What I want from the Future Foundation? A franchise! The Avengers have theirs, the X-Men have had one for a long time, and even the Hulk has a franchise of books. I think its the Fantastic Four/Future foundations turn. I want to take a like a the FF and some other titles adn characters that I think would fit into a FF franchise.
The Future Foundation
Even though I haven't been an avid reader of the Fantastic Four comics prior to Johnathan Hickman's run I have always held the team in high regard due to it introducing two of my favorite characters in all of comics, Silver Surfer and the Black Panther. FF for me is the title that created the Marvel universe. The title was the readers way of getting to know Marvel Earth and the universe it inhabited. Inhumans, Kree, Skulls as well as the Negative Zone were all discovered by the team of adventurer/superheroes.
One of my greatest disappointments over the last couple of years was the exclusion of the FF in the epic events of Annihilation. If there was ever a time for the FF to go out into space and get involved with an event it was then. Annihilus one of the FF's many foes was at the center of the conflict and while I wouldn't want them to be the ones who stopped the Annihilation Wave I would have like to see them interact with the cosmos up and coming top cop Nova. Which I think would of been fitting since the demise of the Human Torch was at the hands of Annihilation Wave.
All I know is that I really enjoy Johnathan Hickman's work (SHIELD, Secret Warriors, Pax Romana) and Steve Epting (Captain America) is one of my favorite Marvel artist so to me this title is hitting all the right notes.
Spider-man is another book that I'm not an avid reader of but I do enjoy his appearances in the Avengers books. With Johnny Storm the Human Torch dead Spidey's addition to the Future Foundation is one I see as natural and making more sense then him being an Avenger, I would prefer if he was a reserve New Avenger and not part of the main squad lead by Steve Rogers.
I really like when past developments come full circle, in this instance its Spider-man in his first appearance wanted to join the Fantastic Four to make some money and not be hated by the masses. Unfortunately for Spidey he had to reveal his identity to his potential teammates which something at the time he could not do. Also there was no pay. Now no so much. Spidey gets his start in FF#1 ( check out the preview) and it seems at the request of the Human Torch!
Silver Surfer: An all new beginning!
Greg Pak's excitement over getting to pen this title has me a little happy since I really enjoyed his Planet Hulk and War Machine runs. He seems to have been a long time fan of the character according to his blog. Pak definitely has a talent for writing character with a lot of inner torment and creating colossal problems for them to face.
His take on Silver Surfer in the pages of Planet Hulk were spot on for me and the creation of the Silver Savage was a real treat as well. It displayed an understanding of the character and some of the complex hidden desires of Norrin Radd who gets lost in the SS persona.
I've always thought about Norrin Radd before he became the herald of Galactus as the kind of guy that was appreciative for living on a peaceful world but craved adventure and conflict all of which were lacking on the Utopian world of Zenn-La. As the Silver Savage (or Sakaarson another name I like) incarnation he expresses his desire to be a Warrior.
I like the idea of the Silver Surfer being involved in the Future Foundation. In a lot of ways it makes sense for Norrin Radd to want to be around the kind of intelligent scientific people that were common to his home world of Zenn-La. Earth being his favorite planet he should kind of make it his base of operations but he shouldn't be there too long.
It will take a talented writer like Greg Pak to merge the two separate sides of the Silver Surfer (that of scientist and that of a warrior) and make it work and appealing to the comic buying community.
Fantastic Force (or Astonishing X-Men?): Black Panther and Storm
The X-Men franchise continuously makes me say WTF! I have no Idea why they even call those books the X-Men when in reality its just the Cyclops and Emma show. Don't get me wrong I like Cyclops a lot but over the last couple of years that's all the books have been focusing on. When I think of X-Men I think of the 90's cartoon and X-Men Evolution. The X-Men have always been about racism, discrimination, and generally being alienated but that doesn't feel like what the X-books are about right now. Some of the stories are good but not what I'm interested in at the moment, with the exception of Uncanny X-force.
One of my fave X-Men is Storm and when she got married to the Black Panther I was all stoked. As one of the greatest leaders of the X-Men and on a mission to save former mutant on the African continent I was sure that there was some big plan in store for the weather witch. But alas her usage in the X-books was non existent and her appearances in the Black Panther books were good but didn't follow the kind of natural progression I thought it would. The House of M crossover issue of Black Panther #7 had some interesting implications for the couple. I know a lot Storm fans think of the pairing as something they weren't prepared for but I chalk that up to bad editorial on the part of the X-Men's editors. Seriously there was like no follow up to anything that happened to Storm outside of the X-Men titles and it reeks of creator not wanting to share their toys.
To me the pairing of these two characters works perfectly. Especially for the circumstances they were presented in at the time. Storm out to save mutant after the events of House of M seemed like a plot thread that could of lead into Black Panther and herself forming their own X-Men team or the creation of an international school for mutants. With members like Gentle, Franklin Richards (a very powerful mutant), Prodigy (who is criminally underused), Professor X (who told Storm on her wedding day that she achieved his dream of a world in which humans and mutants coexist), Beast (a staple of the Astonishing crew), Gambit, Photon, and Amadeus Cho (thanks jayskee for the suggestion) this Astonishing title could of had a Fantastic Force feel to it as well.
Or Fantastic Force?
Black Panthers ties to the Fantastic Four and as a member of the 8 smartest people on the planet should almost guarantee his spot on the Future Foundation, almost. With all this Man Without Fear stuff going on I can't see him being involved with the high adventure/Sci-Fi aspect of the FF as BP:MWOF is more of a crime noir kind of book. Hopefully the current direction will lead to something good. I actually like David Liss writing on the title and the art by Francesco Francavilla is amazing.
To say the least I like my Black Panther intelligent and high tech. A spot on the Future Foundation would be ideal for me and I think its the best place to explore his character properly. Tchalla is such a complex character that you can take him in so many directions and place him in so many genre. He can be a King and play on the political intrigue of his country, or he can be a globetrotting superhero taking down terrorist organizations like AIM, or he can be a one of the 8 smartest people on the planet and invent stuff like Shadow Physics, Tchalla can even be a street level crime fighter teaming up with the likes of Daredevil and Luke Cage.
Its a good sign when a comic makes me wish for more so here is to hoping that FF is the beginning of more good stuff from Marvel. I can only hope that some of my desires are realized in the coming months. Only time will tell.