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Impossible Toys

July 11, 2010

Fantastic Four #580 picks right back up with the Future Foundation, which has already picked its first project to undertake.  However, Mr. Fantastic had promised Franklin Richards and Leech that he would take them to the unveiling of a new toy line.  Since he’s busy, he gets the Human Torch to do it. So the Human Torch takes them to this big toy store, which just happens to be owned by Arcade.  Arcade is working with the Impossible Man to deliver this new line of toys based on the Man himself, and Arcade claims that he’s gone straight.  Each of the toys also has a little bit of the Impossible Man inside them (literally).  Just as Arcade and Impossible Man unveil the toys, Arcade drops a giant anvil on the floor, then takes control of all the toys and has them attack Impossible Man, Franklin, Leech, and the Torch.  Franklin inadvertently does something, bringing a giant stuffed dinosaur to life and knocking the toy controls out of Arcade’s hands.  The Torch burns all of the toys, and Impossible Man holds on to Arcade until the police arrive.  In a Nu-World interlude, we see Ted Castle and his new synthetic Alyssa Moy escape, Natalie X die, Lightwave wait, and Dr. Banner turn into some new version of the Maestro over the course of over seven hundred years.  The Future Foundation calls in the Thing and reveals to them that, on the suggestion of the Moloids, they’ve figured out a way to turn him back into a human.  They basically came up with something that should give him the same “off” switch that everyone else has, though it only lasts for about a week a year, and it’s involuntary.  Of course, Ben is still more than happy to accept this, as he gets the chance to be human again.

In general, Jonathan Hickman is doing fairly well with these short little one-issue stories.  He uses them to advance various ongoing subplots while telling whole, individual tales.  The Future Foundation is just a great idea, as it not only rejuvenates the F4’s often stagnant supporting cast, but it also gives the whole book a lot of story potential and forward momentum.  It’s a great place for Valeria Richards particularly.  I’ll admit, the super-smart Dragon Man (now wearing glasses to indicate his intelligence) is a bit silly, but it’s a very good idea.  Now, the Thing has been cured temporarily multiple times now, and I would have liked to see a reference to those.  But the whole “binary endgame” concept that Hickman came up with is really cool and innovative, so I’m interested to see where Ben goes now that he’s “cured.”  I just hope he doesn’t end up being the member of the team who “dies” or whatever in the upcoming story.  The main story was nice and fun, and it was a great chance to see Franklin.  I was a tad confused with his power discharge.  I know that his future version has unlocked those powers again, but shouldn’t the Human Torch have expressed some confusion with that dinosaur turning on Arcade?  That’s a minor hiccup that, if resolved, would have made that part of the story clearer.  Still wish that there were no more looks at Nu-World though.  As for the art, poor Neil Edwards takes two steps forward and one step back.  He’s already improved massively since he first came on the title, as you can see with characters like Valeria and the Torch.  But he still sometimes picks really odd ways to draw things (hippy Impossible Man, the anvil panel, which isn’t all that clear), and he sometimes just draws some ugly faces (Arcade when the unveiling starts).  But he’s getting better, and I hope it stays that way.  So the big earth-shattering F4 storyline is now even closer.  But first, we get a story with Dr. Doom and Nathaniel Richards.  S.H.I.E.L.D. reference upcoming?  I should hope so!

Plot: 8.6      Art: 7.1      Dialogue: 8.8      Overall: 8.4

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