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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Default Hickman's Three-Peat: Defining Runs on Fantastic Four/Avengers/X-Men

    HOX/POX is over and its 12 issues is an instant classic and a pantheon-level X-Men story. That made me realize that Hickman is set up to do what no writer in Marvel history has done. Not since Stan Lee and even Lee is arguable. He is going to be the first writer in Marvel history to defining runs on all three of Marvel's biggest teams : Fantastic Four / The Avengers / X-Men .

    I mentally went over a list of other writers who might come close and other examples. I request the help of fellow CBR posters to help me/correct me/qualify me on this.

    So looking at major writers who have done defining works on multiple teams and characters:

    Lee-Kirby
    1) Fantastic Four -- Natch.
    2) The Avengers -- The early issues until Kirby left and then Lee handed over to Roy Thomas. Important for sure, and key moments like Loki instigating the Avengers' formation, and Cap being found in a block of ice and becoming the leader were done then. So it's too short for a run but it's defining.
    3) The X-Men -- Lee-Kirby's X-Men is revised now and again for nostalgia reasons and it introduced many key elements and so on. Some can argue that it's defining while others will disagree. I don't think it's defining but I'll leave that to others to judge.

    After that, though, it's debatable if we've had writers do defining runs on one or both titles, leave alone all three.

    -- Roy Thomas worked with Dave Cockrum on X-Men and on the Avengers with other artists. Of the two, I think his Avengers run is more defining and long-lasting. But Claremont has said his run on X-Men was underrated. Thomas wanted to work on Fantastic Four but I don't think he ever got a long run on the title and even if he did, it was part of the long slump in the title between Lee-Kirby and John Byrne, which brings me to...
    -- John Byrne was an artist on the X-Men, and a defining artist at that. He was also a close collaborator and plotter with Claremont. It's well known that Byrne resented and disliked the direction Claremont was taking the X-Men and as he said in a recent interview, "I didn't like what Chris was doing, but it was popular and for most readers that was becoming the X-Men. So if I didn't like what Chris was doing, it meant I didn't like the X-Men". Byrne then went on to do the second major run on Fantastic Four as both writer/artist. So it's ambiguous with him if he qualifies on two titles since he served different roles in both. Byrne later worked on the Avengers later but I don't know if his run there was great. Chris Claremont later worked on the Fantastic Four in the '90s and that wasn't considered especially memorable.
    -- Roger Stern is interesting. He served as line-editor of X-Men during the Claremont/Byrne run. He then became writer of a defining run on the Avengers (arguably the greatest), and followed that with a brief stint on Fantastic Four which was most notable for the issues in which Stern brought Jean Grey back to life from the cocoon in Jamaica Bay. So it's all tangled there with him. But I think Stern got 1 out of 3.
    -- Mark Millar for better and worse wrote a defining Avengers story (CIVIL WAR) and he had a run on Fantastic Four which I think had some good issues. I don't think he wrote a major X-Men story however.
    -- Brian Michael Bendis wrote a defining Avengers run (New Avengers), and he wrote a story (HOUSE OF M) that was significant in X-Men publ. history even if it wasn't especially good or influential. But he didn't do much with Fantastic Four.

    So that leaves Hickman, who has done a defining run on Fantastic Four (from Dark Reign:Fantastic Four onwards), a defining run on the Avengers, which ended with a landmark crossover (Secret Wars 2015) that was a finale for both of those runs. Now he's doing X-Men, and starting with HOX/POX which is one of the greatest X-Men stories ever. So Hickman wins.

  2. #2
    Marvel's 1st Superhero Reviresco's Avatar
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    Since Lee and Kirby actually created those teams, I doubt anyone is knocking them off the pedestal for their defining runs.
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  3. #3
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    While I disliked Hickman's Avengers (I think his love for the X-Men shows in what he's writing now; I don't think he cared about the Avengers), I agree that it's an impressive feat.

    Byrne is probably the closest to the three-peat because his run writing the two Avengers books was quite significant to the franchise's history: what he did with the Vision and the Scarlet Witch is still being felt today, and he created the Great Lakes Avengers, a concept that is still around today. His Avengers run was controversial and often hated, but it was commercially successful and significant - it was a huge influence on Bendis, for example. And then he co-plotted the definitive run of X-Men and wrote one of the definitive runs of FF.

    Also Millar wrote the first run of Ultimate X-Men, so he does have some significance there, and Ultimates is a very important Avengers run even if they decided not to call it Ultimate Avengers.

  4. #4
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reviresco View Post
    Since Lee and Kirby actually created those teams, I doubt anyone is knocking them off the pedestal for their defining runs.
    Thing is, sometimes a work that gets created by one person is made better by someone else. X-Men is the epitome of that.

  5. #5
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    I dunno about "defining" when it comes to Avengers. I think the most defining thing he did was his mega-arc that ended up dovetailing back into a Fantastic Four story, the Avengers themselves were actually superfluous to it.

