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Fantastic Four No. 554 

The Deal: The best-selling creative team behind The Ultimates -- Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch -- have reunited and returned to the regular Marvel Universe to take over the Fantastic Four. Uh ... yeah that's it.

The Good: Millar and Hitch get it. Say what you want about the controversial duo, but these guys really get what the Fantastic Four is supposed to be about: far-out science fiction, down-to-earth family problems, big ideas, humor and lots of action. And these two dudes establish their grasp of the Fantastic in, like, the first three pages of the book. On the writing side, Millar has captured the essence of these characters in only a few lines of dialogue -- and he does it without sacrificing any growth they might have undergone in the last few years. He's also introduced some truly novel ideas and plot points that set the stage for some incredibly unique story arcs. On the art side of things, Hitch has grounded the team in an ultra-realistic setting that allows the foursome to appear even more fantastic in comparison.

The Bad: As much as I love Hitch's art, the cover he's drawn for this issue is just damn ugly. Who approved this piece of crap? Also, he's Ultimatized the team's costumes, and I'm not totally sold on the new look.

The Verdict: Buy it. Buy it. Buy it. The last time I was this excited about the FF, John Byrne was writing and drawing it. And, yes, that was a loooong time ago.

Reviewed materials furnished by Heroes Aren't Hard To Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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