The current volume of The Fantastic Four is closing shop at Marvel--but not before reverting to its original numbering first.
Book publisher and distributor Hachette recently released a solicit for the fourth trade paperback collection of James Robinson's and Leonard Kirk's Fantastic Four series, titled "The End is Fourever." Cute.
The solicit text reads:
"THE END IS FOUREVER! Witness the closing act on the First Family of the Marvel Universe! THE INVADERS meet the FANTASTIC FOUR as the hunt for REED RICHARDS and the missing kids of the FUTURE FOUNDATION continues. Meanwhile the mastermind behind everything unveils his ultimate plan. But how does FRANKLIN RICHARDS factor in? And how does this all lead to...The END?! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR #642-644 and the Triple Sized Final Issue 645!"
While this doesn't imply that Marvel is axing their longest-running title for good, the solicit's final two sentences leave little doubt that #645 will mark the current volume's end. The move could possibly clear the board for a new Fantastic Four series or a Fantastic Four tie-in to a Marvel summer event, which typically launch around May or June.
If Comicbook.com is adding all of the Fantastic Four issues the same way that Marvel is (there are a few Point One and one-shots out there), then it's safe to bet that Fantastic Four would revert to its original numbering, shift to an expedited shipping schedule, and end in the first quarter of 2015. This time frame is further supported by the fact that the collection ships on June 30th, and most Marvel collections ship roughly three months after the last individual issue hits stands.
Comicbook.com will provide more information as it becomes available. But worse case scenario for Fantastic Four fans, they would only have to wait until the new film's August 7th release for their next fix of the First Family.