The milestone 600th issue of Fantastic Four clocks in at 100 pages and has a price tag of $5.99. Is it worth the money? Yes, but it’s also a bit of a disappointment.
Anyone following Fantastic Four (and Future Foundation) since the Hickman run started knows that a lot of the epic plot threads he’s been weaving have started to pay off in recent issues. We’ve seen the return of the Black Bolt-led Inhumans, the “death” of Johnny Storm, Franklin starting to use his powers again, the ongoing saga of the alternate Reed Richards, and the return of the Kree Supreme Intelligence, among other things. Hickman has masterfully juggled all of those storylines over the course of his run, always moving at a quick pace, but never glossing over the details. It’s because of how good he’s been that I felt let down by issue #600. Even at a 100 pages, the issue feels like it’s trying to do too much, too fast, and there is a lot of story left on the table in service of setting up the two series that are coming out of this issue (FF and Fantastic Four).
I won’t spoil all the details, but the main gist is that earth is once again on the brink of extinction, and the Fantastic Four and friends are right in the middle of it. The last alternate Reed, the Kree and the forces of Annihilus are among the threats that the gang faces, and sadly none of them really get the attention they deserve in this issue.
There are five stories featured in its 100 pages, all written by Hickman and drawn by different artists. Steve Epting and Carmine Di Giandomenico handle the art on the first two stories, which are the longest in terms of page count. The other three stories are basically backups, and that’s where things kind of fell apart for me. There are some major plot issues being dealt with in those backups, and they just aren’t given enough pages to do them justice.
All in all, the issue starts out feeling like an epic, and then runs out of room and has to gloss over some pretty big details. It's definitely a must-read for Fantastic Four fans though, as it lays the groundwork for both series moving forward.
3.5 out of 5 Give the Inhumans Their Own Ongoing Series, For Crying Out Louds