FF #3: Yancy Street Thing Cult

Life for the post-Four Future Foundation ain't easy, especially when harassed by the Yancy Street Gang.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

It would be hard to imagine a more different take on the Future Foundation than Matt Fraction's is to Jonathan Hickman's creation of it. Hickman's heady epics are now unfolding over in Avengers books, while Fraction's tomfoolery has taken hold of the FF, and it's on full display in FF #3.

A weird old future version of Johnny Storm emerges from another dimension, claiming that the Fantastic Four is dead, thanks to an alternate reality version of three of their villains merged into one, called Doom The Annihilating Conqueror. However, the replacement crew they left behind is in tatters, because completely unqualified pop star Darla Deering (i.e. Katy Perry) has left the squad because she was aware that she was completely unqualified. And yet, she's been regretting it ever since, as her hollow pop music career holds no allure for her when she feels like a coward. Team leader Scott Lang's efforts to bring her back (ostensibly, he's seeing Darla as 'the FF's last wish' to uphold, which is why maybe he doesn't go seek out an actual superhero) coincides with a prankster attack from the Yancy Street Gang, as seen above. Hijinks ensue, before Darla rejoins the team and Scott decides that, since they are the new Fantastic Four for the forseeable future, he must devote the entire Foundation's efforts to eliminating Dr. Doom – the man who killed his daughter.

First of all, my favorite thing about Fraction's entire Fantastic Four/FF run so far is the reintroduction of the Yancy Street Gang as some kind of ridiculous Thing cult, who call people 'dummies' at the top of their lungs, who all talk in throwback style, and who apparently wear Jack Kirby-styled Thing masks when pulling pranks in the name of Aunt Petunia's Favorite Nephew Benjamin J. Grimm aka The Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing. It rides that fine line between mocking the Thing for his old-schoolness and celebrating it by having as much fun as possible with it. It really helps justify a guy who still says 'youse mugs' and the like if everybody in his neighborhood talks like that, too.

Michael Allred's art style is very eye-popping and at times may border on too cartoony for casual comic fans. It does take a little getting used to, and I'm still not very fond of how he draws She-Hulk, but it's got a very bright and fun vibe to it all that helps make the goofy things work well. Plus, he does some cool things with layouts here during the pursuit of the Yancy kids that just feels like whimsy comic book good times.

Also, Doom The Annihilating Conqueror needs to appear again somehow, because a merged form of Doom, Annihilus and Kang is just too nutty to leave alone. Overall, though, this is a solid way to establish these new people as The New Official Fantastic Four and to realign them as enemies of Dr. Doom, now that Valeria Richards isn't there to soften the tin-plated dictator's heart. Plus, the Thing has a vociferous cult following of "internet jerks."

Fraction's having fun, and this time, unlike his Defenders, it's fun we can all enjoy.