Tuesday, January 25, 2011

After half century, it's 1 Fantastic's farewell

NEW YORK – It's a Fantastic Four farewell with the revelation Tuesday of who among them has been selected to be written out of the super hero team.

While Marvel Entertainment has made no secret that a member of the quartet, which was introduced in August 1961, would die, exactly who among the group would fall has been a closely held secret, until the release of issue No. 587.

It's the Human Torch, leaving teammates Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman and the Thing to pick up the pieces and move forward.

Fifty years after cosmic rays transformed him into a man ablaze, the Human Torch will burn no more as the pop culture purveyor of super heroes and villains embarks on an ambitious story line that ends the Fantastic Four.

In the newest issue of one of the company's longest-running comic books, Johnny Storm's life is taken amid a massive battle that writer Jonathan Hickman has been scripting for a year-and-half. Illustrator Steve Epting did the art.

Hickman, along with his editor, Tom Brevoort, have been unsurprisingly mum on what the future may hold for the characters, but one thing is certain, the end is nigh for the Fantastic Four next month.

Brevoort, senior vice president for publishing at Marvel told The Associated Press that "588 is the final issue of the Fantastic Four. Beyond that, we're not ready to say exactly what we're doing. There won't be an issue 589."

All he would say about the future was that the various subplots and threads that Hickman has written "will converge in a new thing that will be exciting and different and yet, very familiar and very much the same."

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