Thursday, 31 March 2011

New Beginnings - FF #1

Since November 1961, we have had the Fantastic Four - a family based super-hero team with incredibly strong morals and ideals. Time after time they saved the world from many different threats, both terrestrial and alien. They put their lives on hold for the greater good many more times too but, and this is the critical part, it couldn’t last forever, recently we have seen the death of one of the team.

Following the sacrifice they made, their wish was for the remainder of the team to carry on, to keep strong and become better. They never stopped helping and kept trying to better the world. With this in mind, combined with an idea that Reed had created, the Future Foundation has been properly formed.

The story itself, written by Jonathan Hickman, is a good opening for both new and old Fantastic Four fans. I’ve not had a giant amount of exposure to previous adventures or arcs but I did find myself feeling comfortable and completely in my depth. Even taking into account the massive personal event that they have had to overcome, to the casual reader this is an easy place to join in without feeling out of place or overwhelmed.

As the plot opens out, it is a welcome to those reading. There are new beginnings and opportunities littered throughout it without the story looking too coincidental or easy. In a herald back to the origins of the comic we see not just one notorious adversary (and considering my lack of FF knowledge even knowing who this person was is a good indication) but a second arch villain with the typical FF twist or conundrum attached to it. Yes, as a new reader, there are times when you are left with questions about who people are or what they can do but this all adds to the story.

The artwork by Steve Epting is good but I wouldn’t say outstanding, however, this I think has more to do with the fact that I have not seen much of his work previously. I find myself making comparisons and contrasts to other artists I have seen. I can see various influences in his work and there is a peculiar current yet retro feel to it for me. I have really liked Paul Mounts use of shadow and colour a lot. There are sections where we see parts of the remaining Fantastic Four really struggle with what has happened and where, in other pieces I have reviewed, the shadow has been sinister and foreboding, there is a real solemn and almost emotionally desolate feel to the frames. Considering this is black we are seeing used here, I see it a feat achieved well.

I’ve tried not to reveal which member of the FF sadly met what seems to be an untimely fate, although if you read Fantastic Four #587 I’m not convinced that this is the last we will see of them. I think that this is a good starting point for anyone to pick up and learning that knowledge first hand adds to the experience. I thoroughly enjoyed this first issue and depending on the ongoing quality of the stories I will also be following this title. Definitely worth looking at from anyone who is looking for something new but equally carrying that established feel to it.

Matt Puddy would like a suit made of Unstable Molecules

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