Or – “I Love How This Book Feels Like A Lost Silver Age Marvel Comic…”
No matter what you think about Mike Allred (and he is, apparently, more controversial than I thought as a penciler) the idea behind this book is kinda delightful. The hand-picked backup concept gives credence to the idea that a group of second-tier heroes (and one dilettante) could stand in for the Fantastic Four, and Fractions’s character work made issue #1 a must-read for me. What’s in store for the FF in #2, and will the original Four return on time? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Previously, in FF: Reed Richards and his Fantastic Four have set off into the multiverse on a mission with heavy ramifications (not that Reed has let anyone KNOW that or anything.) In their stead, the Fantastic Four have recruited Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and Johnny Storm’s pop star girlfriend to cover for their absence, planned to be exactly four minutes long. But, then again, when has anything the Fantastic Four tried gone as planned?
“FOR THE NEXT TWO-HUNDRED FORTY SECONDS, WE ARE THE FANTASTIC FOUR…”
There is a wonderful three panel sequence in the early pages of this comic that makes me just kind of love it in a Zooey Deschanel kind of way. As Ant-Man watches, the Fantastic Four flies off, and he stares at his watch… She-Hulk looks at him, raises and eyebrow, and asks, “You holding it together over there, Scott?” He stares at his watch, repeating “Yep, yep, yep” as it becomes clear that the whole “four minutes” thing is going by the wayside. Fraction’s script really works the character moments, and gets us inside the heads of the heroes who comprise the new FF. Ant-Man has to explain to the genius kids what an “ex-con” is, and why he is one, while Darla Deering has an adorable moment on the roof of the Baxter Building with Leech and Artie. Much as with his work on Defenders and Hawkeye, Fraction excels at making each character’s voice unique, and making them feel like real people, which makes it even sadder when She-Hulk laments how hard it was to find a Stella McCartney designer suit in her size.
DARLA MAY BE IN OVER HER HEAD…
For some reason, the media takes an immediate dislike to the new team (a metaphor for fan response to change, perhaps?) and things only get more complicated when Mole Man arrives with a full compliment of monsters to take down those that he deems to be impostors. Of course, three of the team make a good showing for themselves, even though Medusa goes through the fight in her nightie, but their first actual battle convinces Darla Deering that the superhero life is not for her. But before that bad news even gets a chance to set in, an alarm (throughout the issue referred to as “the machine that goes boop boop boop”) goes off, and… SOMETHING comes through the portal back to the Baxter Building. It looks a little bit like the Human Torch, but whatever it is, it’s not healthy, and the issue ends with some pretty serious cliff-hanger action about the fate of BOTH FF teams.
THE BOTTOM LINE: I’M LIKING THIS ONE.
This book reminds me of Silver Age Marvel books, telling a story that is wild and inventive without taking itself too seriously, and the team dynamic is an interesting one. I’m a little worried that She-Hulk might have to step in as leader, which would further undermine Ant-Man’s confidence, but either way, we’re in for a ride. Fraction and Allred mesh well together, and Mike’s art has a subtlety to it (especially in the faces) that I’m not used to seeing. FF #2 does the trick for me, balancing the human with the superhuman, giving everyone something to do and even making me root for Ms. Thing, the sensational character find of 2012, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. I’m now looking forward to Fantastic Four #3 to see what IS actually happening with the regular foursome, and whether there are any clues as to what the hell is going on in the last pages of this issue…
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!