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Alegretto said on March 21st, 2012 at 10:01 am

Agreed. No Dr. Doom has ever resonated with me as well as Hickman’s has and Doom’s portrayal, to me, is already half of what constitutes a good FF run.

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I would say Hickamn’s take on Doom automatically catapults it past Waid’s run; if Byrne made Doom too noble (and I’m taking people’s word on that as I haven’t read it myself; indeed this is the first time I’ve really payed attention to the FF outside of Waid’s run, though I plan on reading the original Stan and Jack soon), Waid went cartoonishly far in the other direction, probably in response to that interpretation of him. Hickman’s strikes the right balance, and his relationship with Valeria (which is basically the classic “kid connects with black sheep uncle who does some bad shit but genuinely cares about her”), and the tension between how much influence he may or may not have on her versus Reed is one of my favorite things about the book. Valeria is a character I really want to see grow up and come into her own, because she’s going to surpass both her father and her godfather when she does (Reed knows it, and I am convinced, even if it’s never explicitly stated, that Doom knows it too).

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Well, as long as I’m nitpicking, the run hasn’t given a lot for Sue and Ben to do. And Black Bolt’s harem still seems a little odd to me, after decades of him being portrayed as a dedicated husband.

But that is just nitpicking, especially when you consider the sheer scope of the story being told. On the last podcast of House to Astonish, Al mentioned that one of the detracting points of the Marvel U at the moment is that, at some point, it stopped telling multiple stories in a shared universe and switched to just telling one story, the big crossover, and everything just spun its wheels or lost its own momentum when the next one came along.

Hickman’s FF would be an exception to that, because it’s been building its own story for a long, long time. It’s not an easy sell because it’s hard to get into, and a lot of issues are setting up future ones rather than telling their own story, but it’s definitely one of the more epic scale stories to come from Marvel as of late.

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Sue’s done plenty, I’d say, between becoming diplomat to Atlantis and the Three Cities, or whatever her specific title was, I can’t remember off the top of my head.

And speaking of Black bolt, I like how Hickman’s been making use of a lot of Cosmic marvel, even picking up threads left bay Abnett and Lanning on their titles.

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Footnote three was the main surprise of issue 600. “Oh, he actually died before coming back. Good on ya.”

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Byrne made Doom … Noble ? ARE YOU KIDDING ME ? Or we really have a different definition of noble !
The guy who conveniently got rid of one of his scientists ,knowing full well that said scientist held a grudge against Victor for killing his brother, by frying the dude to dust instead of , you know,arrest or exile him. This is the same bastard that freed Terrax in New York & contemplated him beating Johnny & Ben , but decided to cancel said plan because Reed was absent therefore could not be properly humiliated, & I’m not even talking about the colatteral damage his ideas callously caused …
So Chris, I don’t know where you’re getting this “Byrne ‘s Doom is noble ” idea but it does not ring right when you look at what he ACTUALLY does . Byrne said that, but his Doom is still malevolent & vain…
To be fair, Victor was always a megalomaniacal jerkass (while the Waid’s take turned most people off because it’s the ugly truth about him, he always enjoyed the idea of making the life the F4 lives a living hell .) It’s just his prestance, love for his country (& momma) and charismatic diction that eased it off and made him likeable. For me , & this is my personnal experience with the character , he represents an unquenchable thirst of achieving perfection while maintaining a regal self-assured facade that allows him to reasonably & meticulously think about his plans .But his pettiness, & blaming others for his most personal failings is what makes him relatable (yep , we ARE horribly flawed, people! So it depends on how we’ll try to improve that or not …). Hickman’s is just okay for now, so I’ll wait until he bites in the ass & HOW he’ll do that .

As for Hickman’s being Morrison-lite… Nope
Hickman did not , to his credit, turn Sue into Paris Hilton’s long lost sister or made Valeria rip out the Wizard’s heart with Reed barely acknowledging it, He managed to give subtle characterization & likeability to nearly everyone. My only pet peeves are , WHY didn’t Reed get rid of Kid Annihilus immediately with the nullifier & … is it safe to let the kids that close to Doom? Because I would not really let a Belphegor clad dude with the combined egos of Daffy Duck (especially the Freleng one , when he’s borderline psychopathic ) & Wile E Coyote approach my kids …

http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d4pu7q6
(Yep, I am a horrible attention whore , but you know what they say “la fortune sourit aux audacieux ” )

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@Rbx5: I stand corrected. I’d forgotten that they’d set that up.

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I’m going to have read this whole run in collected format. Saying it trumps the Byrne run kind of blows my mind becasue I don’t think anyone since Byrne has been able to make FF as fun (though Waid tried, God Bless him).

