I don't want to say that all of the good 'terrible things happen to Ben Grimm' stories have been done, but...well...
Let's say it's well-trod territory, so I hope it goes another way.
In a historical perspective, 'terrible things happen to Johnny Storm' stories are actually 'Terrible things happen to people OTHER than Johnny and he (re)learns how to feel bad about it' stories. So, yes, let's see some terrible things happen to Johnny and see how the other react to THAT for once.
In regards to the last issue, can I say how INCREDIBLY PLEASED I am that Hickman didn't revive the "Alicia only loves Ben when he's covered in rocks" sub-plot because I hated the way the comics relied on that thing for something like two decades.
One of the most interesting shifts in the modern FF storytelling is the shift that brings Ben's appearance being A HANDICAP out of the subtext (an allegorical handicap that makes him feel different than others) right into the text (Ben can't use a normal telephone because his fingers are too big). I equate Ben a lot these days with a war-wounded veteran. His feelings of isolation and the stares and uncomfortable feeling from people around him are interchanged with the fact that he's a hero and celebrity that people look up to. He has good days dealing with this and he has bad. But it's always a part of him.
I feel like Hickman understands that thread (Waid, of course, nailed it, Slott touched on it only slightly and I'd love recommendations of others who have looked at it) and I want to see more of that, which we wouldn't if Ben gets killed.
There's a lot of FF I haven't read. Like I said, not a fan of them.
And for the life of me I can't figure out why.
You aren't alone. I have never gotten into them. I guess because their cartoon was weak sauce as well as the Hulk. However, I did enjoy any and all crossover eps that involved either the X-men or Spider-man. neutral I wanted to read the current storyline as I too want to see who gets the axe but...
I'm not "YAY! BEREAVEMENT!" here either, but I'm enjoying the story itself so much that I'm happy for Hickman to use this element if that's what he needs to tell it. It's not like whoever dies won't be back eventually, and since Everyone Knows That I'm still expecting the whole death thing not to be played entirely straight here.
Anyone got any thoughts about this...?
Well, it's early yet, but we're not saying that we're only going to be selecting one new member for the group. [...] There's going to be a lot of other characters in the book. In fact, we don't even know that the team really is going to be a team anymore. Will they become something else? You'll find out soon enough."