killed off the Human Torch. Now, they’ve found his replacement, an unknown up-and-comer with a decidedly unmemorable name: Spider-Man. That’s right, Marvel’s number one superhero is joining Marvel’s oldest superhero team, according to the Associated Press. The twist is that the Fantastic Four are getting a new name – the Future Foundation, which really rolls of the tongue – and new costumes. Now, I have a terrible guilty addiction to new superhero costumes, and I kind of dig the bold choice to make the costumes monochromatic. (Also, yahoo for hexagons!) But there’s no denying that the new FF look like a misfit gang of stormtroopers. Which brings up the big question: Is the Future Foundation just a shameless marketing ploy doomed to certain failure, or is it a shameless marketing ploy doomed to certain failure that we’ll nevertheless remember fondly decades from now?Last month, Marvel
Cynics can point out that Spider-Man will now be a member of two hallmark superhero teams – he’s also been on the Avengers for the last few years. (If they plug the character into a splinter group of the X-Men, it’ll be a hat trick!) It’s difficult to properly imagine how Peter Parker can maintain a hectic enough solo career to justify the thrice-monthly Amazing Spider-Man comic book, freelance with two separate superhero teams, and also presumably sleep at some point. I mean, is he Peter Parker or James Franco?
Comic book history is full of shameless marketing ploys, and even if the Future Foundation seems silly now, it’s really no sillier than the last time Spidey joined the FF: the brief, shining era of the New Fantastic Four. The cast then was Spidey, Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider, and to a young lad like me in the first bloom of discovering comics, there were literally no heroes who seemed cooler. And mind you, we’re talking Gray Hulk – who’s so cool, he makes Green Hulk look like She-Hulk – and Wolverine-Wearing-Normal-Clothes (a.k.a. “Barfly-Wolverine”). If the New FF featured Spider-Man in a black costume, my head would have exploded. (Seriously guys, it was the best trading card ever.)
I’m skeptical that the whole Future Foundation thing will really work out. My favorite Fantastic Four stories are the purest, with all the original members doing their lovingly-dysfunctional family thing. But I have a profound geek-love for mass comic-book shake-ups, so I’m willing to give the newest new FF a shot. What do you think, readers? Are you experiencing serious Spider-Man fatigue? Wish they’d just bring back the Human Torch already? Do you just not like hexagons?
Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich