Ah, the future is a fickle thing in comic book land.
Just when you think it’s become the present, the unpredictable nature of time – and time-hopping, time-altering, time-adventuring superheroes – tends to radically change all expectations.
It can be confounding, yes. But it can also make for amazing storytelling, keeping readers on the edge of their seats while following their favourite (or new favourite) characters in their tempus-inspired escapades!
That’s the premise behind the first issue of FF – the latest comic book re-launch in the post Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel NOW! initiative.
Written by: Matt Fraction
Illustrated by: Michael Allred and Laura Allred
Published by: Marvel Comics
I’m not a huge Fantastic Four fan (although I’ve got a few enjoyable issues, from various eras and creators, filed away in my comic book collection) but I know there’s a multitude of readers out there that consider the super group the most important cornerstone of the Marvel Universe. In broad strokes, if Spider-Man is an account about adolescence and growing into responsibility, and X-Men is a tale about discrimination and prejudice, the characters that make up the Fantastic Four, Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards ), Invisible Woman (Susan Strom), Human Torch (Johnny Storm) and Thing (Ben Grimm), tells us a story about family. What, in our lives, is more important then that?
Well, funny enough, if you don’t know your (fairly recent) comic book history, FF isn’t even about that family.
Nope. It’s about the family that the original Fantastic Four leave behind when they go off gallivanting through time on one of their adventures. Yeah, it’s a little science fiction-y. But that’s Fantastic Four for you.
FF stands for Future Foundation, a science-based organization full of great, young minds, that Mr. Fantastic created in order to help humanity build a better future for itself. The first issue, out today, details the handpicking, by each original Fantastic Four member, the replacements that will lead the Future Foundation in their absence. Reed, Susan, Johnny and Ben are leaving this time period, you see, off on a yearlong sojourn through time and space in their own monthly Fantastic Four comic book series (the first issue of which was recently released). But ever the responsible citizens, they need to make sure that the earth is in good hands for the four minutes they’ll be gone in our present-day time stream.
It only sounds like you need to converse with American theoretical physicist Brian Greene to get this story. You’ll be in good hands with writer Matt Faction and the distinctively fabulous Michael Allred on art.
FF dovetails from the monthly Fantastic Four series with Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and Miss Thing all acting as stand-ins for the true Fantastic Four – for the four, short minutes that those originals aren’t around, anyway.
Ah, but here’s the hook: what if, altering all expectations, the Fantastic Four doesn’t come back?
Dun duh dah!
Look, unlike the Fantastic Four, you don’t need to traverse time and space for high-octane adventure. But you do need to run – don’t walk – to your local comic book shop and pick up FF #1. You’ll be so happy you did! Science. Superpowers. Superheroes. And, of course, family. You’ll get it all here – and just in the time it takes you to open that first page.
Your fantastic future is about to become your fantastic present!
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!