Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: FF vol. 2: The Supremor Seed, by Hickman, Tocchini, Epting, Kitson et al.

Collecting issues #6-11 of the first run of the title FF (which temporarily replaced Fantastic Four), this book continues a cosmic epic begun in who knows which other comics, Fantastic Four or otherwise. Briefly: The Future Foundation (the remnants of the Fantastic Four after the Human Torch has died, plus Spider-Man, plus Dragon-Man, plus Reed Richards' father, plus Reed and Sue's children, plus assorted other younger characters) team up with a bevy of their greatest villains (including Doctor Doom and several others) to stop renegade Reeds from different dimensions from taking over all of everything. At the same time, the Inhumans return from exile. And various mayhems ensue.

Growing up in the 1970s, I always loved the Fantastic Four - I benefited from being able to read the current issues of the title as well as much of the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby run thanks to the Marvel's Greatest Comics reprint title - and consequently I like to peek in every once in a while to see what's being done with the characters. FF vol. 2 has some interesting moments of characterization, but the plot intricacies rely too heavily on deep continuity knowledge which I don't possess, and which the book itself fails to provide; the Inhumans' storyline in particular is nearly impenetrable, even with an entire issue featuring just them, without a single appearance of the title team. Also, the switch in art styles more than midway through is jarring.

It's a shame, because I did like the book in places. But too much remains unsaid, relying either on previous plot knowledge or too heavily on the art to convey narrative nuances that simply aren't there without accompanying text. The story was, I'm sure, more rewarding to those weekly comics-shop readers who followed several titles as they were published, and who were therefore able to see connections only hinted at in these pages. FF vol 2 is a prime example of a "stand-alone" graphic novel that doesn't.

FF vol. 2: The Supremor Seed
By  Jonathan Hickman, Greg Tocchini, Steve Epting, Barry Kitson et al.
Marvel Comics, 2011
ISBN-10: 0785157697
ISBN-13: 978-0785157694
144 pages, $24.99