Well, we've seen all the other announcements about Marvel NOW, and now we hear that Matt Fraction is officially taking over both Fantastic Four and its companion book FF. Good to see the Future Foundation series isn't going anywhere… but it if we judge a book by it's cover, it's not looking anything like what we've seen from Jonathan Hickman's epic run. However, artist Mark Bagley is joining him for Fantastic Four, while Madman star Mike Allred is bringing his signature style to FF.
Here's a look at the new-look covers:
So what the heck's going on here? Well, here are some bits and bobs from Fraction about what he's doing with these books.
The family unit of it all; adventure dad, adventure mom, that whole thing, when you're a kid, is great. And The Thing. Greatest comics character of all time, or super greatest? Now I'm struck that in 102 issues, Stan and Jack pretty much built a universe. That's a tall order, creatively, an impossibly high bar. I want to tackle that kind of challenge, to take on a book whose mandate, whose creative soul, means to invent wildly and with reckless abandon.
That “The Incredibles” was kind of the perfect modern Fantastic Four story and wasn't a Fantastic Four story is, like, a provocation of creative war, y'know? Again, talk about impossibly high bars, but there you go. Can there be a Fantastic Four that's wildly new, wildly inventive, and that appeals to everybody that might encounter it, regardless of their age or how many comics they've read? Let's find out.
The Fantastic Four is the cornerstone of the Marvel Universe. It's an honor and privilege to carry on playing in such a fertile field. Some of Marvel's brightest and best did some of their most amazing work with the Richards family and I'm thrilled to get my crack at Marvel's first family. We're going to new places, seeing new things, and having all new adventures — aside from Reed, Sue, and the rest, EVERYTHING else will be brand new.
The FF is a chance to radically remix and reinvent the familiar aspects of the Fantastic Four and the Future Foundation into something all new and wild. Standing on its own but interlinked with Fantastic Four, the all-new FF will be doing things the Fantastic Four could only dream of before.
I can say that both titles stand on their own after the initial storyline sets up the status quo for each, but each one relates and interrelates.
Everything good about comics I attribute to Mike Allred, who was the first pro I ever met at a convention that was above and beyond cool. I remember it and carry it with me every time that I do a show, how important it was to me. Aside from embarrassing Mike when I tell that story and probably making him feel old, to get a chance to actually collaborate with him now is nothing short of amazing.
ALLRED: When I was approached with a project starring one of my all-time favorite, and vastly under-rated, characters, Ant-Man, I leapt out of my shoes. Literally. Those shoes are ruined now. Ant-Man has been there from the beginning. One of the very first Marvel heroes, folks; I think the first or second behind the Fantastic Four. Most people don't know that.
Then add claiming the Baxter Building with my fave Marvel lady, Medusa, big and sexy She-Hulk, and one of the cleverest creations in recent memory, Miss Thing—now I'm almost out of my skin. Fortunately that's just a figure of speech. I'm still tucked nicely away into my skin.
Okay. So a clean break and an entirely new feel, certainly, but light on details. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso also had this to say to try to address that:
Matt and Mark are taking the world's greatest family of science-adventurers on a road trip through every conceivable corner of the Marvel Universe. It's a long and winding road, filled with friends and foes, both old and new, and challenges unlike anything they've ever faced. What doesn't break the Richards family will only make it stronger.
What — you didn't actually think Reed would leave the Baxter Building unprotected during the Richards’ family's epic road trip, did you? Someone's got to guard the fort, and Reed's handpicked replacement team — courtesy of Matt and Mike's unique creative synergy – is truly fantastic in its own right. Facing a relentless siege of villains with bones to pick, this team quickly realizes that the best defense against certain, uhm, Doom, is a good offense.
So, Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and "Miss Thing" are the new FF stars, and no sign of the school for genius kids of all walks of life being focused on in either book. Moving from Hickman to this is going to spark some serious cognitive dissonance. Best start preparing now.
"Miss Thing." Is that Alicia Masters in a robot-Grimm suit? I… no. I'm not even gonna try to guess.