It wouldn’t have taken much of an improvement for me to like this collection of Fantastic Four stories more than I did the previous one, Mark Millar’s THE MASTER OF DOOM. Jonathan Hickman picks up where Millar left off and has Reed Richards joining forces with a seemingly infinite number of Reeds from alternate universes to solve the problems of all creation. Not surprisingly, things don’t go well. Once that’s resolved in a fairly satisfactory way, Hickman spends a story dealing with some dangling plotlines from Millar’s run, and then this volume concludes with a story setting up a plot that’s still running in the monthly FANTASTIC FOUR comic.
I liked SOLVE EVERYTHING considerably more than I did THE MASTER OF DOOM, but I was still somewhat disappointed in it. The characterizations aren’t quite there, and the plots are still a little too muddled for my taste. Big, sweeping, time-hopping cosmic epics are hard to do, though, and for me, a little of them go a long way. I prefer stories that are on a slightly smaller scale. I’ve read some of the current issues scripted by Hickman and he seems to have settled in, at least to a certain extent. The art’s pretty good, too.
I probably won’t read the collections reprinting the issues between SOLVE EVERYTHING and the current issues. I think I’m caught up enough just to continue on with the monthly book for now. While FANTASTIC FOUR continues to be my all-time favorite comic book, it wouldn’t be on the basis on what’s being published now. But overall, not bad, and probably worth reading for long-time fans.