Rating: 4/5 – This Ain’t Your Grandmomma’s Fantastic Four!
by guest reviewer Kevyn Knox.
There have been many heated debates over Marvel’s alternate reality Ultimate Universe. It is often a grittier, more jaded worldview, or at least was before the status quo Marvel Universe of good ole Earth-616, started becoming grittier and more jaded itself. Many like the twisting around of their beloved Marvel characters. Others, not so much. I for one, like the fresh takes on the likes of Spider-Man, the X-Men, and The Avengers. Granted, it is hit and miss, but I believe the hits have outweighed the misses. When this Ultimate Universe began back in 2001, one of the stalwart bands of do-gooders was, of course, the same band of do-gooders who kinda started it all back in 1961 – The Fantastic Four. But baby, this wouldn’t be your grandmomma’s FF.
The Ultimate Universe has basically given writers carte blanche to reinvent Marvel’s most iconic characters in their own (sometimes) twisted minds. We saw this happen in Ultimate X-Men. We saw this happen in The Ultimates, essentially this world’s Avengers, and we saw this happen with The Fantastic Four. Broken and battered, many of the major players in the Ultimate Universe have been either killed or re-born, so to speak, as villains or at least heroes with extremely flexible morals. The latter happened to Fantastic Four leader, Reed Richards. Essentially becoming that universe’s Dr. Doom, in deed, if not in body. This cataclysmic event has helped to completely change those we once knew as The Fantastic Four. But again, just like how they were never your grandmomma’s Fantastic Four, this new team isn’t even the Ultimate Fantastic Four we once knew.
Reborn (again) under the banner of the FF, or the Future Foundation, this new team, starting here in Ultimate FF #1, is seriously a whole new thing indeed. In this world, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been dismantled (imagine that), and a new organization, christened the Future Foundation, has risen to take its place. Led by Susan Storm, and including fellow geniuses Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) and Sam Wilson (aka Falcon, who in this universe is a tech know-it-all), along with ex-Ghost Rider Danny Ketch, now past dead, and embodied inside Machine Man. We also get ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson, and in the final panel reveal…well, you are just going to have to read it for that one.
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov (Echoes for Top Cow/Image and I, Vampire for DC are among his more impressive works) with art by Mario Guevara and Tom Grummett, and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg, this first issue of Ultimate FF leapfrogs us, with its lack of boring old set-up, smack dab into the middle of the story. This is a style I have always preferred. On the other hand, not much really happens here, so there is no guess as to what this series has in store for us. We probably won’t know more until the series progresses more, but it seems to be off to a good start. The art has a very distinctive style and may not be up to many reader’s tastes (and yes, this is merely conjecture on my part) but I must admit to liking the somewhat haphazard feel of the art. Here’s hoping issue #2 keeps us going in the correct direction – whichever way that may be…
Reviewed by: Kevyn Knox