Potentially a whole lot, as the first issue of the Marvel Now! relaunch of the Fantastic Four series deals with. Reed Richards is taking a year to travel the space-time continuum with his family, which equates to four minutes Earth-time, under the pretence of an educational field trip. As we learn though in both this issue, and in Fantastic Four #1, his motives are a lot more obscure. In the Fantastic Four’s place at the head of the Future Foundation, Richards recruits Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and newcomer Darla Deering, who will eventually become known as Miss Thing.
Matt Fraction pairs each of these new members of the Future Foundation with the current Fantastic Four, as each character recruits their replacement for when they take their intergalactic field trip. He manages to create some memorable character moments in these pair-ups, most notably from Reed Richards/ Ant-Man, and Johnny Storm/ Dana Deering, as each of these tackle the Fantastic Four’s choices of replacements believably. While the way the recruitment of Miss Thing makes sense in regards to Johnny’s character, we don’t know yet how Dana’s transformation to her Miss Thing persona actually takes place. It initially sets up for a very interesting turn of events as we learn how this will eventually come about.
FF#1, as with much of the Marvel Now! titles, is an excellent starting point for new readers, as Fraction disperses talking-heads moments with each of the children of the Future Foundation, explaining how and what this organisation is out to do. This makes for a simple jumping on point, as well as allowing fans of Jonathan Hickman’s previous run on FF a quick refresher.
Michael Allred produces some truly beautiful work in this issue, channelling 1950s pop art brilliantly, even going so far as to incorporate a “dot press” effect in one panel that invokes a classic comic book style. It complements the tone of the story well, as its camp and light-hearted nature is felt throughout the entire issue.
Fraction and Allred have succeeded in introducing us to the world of the Future Foundation, and the acting members of the Fantastic Four. FF is set up to be a series that invokes a feeling of pure pulp fun. That’s something that can be forgotten all too often, and it’s this issue that reminds us that these titles still exist.