Marvel NOW! Review: FF#1 by Matt Fraction & Mike Allred

FF #1

Parts of a Hole

Written by: Matt Fraction
Pencilled by: Mike Allred
Colored by: Laura Allred
Lettering by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $2.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from Marvel Comics on Comixology

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Summary (contains spoilers): At the end of Fantastic Four #1, Reed proposes that the team take the kids (in my review, I incorrectly reported it as the Future Foundation kids, but he meant just his own children) and go on an epic journey through time and space. His plan is to return in only a few minutes, but he doesn’t feel comfortable leaving the world unprotected even that long, so each member of the Fantastic Four goes out to recruit someone as a replacement.

Reed recruits Scott Lang, who is mourning the death of his daughter Cassie at the hands of Doctor Doom. Scott is surprised when Reed reveals that he also wants him to head of the care and training of the Future Foundation kids too. But Reed reveals the truth: his powers are killing him, and probably the other members of the Fantastic Four. He needs someone he can rely on, for now or for good if it comes to that.

Thing recruits She-Hulk; Sue recruits Medusa. Johnny…well….he was given the orders to “Ask somebody about The Thing.” But forgot what that meant, so ends up asking his girlfriend:

In the end, She-Hulk, Medusa, and Scott agree, and it ends with Scott giving a pretty cool speech to the kids, ending with “Teach me about the Future Foundation.”

Review: Reading FF, I actually could not get over the fact that it was by the same writer as Fantastic Four #1 from two weeks ago. Fraction did a brilliant job giving each book a very different feel. Don’t get me wrong, the characterization was consistent, and both books were very good, but at the same time they really did feel like two very different comics!  Fraction definitely has a wide range of writing skills.  He also writes Hawkeye, which again is very different in tone from these books, but still damn good!

I did end up liking FF a little bit more than Fantastic Four. It really felt like a much stronger first issue, and I immediately felt more of a connection to the Future Foundation kids. The little one page “confessionals” each group of kids got were probably my favorite parts of this comic. They were interesting, funny, and all the characters stood out. I especially loved Bentley-23 and Dragon Man’s page. The last panel made me laugh out loud on the bus home yesterday, and I am still not sure why I find it so funny:

There is not a lot of action in this comic, but instead we get a lot of great one on one characterization moments with Reed and Scott Lang (a character I have liked for a long time), Sue and Medusa, Thing and She-Hulk, and Johnny with his new girlfriend, Darela Deering who seems destined to become Ms. Thing (GREAT NAME) based on the cover and recap page. All in all, this New Fantastic Four has the potential to have a great dynamic, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here! Reed suggests that the team only might be needed for “four minutes” but I don’t think that would make much of a comic series, so I think we can all be sure it might be a little longer…

On top of the terrific writing in this issue, Mike Allred’s art as usual is perfect. At first glance, it is easy to dismiss Allred’s art as cartoony, but he always puts so much detail and emotion in to it. I have been a huge fan of Allred since Madman and of course, my beloved X-Force/X-Statix. Again, I will point to the Bentley and Dragon Man panel above, each page Bentley’s emotions practically scream for attention.

I also love that Reed’s body seems to flow in and out of the panels; it is a small touch, but it gives the book such a unique character.

On top of all that, Laura Allred is on hand as the colorist. I first noticed this on Dead Girl and U-Go Girl in X-Statix, but Laura Allred’s pallate contains colors you just don’t see in comics usually. Darla Deering’s hair in particular seems to borrow from that crazed crayon box, and it is just another way that FF comes off as one of the most unique superhero comics on the market.

I do have two complains about this book, one of which isn’t even the fault of the creators.

1) CASSIE LANG IS DEAD??? NOOOOO!!! All right, I will admit, I already knew that from Marvel NOW! Point 1, but I still am complaining about it.

2) I did think that in both Fantastic Four 1 and FF 1 Johnny Storm was a little too vapid. It sort of felt like a bit “Kramerization” of his character, kind of exagerating some of his characteristics, and a step back from the more mature Johnny I have read over the years. BUT, I will admit, that Johnny’s scenes were some of my favorite in both books, so clearly it didn’t bother me nearly as much as it should have. At the end of the day, I would rather read a fun goofball Johnny than a grim brooding Johnny.

The Fantastic Four franchise seems to be in very good hands. Fraction has a clear direction in mind, and a great handle on the characters. And two of the best artists in the business on these books! Yeah, Avengers, Spider-Man, and X-Men get all the attention, but I think Fantastic Four is the real Marvel property to watch in the coming months! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Final Score: 9.0 I am stealing my closer from my friend and editor, Grey, “It blows my mind that FF and Fantastic Four are by the same writer. It’s night and day, but both are amazing!” Could not possibly agree more!

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