the_mighty_monarch's FF #4 - Escalation review

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A Moloid's Guide to Love and Evil

Now that the whole surrogate team is all together, it's time to start exploring the characters more. Unlike the iconic main Fantastic Four, this FF is a new team. These characters have their history, but as a team they're completely new, and the Future Foundation is still a fairly recent group themselves. This issue really builds upon the various interactions between the characters, especially between the temporary FF and the Future Foundation.

Ant-Man came up with a pretty drastic and massive scale project for the FF in the wake of the bizarre events set off by the return of Johnny Storm from the timestream. As a reader, I was blown away, impressed, and intrigued by his mission statement. The kids of the Foundation on the other hand... they have some serious misgivings about it, especially the outspoken Alex Power. These are kids who have seen lots of action, sure, but have been taught, at this special school, the pursuit of knowledge and greater peace. This is a huge moral conundrum for them, except maybe Bentley but he doesn't have a lot to say about it. The whole idea is interesting, but the counterarguments have a valid point, something already explored a bit during Mark Waid's run. But it's clear Scott Lang has a different approach in mind than what Reed did. A much more rounded and intellectual approach.

This issue, like this month's Fantastic Four, has a Valentine's Day theme, but it's significantly less forced. While the Fantastic Four issue jumped into a story that seemed better saved for later, this romantic story has a much more timely significance, focusing a lot on the school's interactions with She-Hulk, most notably, the ever comical Moloids. The Moloids have already displayed an entertaining and endearing sense of adoration and almost worship towards The Thing, a.k.a. 'The Ben,' so it seems only natural they'd develop a similar attachment to his direct replacement, She-Hulk, but with a much more romantic twist to it. They still seem a bit shy to reveal their love for her directly, but as soon as she leaves for her 'not a date but still might be a date,' they're adorably disheartened. So how are they going to 'save' the woman they love from the advances of another man? They'e going to learn 'how to evil' from the resident future supervillain Bentley-23. Thus begins an almost Loony Toons-esque journey of She-Hulk on her 'date' with Wyatt Wingfoot as Bentley and the Moloids attempt to ruin things behind the scenes. The whole issue is chock full of heartwarming moments, and hilarious backfires from all sorts of wild super science sources.

But this issue isn't just a side tale, it sets up an exploration of Medusa for next issue, as she does some pretty odd and unnerving things in this issue. It appears as though she may have outed the future Human Torch as a fake, but at the same time, other actions she takes in this issue throw her entire motivations into question, which is rather odd considering what I've seen from her previously in Hickman's run. Regardless, it has me at the edge of my seat, and the balance between dark mysteries, powerful character work, and gut-busting humor is just perfect.

In Conclusion: 5/5

This series just keeps getting better and better each issue, even if it's on a much more grounded level than the supercosmic Fantastic Four companion series. If you think you don't care for the members of the replacement team, I implore you to give this series a chance anyways. I talked a friend of mine into giving this a shot, not matter how much he hated Ant-Man and She-Hulk, and because of Fraction he decided to go for it and he LOVES it. It's the perfect balance of everything a comic needs, and I can guarantee you'll love to follow the adventures of these 'B-listers.'

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