The “Ultimates” team of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch teamed up for a two-part tale set during Christmas as part of their “Fantastic Four” run, which ran for 16 issues in 2008-2009. In issues 564-565, the Fantastic Four visit Reed’s distant cousin in Scotland for their Christmas vacation.
In the highlands town of Iarmailt, there’s no crime and the town is hale and hearty. Millar and Hitch create a beautiful Scottish countryside — but of course, things are a bit too perfect, and the tale goes from fun vacation romp to Lovecraftian horror.
Franklin and Valeria, Reed and Sue’s kids, get some good moments in this issue, and the art is simply gorgeous. The story is a bit slight, but was probably intended as a change of pace between larger arcs. Unlike most Christmas-themed comics, these didn’t actually come out in December, but instead in February and April — but given the events of the issue, that may have been partially intentional. Further mixing up the seasons, the cover to #564 is an homage to Norman Rockwell’s painting “Thanksgiving.”
- Matt Price
Comics read in 2011: 1980. Still to go: 31