Review: FF #10 – Matt Fraction & Mike Allred

FF10I’m not entirely sure what I think about this issue. On the one hand it dares to go places most creative teams don’t – breaking down the barriers between the creator and the creation, by placing Fraction, Allred and editor Tom Brevoot into their own comic; for the most part making it an enjoyable and silly tale. On the other hand, this story can feel a little too much like one big inside joke, and does require a working knowledge of each of these characters to fully appreciate. To be fair, a lesser day in the issues of FF is still nothing to sneeze at, and the team manage to create a book that still stands out, if for sometimes the wrong reasons.

The issue is split between two stories, one with the more outcast members of the FF engaged in twenty questions with a madman as one of their own is forced to kill the old man who may-or-may-not be Johnny Storm, and another as the rest of the members take a microscopic field trip with the Marvel creative team. The aforementioned game is great and still manages to live up to the standard seen in previous issues, but the field trip does seem to feel a bit out of place. Full of inside jokes and references to the team’s social media presence, like Tom Breevot’s Formspring, this issue isn’t really aimed at anyone who hasn’t got anything more than a cursory knowledge of these people.

Thankfully, the accompanying FF members remain fun, with Scott Lang’s dialogue reminiscent of an actual parent – remaining empathetic and dismissive, especially regarding the children’s love of the tiger. It speaks volumes of the character – a man who has lost his child and is beginning to let these few take her place, and Fraction really hits the nail on the head here.

The other half of the issue is great, letting the other characters shine. Tong in particular is a character that continues to grow, following her change earlier in the series, and is becoming a larger and more fun part of the team. Alex is still battling between saving his parents, and betraying the FF.

What else can I say about the Allreds that hasn’t been said already? They are great, plain and simple, and this issue continues to be a large selling point. I really cannot speak any more highly about those two, and I love coming back to them each week.

Despite a very risky choice taking place in the issue, it still manages to be a great read. I’m glad that this team is making choices like this, and while FF #10 doesn’t hit all the right notes, it still manages to sing strongly. 

Review: FF#2 – Matt Fraction & Mike Allred

ff2“For the next two hundred and forty seconds, we are the Fantastic Four.”

Oh Scott Lang, you could not be more wrong. But it’s ok, the ride turns out awesome anyway.

FF#2 picks up right after the second issue of Matt Fraction’s other tie-in, Fantastic Four, as Marvel’s First Family begin their trip to the unknown universes. Events make a turn for the worse back on Earth, as Scott Lang and the Future Foundation learn that the new Fantastic Four’s stint will be a lot longer than expected. Fortunately for us, it makes for a fun story.

Fraction’s biggest strength in his other acclaimed series Hawkeye, the dialogue, carries over into FF. From Scott’s slight horror when he realises that the Fantastic Four aren’t coming back, to She-Hulk lamenting the loss of her Stella McCartney outfit; each of the character interactions are brilliantly handled. Without spoiling anything, if you aren’t laughing at a few of the excellent lines in this book, you need to check your pulse.

Dana Deering’s transformation to Ms Thing also comes to a head within this issue, and while the marketing seems to be building her up to act a bit like a bimbo, she often comes across as less like a an airhead, and more of an ordinary person thrown into extraordinary events. While it seems that Fraction is trying to make her likeable, she doesn’t come across as even remotely annoying – just a bit naive.

Once again the art pairing of Mike Allred and wife Laura looks as great as ever. There is a particularly stunning moment when the Mole Man and his beast appear to take on the Future Foundation, which shows that the Allreds know a thing or two on how to create fantastic looking monsters. The series so far harkens back to old Silver-Age comics, and is a treat to read.

One other problem that plagues this issue is that it almost requires you to read the Fantastic Four as well, as the events pick up immediately after the second issue of that series. Hopefully that is something that will change in the coming issues, with the Fantastic Four embarking on their journey, but readers of only the FF series will have a harder time following what is going on.

Despite issues regarding extra reading, FF  again continues to impress, both in story and in visuals. If Fraction and the Allred’s can keep this momentum going, while allowing FF to stand on its own, this book will be one to watch in the coming months.