Issue 600 - and how could one fathom topping that miraculously drawn issue where Johnny died as depicted by the amazing Steve Epting?
Well Hickman did just that. He topped and connected everything together in fine fashion and form. Of course, it is a let-down how Marvel lies about death, as seen with Thor and Bucky again in FEAR, but while Johnny did die...he returns...and returns. It's Gladiator redux here but what makes it work is the brilliant Carmine Giandomenico artwork and a concoction that sets Storm in a light rarely seen while still keeping his wholesome daredevil integrity intact. Annihilus is also smartly done in a plot that ties in nicely to the alternative Reed Richards' collective where Doom factors in.
The tie-in is smartly done also to the Kree Invasion, the Ronan/Crystal arc and the overall plight of the Inhumans. Hickman weaves threads together that showed his spark even in the FF books with their snarky suits. Hickman's handle on Parker, the Avengers etc are all sublime and Epting, Dalrymple and Doyle all shine on the art front. Rarely does an artist flounder with Hickman and be that as it may, one particular artist glistens in the form in Leinil Yu. His work here is beyond the Millar stuff he does as he paints a Galactus arc picking up on some things that Fraction/Coipel navigated, and the twist here is splendid regarding Galactus' monitoring of Earth and his potential successor. It's crafty and intricate...all synonymous with Hickman.
He further paints a mystery as to whom is aiding Franklin in machinating schemes with his refound powers. It's clear that bigger things are planned, especially with the Foundation and Franklin, but with such an ensemble as Doom, Galactus and so many otherworldly threats...it's a toast here to Hickman.
I was irate that Storm returned but Hickman makes it work spectacularly. The other plots outweigh the resurrection I admit, and that's good news for avid fans of these titles by Hickman.
Great art, lovely storytelling...totally worth the $!!!