By Ben Morse
Marvel’s First Family will lose a key member this October when writer Jonathan Hickman departs FANTASTIC FOUR and FF with issues #611 and #23 respectively. This will conclude a three-year run by the writer that began with 2009’s FANTASTIC FOUR #570.
In collaboration with artists like Dale Eaglesham, Steve Epting, Barry Kitson and more, Hickman introduced an intra-dimensional cabal of Reed Richards analogs, took The Human Torch to death and back, brought Spider-Man into the fold and founded the Future Foundation—leading to the FF title—among other impressive world-building accomplishments that will leave an indelible mark on the entire Marvel Universe, not just the Fantastic Four.
“Favorite story moments would be the creation of [Wizard clone] Bentley, writing the kids in general, [and] the Council of Reeds stuff was great fun,” reflects Hickman. “Probably the thing I’m most proud of was that people were reading and talking about the book again.”
Hickman’s tenure elevated the FF to a profile and popularity that got the notice of the industry and fandom to the point where two ongoing series starring the extended cast he established flourished. He re-energized elements of the mythos from Galactus to Atlantis to the Inhumans and more, as well as finding new roles for classic characters like Doctor Doom and the Celestials. All this and more will factor into his final stories as he brings his larger arc to a grand conclusion.
“Generally speaking, all the FF ‘world’ elements I’ve been playing with will get revisited [and reused],” he teases.
Well-known for his long-term planning, Hickman confirms that the conclusion of the current “Forever” story plays out the endgame he always had in mind for the FF, though circumstances along the way and still to come played into the length of his stay on the titles and its ultimate finale.
“I always had an end point in mind, but along the way I really fell in love with writing Marvel’s First Family and I also had all these dangling bits to clean up, so I agreed—[and] wanted—to stay on,” explains the writer. “Then all the gears started turning on all the [Avengers Vs. X-Men] stuff and what comes after and it just became obvious that October would be a good time to hop off.”
While fans and history will decide Hickman’s legacy within the Fantastic Four pantheon, the writer stands proud of his work and excited for the future:
“Personally, I just hope that I continue to evolve as a creator—that FF was better than the things I wrote before [it], and that what I write after FF will be the best thing I’ve done. We’ll see.”