Where there is a ending, somewhere there is a beginning. The spirit of the Fantastic Four ended with the death of Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch, but in the wake of his death, the seeds of the future were sown and the Future Foundation arose. Can this ever growing family dynamic lead to a prosperous future? Take the jump and find out true believers.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: Steve Epting
Inks: Steve Epting & Rick Magyar
Color: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Rus Wooton
Covers: Steve Epting, Daniel Acuna, Marko Djurdjevic, Gerald Parel, Stan Goldberg, Joe Sinnott, and Val Staples
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99 USD
Previously, in FF: Spinning out of the events of Fantastic Four, the ever expanding Richards Family has
excepted accepted Spider-man into the fold, as they move forward to make the future a better place.
CAN’T KEEP A BAD BEE-KEEPER DOWN
The issue opens with Agents of A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) looking for “new ideas” as they jump into something that resembles a Stargate. Cut to a still grieving Richards Family, reeling from the loss of Johnny, as Spider-man enters, to join the team to make the world a better place. But with some of the family not yet ready for a replacement, mainly Ben, and Franklin, the latter of the two who still reserves a seat for his dead Uncle, something that Spidey knows all about. With A.I.M. out to set free the Wizard, and Valeria Richards out to bring a new guest into the “Club“, this already chaotic environment, will grow even more so.
I only read Hickman’s run of Fantastic Four up to the first HC/TPB. I just didn’t care for Marvel at the time, I had loyalty to the writer, not the book. I came up with Hickman and his independent work on The Nightly News, Pax Romana, Transhuman, and the often delayed, Red Mass for Mars, all pretty revolutionary stuff. With the unconventional path he started in Fantastic Four, I figured the editors wouldn’t allow it to continue, but I was wrong.
Though I was missing a lot of what happened previous to this issue, since this book is very continuity heavy, the family dynamic is easy to digest. Every character feels real, and the interaction between Reed, his long lost father, Nathaniel Richards, and Valeria, was top notch Richards Family big brains clashing at it‘s best.
The artwork by Steve Epting is nothing short of a brilliant. I have been a fan of his since his work on Captain America, and in 26 pages of story he has to work with he shows his mastery of characters, their expressions, and the backgrounds they romp in. The twisted visage of The Wizard, the melancholy demeanor of Ben Grimm, it would work within text, but it takes a talented artist such as Epting to convey it on the page, and make this fictional character come to life.
In one panel that has Sue giving Spidey a sit-rep of what has been going on with the Family, there is a scene where they are passing through a den of sorts that has Dragon Man sitting in a chair with his glasses, reading a book. For some reason the way he is depicted makes me laugh, and really intrigued at the same time. If that is a simpatico of the writer and the artist than so be it. I just know that the detail displayed is stunning.
At first I was averse to the design of the “uniform’s” for the Future Foundation. But after seeing them in this issue I have come around to liking them, and after thinking of it, this variation is not awful at all. But nothing is, when you compare it to the costumes of the early 90’s, where Sue dressed like a Times Square Hooker circa 1977, and the Thing wore a bucket on his head. My how the times have changed for the better.
FRANKLIN RICHARDS AND THE DRAGON MAN BAND
This is a fantastic first issue, no pun intended, but it is. I can’t wait for the second issue, and that is always a good sign, all that characters are interesting, and of course I hope Dragon Man and the kids of the Future Foundation do get their equal share of the spotlight, I could read a arc, or three about them. The simple task of saying Grace at the dinner table is a both hilarious and informative of who they are.
My only complaint is that there is a two page sequence that involves Spider-man swinging through the air of Manhattan, on his way to the roof of the FF’s headquarters, it feels like a waste of two pages. I am not really a fan of splash pages, and 4 of the 26 pages of this comic were splash pages, and maybe only one of them was necessary. But, oh well, can’t win them all.
As a whole, this comic offers a lot, and I enjoyed every bit that it gave me, I look forward to a long run of FF, and will not leave unless something happens in the same vein as the Death of Lian Harper, or a Deal with a Devil to erase a marriage. But I give Jonathan Hickman the credit not to stoop that low.
Final Verdict, FF #1 receives a astounding 5 Stars, out of 5.