When the Fantastic Four were lost to the Multiverse, fans knew it was only a matter of time until they returned. But the FUTURE FOUNDATION they left behind to finish their cosmic mission? Nobody is going to see them coming. And now that we have an exclusive preview of the first issue, it's clear fans should be prepared for almost anything.
While originally introduced as Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four's collection of bright young minds, the new incarnation of the Future Foundation has a more fantastic roster than ever. Alex Power remains as the team leader, with his sister (and fellow Power Pack teammate) Julie back in all her rainbow glory. Throw in a moody genius clone, one of Wakanda's future stars, and a literal Dragon Man just to name a few, and it's hard to imagine what stories writer Jeremy Whitley, artist Will Robson, and colorist Greg Menzie WON'T be telling. But first, the team will need an expert in breaking people out of prison... and who better than the Guardians of the Galaxy's own spiritual mentor, Yondu Udonta?
Screen Rant got the chance to talk to Whitley and Robson about the new Foundation's mission to find and resurrect the pieces of Molecule Man, their ally who was scattered across the Multiverse in the same battle that plucked the Richards family out of Marvel's Universe. Along with their description of the new series comes your first look at Yondu's criminal genius in action, the new roster of FUTURE FOUNDATION heroes (in their brand new, personalized uniforms), and Takeshi Miyazawa's variant cover for Issue #1 coming this August.
After so many years absent from the Marvel Universe, the return of the Fantastic Four was a huge event for fans. Was their homecoming as much of a cause for celebration for yourself, as well? I have to imagine getting to tell a part of the family's new story with a re-imagined Future Foundation is a job any Fantastic Four fan would jump at.
WR: I’ll let Jeremy answer that mostly, all I can add is it’s definitely awesome to work in that universe, hopefully Jeremy can sneak something Thing in for me to tackle!
JW: Yeah, it was huge for me. I think I have the experience of a lot of fans around my age of having grown up thinking of the Fantastic Four as being less exciting than the X-Men and Spider-Man, but then having been reading comics during two of the best runs of FF related in comics in decades between Hickman and Fraction. I was a huge fan of their runs and had a special place in my heart for Fraction and Allred's version of the Future Foundation. Seeing so much of what those runs had built taken off the table for a long time was tough, but then to be part of the team that gets to bring all of that stuff back is just amazing. While Dan gets to run around with the first family of the Marvel Universe, I adore the chance to get to play with these wonderful teenage geniuses and have so much history to pull from in the Fantastic Four and everything adjacent to them.
So far Marvel has revealed that the Future Foundation will be on their own 'search and rescue' mission. That sounds like it will be an easier story for newer fans to jump into (with an introduction from you both coming in Fantastic Four #12). For readers who may not be as well versed in the history of the Foundation, what will they need to know/be prepared for hopping on board?
JW: I think there's a very low barrier to entry. Obviously many of the characters we're using have decades of history in the comics, but we're doing our best to make it accessible to every reader. While I'd encourage people to go back and read Hickman and Fraction's run on Future Foundation because they're great, we're gonna tell you everything you need to get up and running - and we're going to be up and running fast. This first arc is packed with action and adventure and all centers around a prison break from one of the most dangerous prisons in the universe. We want you to jump in and hold on for the ride, regardless of your history with the characters.
For anyone who takes one look at the new team assembled in these pages and covers, the attitude and personality of the book almost speaks for itself, giving a clear sense of this kind of adventure. Were you both on the same page, between the story and style, from the beginning?
JW: Oh yeah. I had been working out some of the plot points of the book with Marvel for a while, so I had a little bit of a head start. But as soon as I found out Will was going to be illustrating it I tracked him down and asked what he wanted to draw. He loves monsters and aliens and big action, so I've done my best to slant things toward what excites him in the book. Also, Dragon Man. Will loves drawing Dragon Man, which will be obvious to anybody reading this book.
WR: We have worked together to make this a true collaboration. Not only between us, but between the whole creative team. I’ve never been on a book with this much collaborative spirit before and it’s making me push my art to new levels.
Whenever a story follows the Fantastic Four family into the larger Multiverse, it tends to lead into some strange corners, really breaking the limits, in terms of the visuals, of what readers are used to. With the Foundation's mission taking them into the Multiverse, how did the visual style of the new series take shape?
