is also hard to get all the pieces established within the confines of 20 pages of actual story per issue.
I would for Hickman to write novels. I think he could give George RR Martin a serious run for his money.
Interesting. I actually felt like the first third was some of the strongest material, and that it sagged in the middle. That opening arc on the main Fantastic Four book, that introduces the council of reeds and all, I’d put that is the single best arc of the run (with the single best issue being the epilogue with Franklin, etc).
All of that’s good stuff, but that Forever arc that #600 kicks off is, for me, where it all comes together and you see why all the elements had to be in place.
What’s even better is after that Hickman doesn’t try to one-up it, instead opting for quieter follow-through on the plots to tie up the run.
Definitely that was a really nice moment and climax, the 600 stuff; but I felt like a lot of the denouments disappointed me. The resolution of the Council stuff, the resolution of the Celestial stuff, etc. It was always the small stories that echoed previous issues or resolved a character arc, rather than a plot point, where Hickman’s stuff shined. Johnny’s escape, Franklin’s destiny, Mr. Fantastic choosing his family after the first arc, etc. (I’ll agree, fully, that the ‘notes at the end’ arc, with Valeria taking notes, didn’t work out).
That’s the problem with the big build – you invest so much in it, that sticking is so, so important. It’s a scary proposition. I felt the same about his Avengers run – the conclusion of Secret Wars was great, but the conclusion of the actual Avengers runs was deeply unsatisfying. And Secret Wars worked because it traded on that Doom/Richards character arc/dynamic. Plot wise it was silly (but, again, worked really well)
I never got there. I enjoyed his Dark Reign opener (even if it did regress Reed’s character), but after that the character got lost for me and I wasn’t a fan of the art and it was going nowhere fast.
I keep meaning to go back to it, but I really can’t be bothered.
See, I thought the Dark Reign thing was probably the weakest thing he did with the group, outside of a few one offs later (one homage to Fantastic Voyage which was truly mediocre)
Otherwise a great run - and, actually, my favorite fantastic four run of all time, right next to Walt Simonson’s brief stint.
I’m pretty sure that not mentioning the Lee/Kirby or Byrne runs means that some would consider you a heretic.
Haha, a foolish oversight, because it’s almost assumed, I think.
I don’t believe they had defining runs on every character they created, but FF was my personal favorite of their collabs.
Since this is the DC thread, I suppose I should insert some mandatory complaining about when DC redrew Kirby’s heads for Superman. So here goes.
Booooooo! DC suck for ruining Jack Kirby’s work. How would Superman feel about that if he was real? Poor show, DC.
Secret Wars really did work far better than I expected and was a great cap-off to Hickman’s Marvel work. Now, if they’d just get around to finishing SHIELD…
And yes, the bigger the arcs, the bigger the pay-off, with it ratcheting up the bigger you go - I’d say Hickman nailed it on both FF and Secret Wars.
On the other hand, DC paid Kirby more for creating the New Gods than Marvel did for creating their whole universe.
But yes, Kirby was horribly mistreated at almost every turn. So sad that he made more bank with Captain Victory than Thor, Hulk, the X Men, and the Avengers.
WOW. I didn’t know that. That really says a lot.
Did you ever read the Joe Casey Captain Victory? The mix of artists was so great. Every issue was like an awesome jam session. Grant Morrison’s best work in years.
Secret Wars yes, but again it’s because the climax was all character based, and carried over from his Fantastic Four stuff.
And maybe we just disagree on this, but his ‘payoffs’ on Fantastic Four only REALLY worked for me when they were the color arc payoffs. The plots just seemed to…end.
Anyway, I love Hickman’s stuff. Even when it’s not it’s best, it’s got strong ideas and wonderfully epic execution.
I think the real unsung gem in his ouevre is his Ultimates run.
Hmm, I wouldn’t say we are disagreeing much, if at all, as I really liked that Hickman did those quiter tales too. What did you mean by ‘color arc payoffs’?
Secret Wars does indeed pick up a lot of FF, did he really plan it out that far ahead? That’ll be debated for years, though I wouldn’t put it past Hickman to have really good improvisation ability to equal his planning. Avengers is the bridge from FF to SW, but also runs a good few characters into the ground in the process.
As to Ultimates - such a shame we only got 9 issues because the ones we got were great.
Jesus, I’m talking to an artist about picking a colorist and it’s invaded this discussion! Sorry Ben, I meant CHARACTER ARC payoffs.
What I’m saying is, the way the celestials stuff wrapped up I didn’t think was particularly clever. I didn’t think how the council stuff wrapped was clever either. SHIELD vol 1 just sort of ends. Avengers and New Avengers just end in a big bomb. Manhattan Projects just kind of ends in various absurdities.
What I find strong is when Franklin embraces his creativity; when Reed chooses family over greatness (which had only been set up over the course of that three issue arc, really); when Johnny grows up and escapes his captors by becoming a leader; when Bently kicks his genetic father in the face.
Those aren’t really plot payoffs. None of them really wrap up the stories that Hickman was telling, plot wise. They reinforce character, and wrap up some loose character arcs he had been building. Oddly, they’re sort of off set from the actual plot resolutions (with the exception of Secret Wars). They are separate entities. But those are the ones that I find most impressive and most satisfying.
Hickman is often praised for the way that his stuff slides together like a machine; while there are a lot of moving plots and subplots, I haven’t found the resolutions to be quite so clockwork as, say, a Moore, is what I’m saying, or a Morrison when he’s on.
I agree. I asked about it in the AMA here. He said New 52 really took away its thunder.
I started but got lost in the delays. So much love for Nathan fox; hoping to see him at an event soon here in NYC