Things are getting complicated down FF way, with Doctor Doom, Julius Caesar, Annihilus, Kang and Maximus the Mad all in play, while the kids of the Future Foundation try to survive their learning experience… Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Complex and multi-layered.
Narrative seems to be losing focus.
Maybe too many cool ideas at once.
Previously in FF: The Fantastic Four has left Earth for deep space, secretly seeking out a cure for the mysterious ailment that is destroying their powers and killing them. In their stead, they’ve left behind an interim team of Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and Miss Thing to handle the education of their young charges, The Future Foundation.
It’s not going so well…
A NEW STUDENT…
There’s an awful lot going on FF these days. This issue opens with a lovely nightmare sequence from Scott “Ant-Man” Lang, dreaming of his lost daughter, killed in combat with Doctor Doom some months ago. It’s a very telling sequence, and skillfully underlines the complex backstory of the characters while reminding why the defeat of Doctor Doom is as personal a matter for Ant-Man as it was for Mister Fantastic. Back in the real world, Julius Caesar (who is actually a time-travelling alien) has joined forces with Maximus (Black Bolt’s crazy brother), with both conspiring for some reason to kill old John Storm (the last survivor of the Fantastic Four from an alternate future, perhaps.) The basics of this plot have been in place since issue #1 of FF, and it feels like we haven’t really gone anywhere with it. The character side of things is much more interesting this time, as the FF kids try to acclimate their new recruit, Impossible Man’s kid Adolf, to their unique little group.
THINGS ARE GETTING PERHAPS *TOO* COMPLICATED.
Fraction, Allred and Allred give us one of the most inspired sequences in recent history with Adolf and company, as the Impossible Kid swears his father isn’t a super-villain, while the rest of the squad explains that purple and green equals villain. (Red, yellow and blue, by the way, equals hero. In case you wondered.) Allred does a lovely riff on early Marvel during this discussion, and the dialogue between the kids is inspired, but as wonderful as it is, it doesn’t really drive the plot very far. That’s pretty much the problem with this issue for me, as the best parts (Dragon Man testing some upgrades to the Miss Thing suit, Maximus eating a big bowl of Froot Loops, Adolf making his first friend, Ant-Man and Miss Thing’s quiet flirtation) are all character bits that feel kind of adrift in the issue. We end with a big surprising moment, though, which may mean that things are ready to get moving again, and the art throughout is pretty amazing, especially in the moments featuring Mike Allred’s Doctor Doom. I like a large cast, but it feels like several of the kids haven’t actually got a lot to do already, so the continuing addition concerns me.
THE BOTTOM LINE: FEELS LIKE WE’RE STARTING TO LOSE A BIT OF FOCUS…
The upshot of it all? FF #12 is a fun, if a little bit unfocused, bit of comic-book story-telling, with some nice chunks of character, little bits of story swirling ’round and ’round, while the main plot just sort of hangs above the characters’ heads like the Sword of Damocles, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. As with sister title Fantastic Four, I’m enjoying the ride, but it’s starting to come to a point where all the wild bits and concepts should start coalescing into some story-progression (something I worry about now that writer Fraction is going to be leaving the book.)
Miss Thing is still a hoot, though…