|Cover by Mark Bagley,|
Andy Lanning, Paul Mounts
FF #5 (June 29, 2011)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciller: Barry Kitson
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
I kind of have no idea what’s going on. Normally, Marvel doesn’t fail me with their handy first page backstory but this time, Hickman decided to keep the exposition to a minimum. All I garnered from this comic was that there are multiple Richard Reeds(s) and they’re wreaking havoc and apparently Reed 1.0 is on the cusp of creating some sort of machine that’ll bring order back to the Marvel Universe. Oh yeah, and apparently the Thing is still mourning the death of Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch.
Okay first of all, I had no idea the Human Torch has been dead since the beginning of the year. Nor was I aware that for some unfathomable reason, Spider-Man is now a part of the Fantastic Four… and they’re not even called the Fantastic Four anymore! They’re the “Future Foundation.” That’s a dumb name.
Look, everything I know about the Fantastic Four is through pop culture osmosis, the occasional reference by my dad who used to read the comics (in Spanish) as a kid and articled from Cracked.com, including one naming Richard Reed the worst comic book husband of all time. So naturally, I didn’t come to this comic with a major history or even overwhelming interest in these characters. But there are certain things that as a comic book fan, I have to take a stand against. One is changing the name of a superhero team after 40 years of existence, especially to a name as vague and nonsensical as Future Foundation. What does that even mean? Another is throwing a much beloved character into an entirely new and ill-fitting environment, like Spider-Man. Look, the Fantastic Four isn’t the Justice League. It doesn’t have a big membership where new heroes can get lost in the shuffle. It’s like taking the cast of Seinfeld, killing Kramer and replacing him with Dr. House. It doesn’t work. And I don’t even really care about these characters.
To be honest, I was so thrown by all of these new (to me) changes that I was not able to enjoy the comic that much. It didn’t help that it was smack in the middle of a very confusing and overlapping story arc. On a positive note, the short little moment with the Thing was pretty endearing and for a character that I always considered really basic, the Thing always surprises me whenever he pops up in a comic. There’s something compelling about the rocky guy (that’s what he’s made out of, right? Rocks?) and it’s really only because of him that I wouldn’t be against reading more FF comics (look how stupid that looks…FF).
Kitson’s art was also really clean and expressive, a huge improvement from yesterday’s art. It was bright, full of energy and fun to actually look at. Too bad I just didn’t really understand just what I was looking at and why.