by Matt Fraction, Lee Allred (Writers), Michael Allred (Artist), Laura Allred (Colorist)
The Story: The Future Foundation lands on the blue area of the moon as they play and discuss about past and future events to come.
The Review: This will come off as a rather silly question, but do you prefer fun over drama in your comics? Would you rather have the characters play around with fun concepts and have adventures rather than simply press along with their ongoing storylines, vying for drama and further complication in an endless way?
If you answered yes to these questions, then FFis exactly the kind of comic you might be looking for, as the characters and the story seems to gravitate more toward a certain sense of optimism combined with pure entertainment. It is a joy to read if you are looking for something that isn’t afraid to be silly and to simply point out some of the more out-there elements of the Marvel universe.
A lot of this general vibe come from the kid characters, who let their general enjoyment of things and their sense of adventure permeate the story. Their sense of innocence combined with their playfulness makes their exploration and reactions to what they see on the blue area of the moon fun to see, with the Moloid kids messing around with the apes following the Red Ghost lost in the time mist, or Adolf walking with Luna while holding hands. The kids aren’t the only focus in this issue, yet their scenes are still as delightful as ever.
Surprisingly, the story itself along with the adults gets a bit more spotlight this month, with some potent development. The situation with Alex Power and Dr. Doom, the teachers and some surprising additions to a well-known character makes for some really interesting twists in this issue. There is a particularly strong scene with Scott Lang, having a conversation with Alex about the responsibilities that older people have over the younger one, which do serve in showing some of the evolution of the character. Those who were looking for a bit more meat than just kids playing around shall be a bit more content with this issue, that’s for certain.
Where it also works is with the playfulness shown on the pages, with Lee Allred and Matt Fraction fully willing to mess around with some of the goofier aspects of this comic book universe. Showing the Red Ghost, with his three cosmic-powered apes in multiple copies through various time periods (One of them being from Fantastic Four #13, which house perhaps one of the most glorious panel of all time*) is a testament to this, as this character truly is one of the funkiest there is when it comes to crazy silver age concepts. With characters such a Caesar, Maximus, Impossible Man and him thrown around without hurting the general themes and the story flow, you know you’re in a rather strange comic.
The strangeness, still, is wonderfully illustrated by Mike Allred who bring the Jack Kirby touch to the pages as he allows the craziness to overwhelm the pages without losing the focus on what’s important. Using the unusual locales of Impossible Man’s clothes and the moon to its fullest, Mike Allred creates a bizarre backdrop that accentuates even more the actual strangeness of the characters. The cast itself is well-done, with their poses and powers brought to life without a fuss. Allred, despite the backgrounds and various elements is able to bring the focus on them as their actions are evocative and interesting enough in the pages to catch the reader’s attention. The narrative flow is also excellent, with the panel-to-panel serialization never missing a beat as it never goes on too slow or too quick in its progression of events. It’s a wonderfully kooky book that has the art suited to its needs.
The colorization by Laura Allred follow suits as well, with the focalization on cold and almost lifeless colors in the background, like grey, dark and a very light tone of blue to put the emphasis on the characters and their actions. There are many contrasts such as the one using the backgrounds, like how the white uniforms of the students makes their discerning traits all the more visible, or how the Red Ghosts seems to differentiate in term of details when put in comparison to some of the elements in the panels focusing on them. It’s almost minimalistic at times, yet Laura Allred does a good job here.
The Conclusion: The mix between pure entertainment and plot progression, along with the characters full of life makes this issue a joy to read. Those looking for more meat may be a bit disappointed, yet the fun along with the delightful art from the Allreds make this issue works nonetheless.
Hugo Robberts Larivière
* Because I am feeling generous, here is a link to the panel in question. It pretty much encompass everything that is wrong, but also impossibly fun about the silver age in its own strange ways.