Posted December 3, 2012 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics


Matt Fraction, Mike Allred

The idea of other superpowered individuals taking over for the members of the Fantastic Four is hardly a new one. The roster itself has endured many changes throughout its more-than-50-year history, ranging from replacement members to complete team overhauls. Hell, people didn’t complain that much when Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Ghost Rider took over for Reed and company. After all, nobody really expects such roster changes to stick; look at the Human Torch, who was recently killed but “got better” and is now alive and running, er, flying around. The Fantastic Four are icons, and they could never really be gone for long.

What if they DID disappear, though? What if they left…and never returned?

The main hook of the FF relaunch is Reed’s promise to Scott Lang, the recently-revived Ant-Man, that all the Fantastic Four needs from his time is a trivial four minutes, while they go on an extra-dimensional mission connected to things going on with Reed’s body – and its horrific implications for the rest of the Richards family – in the main Fantastic Four book. The premiere issue of FF walks us through the formation of the replacement FF, as each member of the Four talks to a hero (or, in Human Torch’s case, a girlfriend) to stand in for them.

Matt Fraction delivers an interesting and compelling look at the genesis of this new team. The previously-released Marvel NOW! Point One standalone issue already gave us a good idea as to what currently drives Scott Lang to continue pursuing cape-and-tights adventuring, and this comic only serves to further hammer the point. Here we have a man who is pretty much disillusioned with superheroics and focused only on revenge, being asked by the greatest mind on the planet to lead a team to stand in for the Marvel Universe’s “first family”; a man who, after just recently losing his own daughter due to senseless violence brought about by a power-hungry dictator, is asked to fill in for a job that requires looking after and being surrounded by a pack of children. The motivations and intentions of the other members of the team – Medusa, She-Hulk and the yet-to-suit-up Ms. Thing – are explored to a limited extent, leaving just enough information to keep readers wanting to find out more.

I’ll say this right now – Mike Allred was an inspired choice for this book. Not many people “dig” his art style, but to me, it really works well here; I’m already expecting this team to deal with the downright bizarre creatures that’ll overrun the city once the rest of the universe hears about the original Four taking a vacation.

Which leads me to my next point – I’m expecting the Fantastic Four to NOT return after the promised four minutes. The nature of time travel opens many exciting storytelling possibilities. There is absolutely no good or pleasant reason why the Fantastic Four wouldn’t return on time, since the amount of time they spend adventuring is irrelevant when considering the fact that they can return to any point in the present. They can spend an entire year floating around in the Microverse and come back to the present right after they leave. As I’ve said earlier, we all expect that no lasting harm will befall the Fantastic Four – unfortunately, the people of the Marvel universe are not blessed with this sort of omniscience. It’ll definitely be fun to watch everything fall apart as people start to panic. “Why isn’t the Richards family back? What happened to them?”

I can’t wait for the next issue, mainly because I want to see the look on their faces when the new FF realize that, well, this wasn’t quite what they signed up for. And with Fraction and Allred at the helm, things can only get better – and weirder – from here.


Fraction and Allred did a great job with the first issue. FF just might be one of the biggest sleeper hits out of Marvel’s NOW! initiative. I’m pretty sure that our old Fantastic Four won’t be back after four minutes, and I can’t wait to see this ragtag team led by a reluctant Scott Lang squirm, fidget…and step up.

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Mikael Angelo Francisco