Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FEATURED REVIEW: FF #1

(w) Matt Fraction
(p) Mike Allred

Basically, FF is the spiritual successor to Peter Milligan and Mike Allred's X-Statix. So, if you're a fan of meta-humor and satire, you're going to love Matt Fraction's quirky, off-handed take on the Future Foundation. As we learned a few weeks ago in Fantastic Four #1, Marvel's First Family is taking a pan-dimensional vacation that will take them away from Earth (and our space-time continuum) for a year, though it will only really be about four minutes of real time. And, as Reed Richards says, the Fantastic Four "do[es] not leave the Earth unprotected," so they decide to recruit temporary replacements. And thus, FF #1 is all about preparation -- the Fantastic Four getting ready for their trip, the replacement heroes being briefed on their responsibilities, and the audience getting a first-person account of the Future Foundation and it's members as an effective jumping-on point for new readers.

FF #1 is not a comic book that will WOW and AMAZE most. Though it's quirky in setting, the story of the Fantastic Four finding their replacements is subtle and given depth by emotional ramifications. Scott Lang, the recently resurrected former Ant-Man, is the first to be scouted by Reed. Fraction doesn't beat around the bush concerning the reason Lang was chosen to be the temporary head of the Future Foundation -- he's a father who lost his daughter and could probably use some direction. Scott sees it as somewhat presumptuous after the death of Cassie at the hands of Doctor Doom. "I don't want anything to do with those kids Reed!" Scott explains to Reed in a rather kurt manner. "You need to respect that and open that door and let me go home!" For Scott, the pain is too fresh and being asked to be take responsibility for an whole group of kids is like a big slap in the face. Fraction does an amazing job conveying the intense conversation between the two men, and Mike Allred's phenomenal artwork only helps to push the point across -- when Scott is in utter anguish, the entire panel shifts perspective.

Of course, this series wouldn't last long if the main character wasn't on board, so Reed comes clean and admits that he chose Scott because it would be good for him. Ant-Man definitely hasn't been seen much since Avengers: The Children's Crusade, wherein Cassie Lang was murdered, so it's not a far stretch to assume he's been wasting away in grief and self-pity for a few months. Reed sees this and thinks being around kids will not only help Scott, but it will provide the members of the Future Foundation with a new role model and paternal figure. It's a win-win situation in Reed's mind.

Fraction and Allred have struck some gold with this series. Fraction's relatable, grounded writing coupled with Allred's signature art style is a match made in heaven and this first issue is the evidence. There's a lot to love about FF #1, but unfortunately, a lot of that comes from knowing who these characters are and what's happened to them. Fraction does an apt job covering his bases when it comes to integral backstory, but it's still FF, which is named after the Future Foundation, which is an offshoot of the Fantastic Four, who wont actually be in the series at all in an issue or two -- it's a bit wonky. Other than that, FF #1 is a fantastic issue that has left me wanting more...now...seriously.


GRADE
9.5/10

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