As a standalone issue, there isn’t anything particularly fantastic about FF #3. It’s all setup, from the Dr. Doom gathering of Reed’s Rogues to the layers of mischief the alternate-Reeds get themselves into. Just because they look the part doesn’t mean they pack the 616 Reed’s moral compass. From making deals with the devil — at least on an intergalactic scale — to ensuring their own greed-driven tragedy triumphs over the good of the galaxies, these Reeds and the dilemma they’ve directed has now posed a threat to all those connected to Reed Richards, this story arc’s Kevin Bacon.
Writer Jonathan Hickman shines most when penning ironic scenarios into play. First, Doom’s invite to Diablo, Mad Thinker, and the bunch call for a “How to defeat Mr. Fantastic 101” lecture of sorts. Aren’t they shocked to see who’s there right alongside Doom to give the briefing! And Valeria. Who would’ve known that her own deal with the devil, in this case Metal-Faced Doom, actually came through the most earnest of means? There just had to be a reason for opposing “dad.”
All metaphors aside, the 22 pages don’t contain much “clobbering time” or even a meaningful ghost-colored Spidey. This is the first issue where his presence means nothing, as even his meeting with one of the Fantastic — err, Future Foundation’s villains does little to appease. Thankfully Steve Epting’s art makes everything look so fascinating, so epic, and so tragic, that even an ish with little more than talking heads feels exhilarating.
FF certainly stands as one of Marvel’s top books at the moment, so even a slow issue such as this month’s does little to detract the notion. You really shouldn’t miss next month for this cherished family’s entire conglomerate (sans Torch, of course) versus these intergalactic-elastic, skunk-sideburn-wearing, unlimited-intelligence-sporting clones. Or something to that effect.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ray Tate also reviewed FF #3. Read his thoughts, too!