Comic Review: FF #1
The company wide refresh ‘Marvel NOW’ is in full swing with a bunch of new titles on the shelves these past few weeks. One that caught my attention early on was FF. Not to be confused with the relaunched Fantastic Four series, FF is the continuation of the recent spin-off of the title that focuses on the Future Foundation.
The Future Foundation was set up in Jonathan Hickman’s run a couple of years ago as a group dedicated to creating a brighter future for all humanity. However writer Matt Fraction has done a great job on making the series accessible, anything you need to know about the Future Foundation is right inside this issue. The premise of the issue, and the series in fact, is that the Fantastic Four are planning a voyage that’s going to take them off of Earth. Since the entire team will be gone they’ve picked out a replacement for each of them. They’re intending on being gone for four minutes. Yes that wasn’t a typo, four minutes. At least that’s the plan, as things often do in his life Reed suspects things may go wrong so the team’s replacements are being chosen with the idea that they may end up taking over on a permanent basis.
This is a very conversational affair with barely any action to speak of. It helps then that the dialogue is entertaining and amusing throughout. The Fantastic Four play key roles here we but get to see enough of their replacements too. The perspective bounces around a bit but it never felt like any character was overstaying their welcome.
Mike Allred is on top form here with his distinctive pop art-esque characters backed up by the colouring handled by his wife Larua Allred. I’ve always felt like Allred’s strength is his facial expressions, something that the more detail heavy artists can struggle with, and here it shows as usual. It adds a lot of character watching the frustration on Johnny Storm’s face as he tries to figure out just what the reminder he set himself actually means. Little things like that add a lot of personality to the book. If the series stays primarily a dialogue driven book I’ll be perfectly happy with that as Allred’s the perfect pick for something like this.
Briefly I want to touch on the AR features of the book. For those not in the know Marvel AR is the relatively new feature where select pages in the book will reveal little extras when scanned with a smart phone. The extras in question are nice additions but I found it a bit fiddly to get the app to actually work, which is a problem I’ve had in the past. Also the extras a little inconsistent, one could be read along with the issue while the other is better viewed afterwards. As such I generally find the AR features so far usually pull you out of the reading experience rather than amplify it. As such it’s generally better to check them out after you’ve finished the issue rather than as you go.
All in all this is a great issue. It’s fun, it’s engaging and it left me wanting more. Traditionally I’m not that big of a Fantastic Four fan so it says something that I enjoyed this as much as I did. Fraction and Allred are a great team and I can see this becoming a very memorable run in both their careers.