With the major Mad Celestials story arc coming to a close in ‘Fantastic Four’ #604, this issue serves as an epilogue to that story as well as a stand alone character-driven piece.
The opening page catches you up on all you need to know to enjoy this issue. It briefly described Nathaniel Richards time-travelling plan to come to the past and change a bleak future. It talks of Franklin Richards’ comment that he will watch the universe die someday. And, finally, it explains that Ben Grimm (The Thing) has a serum that allows him to become human for one week out of every year.
Now that you know what’s going on, we cut to the heart of the story. Reed Richards and his father Nathaniel are hopping into a time machine to see how the recent events have altered the future timeline. Nathaniel is extremely excited since, for once, he doesn’t know what to expect from the trip.
The father and son team stop every one thousand years to see how things have progressed. As they make their stops, a story within a story develops as we follow the possibly immortal Franklin and his uncle Ben, who only ages when he’s in his human form once a year. (If I did my math right, Ben ages about 20 years in every thousand.)
Through the ages, Ben becomes the rock (sorry… had to go there) of the story and holds it all together. In the end, Reed Richards realizes that, even though his friends may live for thousands of years, he won’t… and he makes some changes to ensure that he enjoys their company while he has the chance.
Jonathan Hickman has proven that he can write epic space-opera. Here he takes a go at an almost ‘Twilight Zone’ morality tale that might just be one of his best yet.
Next issue, we’ll get a fresh look at the origin of the Fantastic Four as Marvel provides new readers with another “point one” jumping-on issue in ‘Fantastic Four’ #605.1. I’ll see you back here next month with that review!
FANTASTIC FOUR #605
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Art by RON GARNEY
Cover by RON GARNEY, JASON KEITH, and MICHAEL KALUTA