JW: I'll let Will speak to this in greater detail, but as for the styling of the characters and their new costumes, our goal was to capture the idea that these are teenage geniuses who are really left to their own devices for the first time while they're jetting through the Multiverse. We wanted to give them each personal touches that felt like they were given access to make their own decisions about fashion and what's "cool" for a superhero costume. Some people kept it minimal, some stylized, but Bentley 23 did the most. He's now got a leather jacket, purple sunglasses, and pouches everywhere. I hope that new readers will take a look at the costume designs and instantly get a feel for the characters.
WR: Stylistically, I’m a cartoony fan. I like to keep things bouncy and focus a lot on the acting of the characters. For the look of everything, it’s just what speaks to me and the team!
Special attention obviously needs to be paid to the Foundation's "guest professor" Yondu Udonta, who has enjoyed newfound fame thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Even though James Gunn and Michael Rooker's version of Yondu isn't exactly who that character was originally, you can't argue with how memorable he's proven to be. Has this Yondu been made in that new mold, the old, or maybe a combination?
WR: GOTG is my favourite marvel film, and us dealing with a prison break means that there’s a lot of influence of that film in the book. I love Yondu and he’s a lot of fun to play with, definitely leaning more into the Rooker on my end.
JW: Mostly our Yondu takes after the newer version, who has also popped up in a few places in the Marvel Universe recently. While I know the original has his fans, it's hard to deny the dirtbag charm of the Rooker version and when you're a bunch of (mostly) upright children who find yourself needing to break into a space prison, that Yondu is exactly who you want in your corner, which is exactly how he got there. He's the guest professor they needed for this job.
The original Future Foundation got its name and its mission from Reed Richards being dissatisfied about how science was being used - or ignored - to improve the world. That idea is obviously relevant to the world today, so will the series tackle real world issues, or is it more about capturing that ambitious, dreamer spirit than literally solving the world's problems?
JW: As important as I think the first is, since we're not on Earth and are attempting to reassemble the pieces of a cosmic entity, I think the dreamer spirit is much more in the forefront. The Future Foundation has been through a hundred different realities and come out of it full of ideas and ambition. Their goal is to solve big problems - any problems. The harder to deal with the better. And given their resources, they can bring in any guest professor from the multiverse to teach them how to do nearly anything. I think they're a more powerful force than anyone realizes and they are about to get tested with some very big problems.
Final question: Since you won't brag, just how unprepared are readers for what your storytelling partner has in store for them?
JW: Oh they can't possibly be ready. I'm doing my best to throw twists and big ideas at the wall to challenge Will and he keeps coming back with even bigger and better versions of what I had in mind. He's an incredible talent and anybody who sees these issues is going to know that. Also, Dragon Man. He draws that giant fire breathing android with such love, I just can't even tell you guys.
WR: Jeremy is the best writer I’ve ever worked with. Usually in my experience it’s a “here’s the script” and no real communication between writer and artist — I hate that! The great comic book writers and artists have always worked together, because comics is a true collaboration. I change some things in my art, and Jeremy changed some of my art with his story. He wants to make me happy and same on my end. Hopefully we will collaborate for many years to come.
A BRAND-NEW SERIES STRAIGHT FROM THE PAGES OF FANTASTIC FOUR! When the Richards family is called back to Earth to be the Fantastic Four again, they left behind the Future Foundation - a think tank of the most brilliant young minds in the universe - with one mission: to find the pieces of and rebuild their friend Molecule Man. But that's proved harder than imagined as this crew of young geniuses, Atlanteans, Mutants, Moloids and androids have run into every problem in the Multiverse. Now, with the leadership of Alex and Julie Power and a little extra firepower from guest professor Yondu Udonta, the team will undergo their most dangerous mission yet - a PRISON BREAK! Jeremy Whitley (UNSTOPPABLE WASP) and Will Robson (GREAT LAKES AVENGERS; Spawn) take the Future Foundation on a heart-pounding journey across time and space!
Future Foundation #1 will be available from your local comic book shop on August 7th, 2019, or direct from Marvel Comics.