Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, is dead. He sacrificed himself at the end of last month’s Fantastic Four #587, staying behind to close a portal to the Negative Zone and to make a final stand against the Annihilation Wave. In Fantastic Four #588 (or the Final Issue) we get one last look at the Fantastic Four and a ‘Month of Mourning’.

This book is sad, there is no other way to say it. We bear witness to the surviving members of the Fantastic Four as they mourn Johnny. The book is almost entirely free of dialogue, but Nick Dragotta’s art conveys the loss and sadness. The real story here are the character’s eyes, all throughout the issue the eyes are red, hurt, sad and angry.

In this issues we see Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) reviewing all the various threats to Earth slumped down in his chair as if to say he has given up. Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman) is shown early on wrapped in a forcefield to keep everyone at an arms length away followed later by the simple phrase “KILL ANNIHILUS.” written on a blackboard. Ben Grimm (the Thing), seems to have been hit hardest of all, decides he needs to have his pain and tears beat out of him. Who better to do this than the God of Thunder Thor and the Incredible Hulk? All are scenes that capture the emotions of Marvel’s first family.

This story is not only the end of the current Fantastic Four series, but the end of an era at Marvel. The Fantastic Four are Marvel’s oldest superhero team having made their debut in the 1961 Fantastic Four #1. Fret not their story isn’t over, as at the end of Fantastic Four #588 we are graced with a sneak peek into the new FF which stands for the Future Foundation and will tout Spider-Man as the fourth member of the team. The addition of Spider-man should be pretty cool, I can’t wait to check it out.

Speaking of Spider-man, there is a bit of an epilogue to this story. At the end of the book we are taken back to Day 14 of mourning, when our friendly neighborhood Spider-man paid a visit to the young Franklin Reed. Spidey takes Franklin out to lunch and takes the time to share with him his own experiences in losing a beloved uncle. This part of the story was great, it was heartfelt and real and even had a great little gag where Spidey had to bum a dollar off Franklin to pay for lunch. This was by far my favorite part of the story.

Make sure to pick up The Future Foundation or simply, FF #1 on stands March 2011.

Rating 9/10 (Johnny Storm will be missed)

Sneak Peak: FF#1 Cover