Future Foundation: From First Family to Ultimate Family

As if you didn't need another reason to be reading Matt Fraction's FF (not to be confused with Fantastic Four), in the latest issue, this happened:

 

 

FF (short for “Future Foundation”) originated under the terrific Jonathan Hickman (now writing the Avengers) as a successor to his Fantastic Four book, introduced after a storyline featuring the apparent death of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. Needless to say, he's not dead – that's comics for you – but that's another story.

 

Over the course of Hickman's run, the family had expanded its ranks, adding a group of Moloid children, Dragon Man – a supervillain turned pacifist intellectual, and Bentley-23, a clone of supervillain The Wizard (featured in the scene above), among others. Together, they expanded a family already “queered” by superpowers and bonded beyond blood ties into an even more non-traditional unit.

 

In the current book, the Fantastic Four are off-planet, leaving their roles in the hands of a few replacements:

 

Ant-Man, AKA Scott Lang – chosen by Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic). An ex-convict turned superhero, he was killed, brought back to life, and reunited with his superhero daughter, only to see her murdered by Dr. Doom. Still traumatized, he finds it difficult to be surrounded by the youth of the FF.

 

Medusa, chosen by Sue Storm (Invisible Woman). Queen of the Inhumans, with the ability to control her prehensile hair like a tail.

 

 

 

 

Ms. Thing, chosen very haphazardly by her boyfriend Johnny Storm. AKA Darla Deering, an internationally famous pop star, she initially is reluctant to embrace the superhero life, but quickly bonds with the children of the FF. She wears a robot suit built for the then-depowered Ben Grimm (the Thing) in a previous storyline.

 

Then there's my favorite – She-Hulk, aka Jennifer Walters. Back in the 80s, she replaced the Thing on the Fantastic Four, so it's not surprising that he chooses her now. She's both physically and intellectually powerful, sexy, a former Avenger, and the cousin of one Bruce Banner – she gained her powers via a transfusion of his blood.

 

 

 

To be sure, the classic Fantastic Four aren't going anywhere, nor should they – they still have their own book, also penned by Fraction. FF is a natural evolution of their legacy, from the “First Family” of comics to perhaps the ultimate family: one that transcends traditional roles of blood, of gender, even species. The Wizard may be a bigoted villain, but he does know a rejection of societal mores when he sees it – and we, as readers, are better for it. FF is hilarious, heartfelt, and truly modern; I can't recommend it enough.

on May 18, 2013