    I guess he did establish the idea of an expansive Avengers roster but that hasn't really caught on in other ways yet.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Captain M's Avatar
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    Stern's run is the greatest Avengers run imo, followed by Busiek. I need to read Byrne's run still

    Nothing Hickman did on Avengers was defining really, none of it matters now. It told a cool story but that's it. It'll be the case for his X-Men work in a few years too. His work is always too grand to not get completely ignored by the creators that come after
    Last edited by Captain M; 10-10-2019 at 10:46 AM.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurkle View Post
    While I disliked Hickman's Avengers (I think his love for the X-Men shows in what he's writing now; I don't think he cared about the Avengers), I agree that it's an impressive feat.
    Hickman said that when he started writing FF and Avengers he wasn't too familiar with both titles, and that X-Men was always his favorite and the one he followed as a fan.

    Byrne is probably the closest to the three-peat because his run writing the two Avengers books was quite significant to the franchise's history: what he did with the Vision and the Scarlet Witch is still being felt today, and he created the Great Lakes Avengers, a concept that is still around today. His Avengers run was controversial and often hated, but it was commercially successful and significant - it was a huge influence on Bendis, for example. And then he co-plotted the definitive run of X-Men and wrote one of the definitive runs of FF.
    I guess it would be Lee-Kirby followed by Byrne and then Hickman.

    Also Millar wrote the first run of Ultimate X-Men, so he does have some significance there, and Ultimates is a very important Avengers run even if they decided not to call it Ultimate Avengers.
    Not in 616 though. And Ultimate X-Men was always the least influential of the Ultimate titles and books. Ultimate X-Men didn't catch as much attention or influence as for instance Grant Morrison's New X-Men and Whedon's Astonishing that was published in 616 at the same time.

  8. #8
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    That, and Hickman's Avengers run was basically a sequel to his Fantastic Four run, rather than a standalone Avengers story. It's great for sure, it's just hard to gauge it on the merit of being an Avengers run.

  9. #9
    Incredible Member your_name_here's Avatar
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    I always feel sorry for the creative time that follows Hickman, how do you follow his huge ideas?
    Usually it’s by taking a step back and being more nostalgic, but I imagine it’s very hard to follow a run of his.

  10. #10
    Incredible Member Ying Ko's Avatar
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    Hickman's FF run was great, certainly up there with Lee/Kirby and Byrne. His X-Men is only beginning now but seems to be building towards greatness as well.

    His Avengers however I found to be very average. Didn't even bother to finish it at the time.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    That, and Hickman's Avengers run was basically a sequel to his Fantastic Four run, rather than a standalone Avengers story. It's great for sure, it's just hard to gauge it on the merit of being an Avengers run.
    Hickman's New Avengers run built on themes that Bendis had laid down, namely the Illuminati and so on. Characters like Namor, Black Panther, Doctor Strange were figures in Illuminati and also major players and movers in Hickman's Avengers run.

    So I don't think it's entirely fair to say that Hickman's run isn't connected to the Avengers at all. It builds off of Bendis' work and simply takes that to the next level. Stuff like Avengers World with the Builders and Ex Nihilo as well as Starbrand builds on new universe and other stuff.

    And let's not forget that Hickman invented and created the Black Order who made their big screen debut in Infinity War and Endgame.

    So yeah it's related to his run on Fantastic Four but it's also an Avengers story. Both can be true.

    And Time Runs Out ends with Iron Man and Cap beating the s--t each other. Doesn't get more Avengers than that.

  12. #12
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Yeah, I may have overstated that. I meant more in picking up on what he wrote in Fantastic Four, rather than writing the Avengers as standalone.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    Yeah, I may have overstated that. I meant more in picking up on what he wrote in Fantastic Four, rather than writing the Avengers as standalone.
    The Avengers as a whole are "superheroes fight bad guys" so there's no team identity to it unlike Fantastic Four (which is about the Family dynamic of the four) and X-Men (saving the world that hates and fears them). Unintentionally it has had team identities (being a place for second-stringers, rejects, prospective reformed villains) that had nothing to do with being "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" (which they rarely were) and more recently fighting each other and splintering and forming factions. Historically it has been assembled, disassembled, combined, recombined multiple times by different writers. And of course Hickman had a second hero civil war so he kept on-brand there.

    So I think there was a fair degree of freedom available to Hickman with it. And as such his take on the team introduced a level of horror, dread, and anguish you don't get in Avengers stories as a whole and it defamiliarized and changed what people expected from the team.

  14. #14
    Condescending Member manymade1's Avatar
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    I think it's still a bit too early to gauge his X-Men run as being "definitive." Not everyone seems to be sold on the idea, and what he's done so far has only been a set-up.

    But yeah, even considering that, it's impressive what he's done with FF and Avengers. Byrne probably comes the closest to him (Besides Lee-Kirby, obviously).

  15. #15
    Benefactor / Malefactor H-E-D's Avatar
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    I still think Secret Warriors is probably the best thing he's done.

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