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Fantastic Four: Getting Away

The Thing and Human Torch set off to vacation in Nu Earth, but things don't go as planned

FANTASTIC FOUR #573 pencils by Neil Edwards
By Tim Stevens

Sometimes, you just need to get away from it all to gain perspective. But sometimes, no matter where you go, problems follow. Unfortunately for the Thing, this could not be truer on November 25 when FANTASTIC FOUR #573, written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Neil Edwards, hits stands.

As readers will recall the Human Torch has recently been planning to steal Ben away to Nu Earth and, as #573 arrives, they finally set off on that trip.

"I'm pretty sure [the Torch] just wants to show Ben a good time and take his mind off of whatever's bothering him-like when your buddy when he drags you off to a bar or something," Hickman says, explaining Johnny's motives.

Fans, however, should not expect a classic Johnny-Ben bonding story to unfold. Like the best laid plans often do, this one goes awry in a hurry.

"I'm a sucker for buddy stories, and any chance I get the opportunity to tell one, I'm happy to write it," the writer admits, "Saying that, this is not really what happens in the issue, so its not quite as Ben and Johnny-

FANTASTIC FOUR #573 pencils by Neil Edwards
centric as the setup would lead you to believe. It's actually more of an adventure story, but don't worry, we've got plenty of buddy stories to come!"

The most immediate sign that this trip has drifted off course comes in the form of two small stowaways: Sue and Reed Richards' son Franklin and daughter Valeria. The writer, however, does not see this as the bad thing Johnny might.

"How do Val and Franklin affect the story?" he wonders aloud. "In a good way; you can't have enough Frank and Val."

While the kids present a writing challenge given both their life experiences and particularly Valeria's advanced intelligence, Hickman feels perfectly comfortable portraying them on the page.

"When writing them, I treat them like they're normal kids living the coolest life possible," he notes. "And as for how smart Val is, she's still emotionally a child, so there are plenty of childlike things she does."

FANTASTIC FOUR #573 pencils by Neil Edwards
After coping with the unexpected hitchers, ol' Matchstick Head and Aunt Petunia's favorite nephew find Nu Earth to be a bit altered since they last saw it. Exactly how, though, remains something the writer keeps close to the vest.

"It's much different, but the why is the whole point of the story, so I'm afraid all I have is the dreaded: Read and find out!"

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