Note: In the wake of the title-altering Fantastic Four #587 where one of the team’s members…uhm, (spoilers!) “left,” Marvel is ending the series and replacing it with a new monthly, modestly titled FF. Of course FF is the common abbreviation for the Fantastic Four, but it is also the abbreviation for “Future Foundation,” a philanthropic brain-trust set up by Reed Richards about a year ago, composed not just of the superheroic Fantastic Four but all of the extended family in the Baxter Building. This refocusing gave the guys in Marvel’s wardrobe department a chance to go all out and not just re-tinker with blue & white unitards Jack Kirby sewed up back in the ’60s, but to defrock them all together and start up something new and science-y. So we gathered our own brain-trust of P:R editors and contributors to talk about the new designs. – Chris Arrant
Dean: Are these for real? Awesome looks. Elegant color choice. Very sci-fi, very 21st century. Very Apple. Deceptively simple, given the individualized detailing. Brilliant logo. (Not surprising, given Jonathan Hickman’s involvement.) Love the hexagon incorporation on Spidey’s symbol. I’ve been enjoying Hickman’s Fantastic Four run, but this kinda membership/mission/wardrobe shakeup is just the kind of spark it’s needed to kick into Must Read territory. Count me in for the Future Foundation. These are an A+.
Jonathan: My first thought is that, at this rate, Marvel’s super-heroes are going to look mighty gauche after Labor Day.
Vito: It’s so funny how we’re coming across a lot of these white costumes these days. I wonder if it’s an intentional shift toward a real “good guys wear white” cowboy mentality. In any case, I really like them. They’re sleek and a real departure from the classics. I like Brevoort’s thinking (or his explanation) behind them. Color me intrigued by those hexagon logos on the front, too. Definitely reading this when it comes out.
Jessica: Sue is totally rocking it! Very mod. I like Reed’s too, but Ben kind of looks like a member of the men’s gymnastics team representing Hexagonia at the Olympics. And I can’t look away from that gleaming white Spidey-package. I don’t really know what that says about me…
Chris: These designs look so…sterile. If any superheroes would wear labcoats it would be the Reed family, and I like the alternating hexagon pattern to symbolize the different members of the core 3.Thing’s costume especially rings true to me; the more rugged work boots and the tanktop seem like something a Yancy Streeter-like Ben Grimm would wear.
Spider-Man’s variant costume is nice. I wonder if the other guest members rotating in that fourth spot will all get a FF-ed costume design. I would have done something different with the head though–it looks like Zen the Intergalactic Ninja.
Rachel: Something about those costumes screams “video game” to me; I think it’s a combination of the hexagon motif and the way the piping is laid out. What they *don’t* project is what the article claims they’re supposed to: there’s nothing particularly bleak to them, nor that suggests mourning, nor even a new start. They’re just–there. If they say anything to me, it’s “science,” “future,” and “we just noticed that a lot of people really like Mass Effect.”
Thing is, I feel like I *should* like these costumes more than I do. They’re nods to a sort of streamlined cyberpunk aesthetic that I really dig–hell, that I *wear*. They’re really solid designs, well balanced and well drawn. They fit the “Future Foundation” idea.
As for the white costume trend–I’m against it. White is impractical, and in scene, unless it’s handled very carefully, it can really eat momentum and balance. The white costumes that have historically worked well–I’m thinking Power Girl, Apollo, maybe Fantomex–tend either to have been balanced by a lot of skin and/or contrasting colors, or to have a lot of texture and visual interest that, for the most part, I think that these (and that Iron Fist costume) lack.
Vito: I really enjoy Hickman’s super hero stories (FF, SHIELD, Secret Warriors) because they are so like MSNBC; they “lean forward.” If these are “just” plot devices, I guarantee they have more utilitarian purposes within the book. Like I said, I read a lot of Hickman books; nothing is “just” there without having a reason.
Joel: The usual disclaimer: I have none of the context for these costumes. Did something happen to Johnny? He’s on vacation, right? Touring with his band?
The hexagonal design is a pretty great update of the 4-emblem. Even though Spider-man’s emblem brings in the hex as well, the interlocking of the three hexes keeps a little distance between the remaining three full-timers and the temp. Which seems just and proper. And, when Johnny gets back from…uh, is he on Dancing The Stars? it would be easy to add a fourth hex to
the design and keep on going.
I have a knee-jerk reaction against the white, which evolved into considered dislike after reading the reason. The world seems black and white? Man, if there’s one thing I don’t want in a Fantastic Four comic, it’s moral absolutism.
Color aside, I like the design of Reed’s costume. There’re enough lines to keep it interesting, but not so many that it starts to look too ornamental. It looks action-scientisty. The Thing’s seems nicely utilitarian, as well, although I always think he looks goofy in anything other than shorts. The tops of his boots are a little unresolved. And there’s no excuse for such poor posture, Ben. Sue’s falls off the ornamental cliff, though. The darker stripes seem to be there purely to remind us of her feminine attributes, conveniently indicating where the stocking and bustier go. As for Spider-man, well, my inner 8-year old swoons at the thought of Spider-man joining the team, but, dang, Chris hit the nail on the head with the Zen the Intergalactic Ninja point.
Is Johnny working undercover for SHIELD?
Dean: Johnny’s gone to live on a farm in the Negative Zone, Joel. A nice one. With lots of room and plenty of bug-monsters. I mean superheroes.
Jessi: I’m just going to leave this right here.
I love the hexagonal emblem. It’s very science-y and ties together the members of the Fantastic Four, uh, Three. I am never going to understand why Spider-Man needs a different costume to hang with the Future Foundation, though. So when he’s called upon by the FF, he’s just going to what, change costumes? Seems a little impractical.
Really, I think I’d like the costumes more if they were in any color other than white. For now, I hope they stock up on plenty of bleach markers.
Dean: Thanks to the P:R gang for their thoughts! We leave you with Daniel Acuna’s variant cover for FF #1, which makes me think the new series is gonna rule. Bring on the future!