Friday, June 01, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: FF vol 1

After the events of Fantastic Four vol 4: Three by Jonathan Hickman, there has been a slight time lapse in the lives of these characters as they recover from the death of Johnny Storm. Having decided that they must move on, the family "team" has reinvented themselves as the Future Foundation (FF), where they will train a new generation of thinkers to come up with solutions to big problems and actively work to implement those ideas.

Reed Richards reaches out to a number of brilliant minds, asking them to join the Future Foundation - both heroes and villians alike. One of the first problems they face is one that Valeria Richards herself has caused, by reopening the machine that Reed built, allowing him to visit other alternate universes. She unwittingly allowed some of the Reeds from those other universes into our own - and they do not have the best of intentions in mind for our world. Now the Future Foundation is in a race against time, trying to out-think multiple versions of the same brilliant mind.

I can't say enough good things about Hickman's Fantastic Four series, he continues to take high science fiction concepts, combines them with great superhero stories, and brings in great character moments in every issue. Like when Peter Parker is brought onto the team, and everyone is surprised to find out he's actually a really brilliant scientist in his own right. Or when Peter is sent to invite one of the villians to join them as well - and he voices the concerns we all have about gathering these people together (and hoping the villian in question will turn down the offer).

Through the whole story, Reed and Val are keeping the secret of what she's done from Sue - but by chance when she leads what's left of the team to help Atlantis defend against an unknown attack, she stumbles upon the other Reeds, setting up a nice tense moment between husband and wife at the end of the book. The fact that a number of plotlines are not resolved at the end of this volume has me anxious to see what happens next.

Hickman makes it easy not only to pick up an individual volume of his run with these characters, but even to read just an individual issue. He knows how to plot stories one comic at a time, while still creating a great overall arc that pays off for the longer term readers. I highly recommend reading his entire run, and I know I will continue to follow this book for the foreseeable future.

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