REVIEW: FF #12

FF #12FF #12

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Juan Bobillo
Color by Chris Sotomayor
Letters by Clayton Cowles

32 pages / Color / $2.99

Marvel Comics

Whether it’s because America just celebrated Thanksgiving or because we were just treated to roughly a hundred pages of Fantastic Four a few days ago, the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Jonathan Hickman’s run with the Richards family is “overstuffed.” His mind is obviously nimble and full of ideas, and so are his books. It wasn’t until I saw all of FF‘s current plot threads coming to fruition simultaneously last week that it fully dawned on me how many there were.

What better time, then, to split the book in two and let those stories breathe a little?

So far, it would appear that FF has largely shed those boring ol’ grownups and will be a lot more fun for it. Focusing mainly on the kids of the Future Foundation– the Richards School For Gifted Youngsters, as someone in this issue calls it– FF looks like it is going to approach the same heady concepts it used to, but with a much lighter touch, and the change is a welcome one. When a swarm of Doombots usher the kids into Victor’s castle and the first thing anyone says is, “Okay, no joke… this place would be great for paintball,” I think you know everything you need to about how this book is going to grab you moving forward. Personally, I think it sounds like it’s on track to become a new favorite.

When we last left our heroes, Valeria had translocated the top of the Baxter Building to the other side of the world to escape the forces of Annihilus. Now she and the rest of the gang must team up with her time-hopping granddad to thwart her alternate-dimension father. Throw in a group of minors mounting a rescue of Doctor Doom, and you have a plot summary exactly bonkers enough to be worthy of a classic Fantastic Four arc. Although it would be responsible of them to call their parents at some point, I sort of hope they never do; the dynamic established in FF #12 is pitch-perfect, and I hope it continues for as long as possible even if I can’t, strictly speaking, tell you what alterna-Reed is doing even after a year of reading the book.

As for artist Juan Bobillo, I predict his work will be polarizing, particularly after all the time readers have spent with Dale Eaglesham and Steve Epting. The transition isn’t as whiplash-inducing as going from Michael Lark to Humberto Ramos or anything, but this is definitely a different style than people are used to. Personally, I have loved Bobillo ever since his stint on Dan Slott’s She-Hulk, but not everyone is as much of a fan of the iconic school (as opposed to the hyper-realistic school) as I am. In general, my guess is that people will react to this book the same way they reacted to the Beast as he was drawn in last year’s S.W.O.R.D., as Bobillo plays with the characters a bit. These are the moments when you discover how rigid you truly are. Doctor Doom suddenly has no nose; Leech suddenly has one; Dragon Man does, except for when he doesn’t. I would argue that the art is no more or less playful than the writing, however, and it would behoove the reader to take the book as a whole in the spirit it is intended and enjoy him- or herself for a few pages. We’re here to have a good time, and FF #12 delivers that in spades without sacrificing any of the stakes that made it so compelling. Do yourself a favor and come aboard.

Story: 5 / Art: 4 / Overall: 4.5

(Out of 5 Stars)

Comments

  1. Awesome review, I can’t wait until tomorrow

  2. a book all about kids….it’s been fun FF. see ya later.

  3. I haven’t been the biggest fan of FF, but that might be because its the first FF book i’m reading, so I haven’t read the death of Johny Storm, and all the other awesomeness from Hickman.
    Haven’t read FF 11 and Fantastic Four 600 yet, but those will be the books that’ll make me decide wether to drop FF or keep reading.

  4. I don’t think FF/Fantastic Four was ever overstuffed. Hickman did a good job mixing all of the plot together without making it too jarring. It’s not as great as say, Thunderbolts; with Jeff Parker doing a great job mixing 20 characters and subplots in one issue.

    Still, glad to hear this is a good issue (hopefully) and I’m intrigued to see what Bobillo’s art is like….other then sounding like a Hobbit I know nothing about him.

  5. I know opinions are always personal; that’s why they’re different from person to person. Newsarama hated this book apparently, but you’ve given it an almost perfect score. There’s no such thing as bad PR, though, so hope this works in FF’s favor!

    • The Newsarama reviewer appears to be one of the polarized, on the opposite pole. His analysis of the art is largely the same as mine, but when I read it I thought, “You’re saying that like it’s a bad thing.”

  6. You had me at ‘Fun’.

    In all seriousness I absolutely adore the books that focus on the fun in everything. Life is stressful sometimes, so I know that when I consume media I’m less inclined to read something super dramatic. Instead I look for something that will make me laugh or smile constantly.

    Don’t get me wrong, I read serious books and I read the horror books. Certainly can I appreciate the great qualities to be found. But my absolute favorite books, the ones I’m absolutely chomping at the bit to get my hands on are the ‘Fun’ titles.

    As an aside I think a hyper-realistic Dragon Man would be terrifyingly cool. Just sayin.

  7. I always saw Doom’s Castle as more of a Laser Tag venue, and by ‘Laser’ I mean ‘Blinding Atomic Death Ray’.

  8. Valeria kicks an awesome amount of ass for a 4 year old…

  9. This is a great comic by Marvel. I’m picking up more Marvel stuff in addition to my DC titles. Also getting other stuff, but Marvel can be congratulated for putting out good, readworthy product.