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Fantastic Four: Elementary Logic

Writer Jonathan Hickman talks about kicking off his second major story arc in FANTASTIC FOUR #575

FANTASTIC FOUR #575 preview art by Dale Eaglesham
By Marc Strom

Marvel's First Family return to some familiar grounds beginning in FANTASTIC FOUR #575 on January 27, as writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Dale Eaglesham kick off "Prime Elements" with the return of the Mole Man. According to the writer, some major changes in the subterranean king's status quo have resulted in his return to the surface world.

"Chaos in the underworld, upheaval in Subterranea; there's been a radical shift in the allegiance of the ever-growing numbers of Moloids that make up what is the Mole Man's kingdom," explains Hickman. "It's a threat that he doesn't know how to deal with-it's one he's not equipped to deal with-so he goes for help."

Beyond the Mole Man, "Prime Elements" will also see the Fantastic Four return to Atlantis and the Inhumans' former home on the dark side of the moon.

"[This arc] all grew out of the realization that most of the larger peripheral characters we normally see in the FF-Namor, Doom, Galactus, the Inhumans, etc.-were either in the middle of big story arcs in other books,

FANTASTIC FOUR #575 preview art by Dale Eaglesham
or [previous FANTASTIC FOUR writer] Mark Millar had just used them before I came on," says Hickman. "So, I wanted a way to visit all the concepts from a slightly new perspective and hopefully accomplish two things: One, add some fresh new ideas into these secondary worlds, and two, hopefully set myself up for a much bigger story with the primary elements later on. Solid in theory, and, good news, it feels like in application as well."

While Hickman admits he would like to revisit a number of other aspects of the Fabulous Foursome's history, he also has larger concerns moving forward.

"At this point I'm running out of real estate before we ramp up to the 50th anniversary and [issue] #600," notes the writer. "I'm honestly just wanting to get to the end of the first big act so I can accurately assess how things are going."

Like his first story arc on the title, "Solve Everything," "Prime Elements" won't feature a traditional antagonist, instead focusing more on the exploratory nature of the Fantastic Four.

FANTASTIC FOUR #575 preview art by Dale Eaglesham
"'Prime Elements' is even more helter skelter than the first arc," promises Hickman. "Actually, now that you bring it up, I'm trying to think when our first big antagonist piece is...still thinking...okay, ask me that again next time."

While "Solve Everything" focused heavily on Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic, Hickman will shift the spotlight around more in "Prime Elements."

"[Issues] #575-578 are all team adventures, but each issue kind of focuses on a single member: #575, Ben; #576, Sue; #577, Reed; #578, Johnny," he relates. "The rest of the arc is #579, [which will focus on] Reed and Val, [and] #580, Sue and Franklin. So, you know, sprinkling the love around."

In addition to the shifting emphasis on different characters, "Prime Elements" will also offer readers a tour of the strangest destinations in the Marvel Universe.

"[FANTASTIC FOUR] #575, as we already know, takes place underground; #576 takes place in Antarctica; #577 takes place on the Blue Area of the

FANTASTIC FOUR #575 cover by Alan Davis
Moon; #578 takes place in the Negative Zone. [Issues] #579 and #580 are all over the place, but we do hang out in a toy store for a bit and we pop back in on Nu-World as well. Big adventure and monthly insanity still available for $2.99-I dunno about you guys, but I'm having a blast. Make Mine Marvel."


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      Hickman is really great writer. Just look at what he has planned already. I'm sure the FF will shine under his leadership. And let's face it - Eaglesham's art is beautiful.