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William O'Brien said on March 21st, 2012 at 5:08 pm

The team’s reaction to Johnny’s return in #601 was one of the best moments I can think of in a recent Marvel title.

My only real problem with the run is that it got really slow in a few parts. For example, there really didn’t need to be two issues that explain how Black Bolt is back from the dead.

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Having read everything prior to FF#1 via trades, and reading everything after in singles, it becomes increasingly obvious that Hickman pretty much had this entire dense, interesting story plotted out pretty much from the start. Not a thing went into any issue that hasn’t been built upon and meant something.

I don’t have the brains to think in that direction myself, but I envy the ability to do so.

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Great doesn’t necessarily equal good. I like the fact that Doom is capable of some enormous gestures, and staggering acts of nobility along with his temper-tantrums and turns of utter selfishness–

But there’s a reason why in the old vs. card game, his defining event card was called “Nasty Surprise.”

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…Which is to say: You’re right… and wrong. I felt John Byrne’s Doom was both noble AND a clever bastard. And the sort of guy who’d take off his mask in front of the Purple Man in a superb writing example of the dividing line between an a-list villain and a really powerful bench warmer.

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…Sorry. That was Dave Michelinie.

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@Austin Clark : Now that you mentionned Emperor Doom, I suspect Victor to have a face looking like a Basil Wolverton picture in addition to his burnt flesh underneath that mask.

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The WaidRingo run is still the standard I judge all FF creators against, but Hickman’s is at worst a solid second to it.

I agree that the way he brought Johnny back was genius, and “Here, hold my Annihilus” is the best line of any comic I have read in quite a while.

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Don’t forget that Byrne didn’t get the chance to finish his run on his own terms. I seem to remember Shooter pushing him off the title (was he working on FF at the same time as revamping Superman? I think so). There were any number of slow-cooking plot threads left unfinished — Doom’s situation for one.

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I, for one, am hoping for a Valeria Richards/Bentley 23 spin-off miniseries. Guest-starring Kid Loki.

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Michael P said on March 22nd, 2012 at 10:24 am

I’ve questioned Doom’s nobility, even in Byrne’s intent as writer, for years now. Remember, this is the guy who almost killed his ward for suggesting that he might have an equal. And then arranged for that ward to be brainwashed into a copy of him in the event he ever died, so he could get one last shot at killing the guy who had the audacity to correct his math twenty years ago.

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William Kendall said on March 22nd, 2012 at 11:32 am

I love Hickman’s run. It’s been magnificent. I wondered at first if my good impression was based in part on the fact that it was so much better then the dreck Millar had written before it, but Hickman has really gone all out with the book. My fear is that when he’s gone, someone like Loeb will come in and make a disaster of everything.

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I’m slowly working through the pre-Future Foundation stuff (I’m always behind), but what I really love about Hickman’s run is that it evokes a real sense of adventure in every issue. You can really feel Reed’s roots as a Jules Verne/square jawed 50’s b-movie science hero (I do think the art goes a little too far in making Reed literally square-jawed and broad shouldered, but that’s admittedly a nit-pick).

I think that nicely contrasts with the Waid/Ringo run that was all about the family dynamics of the Fantastic Four, and Ringo’s more cartoony approach.

I agree, it’s awesome stuff (and I hope we can avoid the Doom talk. There was a long thread Waid’s treatment of Doom in his run in an earlier post, let’s just agree to disagree).

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Hickman’s run is also further proof that, while Mark Millar’s run never came close to greatness as a whole, his development of Valeria is one of the best creative decisions made with regard to the property in a very long time.

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I am hoping that when Hickman leaves the book, Marvel comes to it’s senses and lets Slott take a crack at it. Going by his Spider-Man/Human Torch mini and his work with the FF in ASM, he clearly knows how to write these characters well.

Though it will be hard to top what Hickman has done with this book because it is seriously epic.

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I couldn’t disagree me.

It seemed to me, especially with the big wrap up, that it was the FF just being told by Val, Nathaniel, or Future Franklin where to go, and what to do when they got there. And then watch others do stuff in the end.

And Val, Nathaniel, and Future Franklin didn’t have any insight…they seemed to just have Hickman’s script.

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I gotta agree with the others about Byrne’s Doom. It wasn’t that Byrne wrote him as noble when he was really a clever bastard, it was that Byrne wrote him as a clever bastard who thought he was being noble. Byrne’s Doom was filled with self-justifications for his petty tyrannies, but that doesn’t mean Byrne didn’t put them there.

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