Fantastic Four # 587
Four minus one equals three-a simple equation yet one that delivers frightful and unspeakable complications for Marvel's first family of super heroes, the Fantastic Four.
Next TUESDAY, in Fantastic Four # 587, Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting bring the War of Four Cities down around the ears of Marvel's world-famous team and pair their ranks down to a trio.
"Anyone that's ever lost a family member can tell you that surviving [and] moving on is a process," says Hickman of the Four losing one of their own. "So the Fantastic Four will do that in the same manner we all do: some will get angry, some will grieve, some will want to get even. And all of this grows out of events in one of the four cities."
Hickman's been slowly revealing details of said cities in recent issues of FANTASTIC FOUR, building events that reach an undeniable boiling point. The War of Four Cities will spread like wildfire, encompassing many factions and creating untold sides to the conflict.
"The war is not remotely binary so there's not a single side to choose, and the war is also going on amidst many other huge goings on," he explains. "We've got the return of Doom, Galactus and the Council of Reed as well, and, for now, the war is going to stay confined to the Four's little corner of the Marvel Universe.
"I wouldn't plan on it staying that way though."
In 1962, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby dubbed FANTASTIC FOUR "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine," seeing its promise and potential for action, adventure and pathos.
Hickman plans to reaffirm and strengthen that title with one simple move:
"We hired Steve Epting to draw the book," he notes. "Pages by Steve are starting to come in hot and heavy now, and, in my opinion, they are just stunning. Is it a departure from his recent work? Sure, but it's still unquestionably, pure, concentrated, Epting artwork and we're lucky to have him."
For his part, Epting, already acclaimed for his work on CAPTAIN AMERICA, views FANTASTIC FOUR as an opportunity for exploration and experimentation. Considering the characters and their mission, that's entirely fitting.
"When starting a new series with characters I've never drawn before, I find the first several issues are sort of experimental in terms of finding what works and what doesn't for the characters," the artist points out. "I don't necessarily go into it trying to 'make them my own,' though every artist does that to a certain degree simply because we all have differences in our styles and the storytelling decisions we make, but I really just want to portray each of the cast members in a way that's consistent with his or her character and in the process enhance the story being told."
Epting, like Hickman, looks forward to strengthening FANTASTIC FOUR's foundation as Marvel's origin point for their Universe and ensuring it worthy of its hyperbolic cover tag.
"Nothing I'll do on my own will accomplish that, but working with the team we have and knowing what Jonathan has planned, I'll draw it to the best of my ability and do everything I can to live up to it," he vows. "That's what the Fantastic Four is and should be the World's Greatest Comic Magazine!"
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