It's no secret that we here at Comic Vine love FANTASTIC FOUR and FF. With Matt Fraction taking over both titles after Jonathan Hickman's incredible run, we've been treated to issue after issue of great stories and great entertainment. It's not all fun and games as Reed Richards is keeping a dark secret from his family in F4 and Scott Lang is wants the Future Foundation to "end" Doctor Doom in FF.
Because we want and need to know more, we took the opportunity to ask Matt some questions to try to find out what we can expect.
Comic Vine: When you decided to take over both FF and the FANTASTIC FOUR, what did you feel were your biggest challenges? How did you conquer them?
Matt Fraction: Well, I didn't really decide -- but I had a story I thought I could tell so I decided to pitch for it. And lucky for me my bosses liked it. But it wasn't like I just, y'know, snapped 'em off a shelf and decided, yes, I'll be having the World's Greatest Comics Magazine or anything…
Anyway. Biggest challenges: not being like Jon [Hickman] or trying to write like Jon; not being overwhelmed by the challenge of writing the foundation stone of the Marvel Universe (still don't have that one down yet); learning how to write self-contained ensemble issues; learning how to write for Mark Bagley; learning how to write for Mike Allred, without whom I'd literally not be working in comics; learning how to be okay with it maybe not all coming together the second you put pen to paper, how I was going to find time two write two new, tonally-different, structurally ambitious team books before I'd even finished years-long runs on MIGHTY THOR and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN… it's all been big challenges. And I haven't conquered them -- any of them I don' t think. You just try harder every month and stick to your game plan.== TEASER ==
CV: We are only a few issues into both these series, and it's already been a fun read. What kind of a story are you looking to tell?
MF: Well, fun, that's a good word, if we've not demonized it too much; something true to the spirit of the classic Stan and Jack years in terms of the inventiveness and scope; something that feels of a piece with the films Pixar produces, in terms of its tone and inclusiveness; something I could read to my kids; something that builds on everything that comes before but doesn't wallow in it; something that figures out how to show off what both Bags and Doc do so well… something that appropriately could call itself the Fantastic Four and not embarrass anybody.
I want to tell a story about a family having adventures in all of infinite time and space, in other words.
CV: Reed is hiding a big secret from his family. What can you say about the possible repercussions of his actions and of withholding information from those closest to him? What kind of a lesson is there for us in this story?
MF: Well, it causes our first-act pivot, that's for sure, and the repercussions will be massive. The sickness, the secret, is the heart of the F4 super-arc. And as we saw in F4 #4… it's going to spread. And they're all trapped in a car with one another, so, y'know-- MAXIMUM DRAMA!
I suppose you don't have to be Dr. Freud to see through my clever obfuscation on the topic of what secrets do to families, huh?
The adventure becomes a frantic race for a cure, all while trying to protect the kids and dealing with… well, stuff. You'll see.
CV: Of all these characters, which is the most fun to write?
MF: ALL of them? There's… like… 24?
I'm finding my moments with all of them. The Fish Kids and Willie Lumpkin have my favorite moments of FF #5, for example; Franklin and the D.E.A.T.H.E.R.B.I.E.S. have my favorite moment of F4 #6… I dunno if I'm really calling them the D.E.A.T.H.E.R.B.I.E.S. or not… you'll see what I mean.
I take it as a sign that I'm hitting my goal, at this point, since I'm enjoying writing them all so much. I think that's part of why the F4 has persevered as long as it has -- they're perfect characters together. It's the perfect ensemble.
CV: You've chosen a group of very unlikely characters to head the Future Foundation in the absence of the Fantastic Four. How did you pick these characters, and why? What qualities did they have that led you to think they would make a solid team?
MF: How was… well, I thought about the story I wanted to tell and worked backwards, basically. Except Darla, which was an off-the-cuff joke from Bendis that hit so square we all knew the second he said it that I was taking it. And… and I think I picked them mostly because I believed the F4 characters would've picked them. Reed Richards has a friend in anguish at losing his child; so he gifts him a building full of children and a chance to use his scientific and heroic gifts to heal the world. Sue understands everything being the mother of the Marvel U's First Family entails and she'd choose a multitasking supergod queen; Ben would want the one person he could never lick in a brawl; and Johnny, y'know. Johnny tries.
And I hope as FF goes on you'll all see just how great a choice they were.
CV: In issue #3 of FF there are several scenes where Scott goes after Darla to try to get her to return to the FF and there seems to be some romantic tension there. Are you and Mike Allred purposely teasing this interaction between these two or are we reading a bit too much into their interaction?
MF: No, no, I think you're exactly where we want you to be. How crazy would that be? And how fun to get to do a romance in the middle of all this otherworldly, other-timely craziness.
CV: What can we expect to see in this interaction between this future Johnny Storm and Darla?
MF: In FF #5 she asks him if he remembers her.
It doesn't go well.
CV: What can fans expect to see in future issues? How will the FF deal with Doctor Doom?
MF: The secret life of Julius Ceasar; a recreation of the classic Namor/Human Torch Battle of the Bowery; death at the hands of Ultron; the big bang; a the big crunch; a pool party; Yancy Street back in the day; the Goth Kids arrive at the FF, and the stunning secret identity of Ben Franklin, finally revealed.
And Doom, of course. Always Doom. Is Doom the Annihilating Conqueror real, imaginary, or inevitable?
FF #4 is now on sale. FANTASTIC FOUR #5 (AU) is on sale March 27.