Review by Alexander Moser
FF ties down plot threads and cements our characters together, establishing the franchise as a full-blown team through excellent characterization, going beyond what other writers would normally provide.
The comic book concludes the minor storyline between Bentley-23, Medusa and Blastaar, the latter character has been recurring through both FF and F4. The nefarious Wizard (father of Bentley-23) tries to defeat the new Fantastic Four, so he establishes a new “Frightful Four,” a family built off of hatred and mind-control. They send the Baxter Building into the negative zone, where they hoped to get a jump on the team. The drama comes internal, Scott fearing to lose yet another child. With a little help from his new family, we see our heroes prevail in massive, fun fight scene. The comic concludes by addressing one other plot point: the forthcoming plan to end Doom.
Matt Fraction completely nails his characterization on not just Lang or Darla Deen, but all of the characters. We’ve seen the team build slowly, characters being introduced to us, so now with all the cogs moving, it essentially functions as a well-oiled machine. Juxtaposed against this we see the Frightful Four, essentially the opposite of the FF. Fraction gets us close to Scott Lang, Ant-Man as the protective father figure of the family. Fraction also makes good out of Darla, the uber-pop star who answers a rhetorical “Who are you” question with a very well written response. Small moments like these allow the book to succeed, thanks to good writing.
Allred’s art fits the story perfectly, blending serious elements with a light comical style. The art takes a fight scene to maximum proportions, showing us the cartoon style of superhero battles, but also making it work on a still panel. Ant-Man vs. The Wizard is particularly fun, as we see Scott shrink down and grow all in one panel. Allred and Fraction have also worked closely with the book’s theme, using metaphorical non-sequester panels of a tree to show the family. On one level, we can visually see the family come together, gathering beneath the tree. But the symbolism of the oak tree is not just a place where people gather; the oak tree has always been a representation of fatherhood. Fraction/Allred uses these metaphors to very good use in FF.
This issue of FF isn’t the best place to start, but even if one were to pick it up (the cover is quite attractive!), we see all the elements of what makes the book good. Whether it’s the quirky set of characters or the innovative art style, FF is one of the best books to come out of Marvel NOW!
-Characters are well-written
-Other than a fight scene, there’s not much of a story