Spider-Man joins the Fantastic Four, gets new white costume: Shameless marketing ploy or shameless marketing ploy that we might actually enjoy?

fantastic-four-spidermanImage Credit: Marvel EntertainmentLast month, Marvel 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? 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

 

Jan 14 2011 05:43 PM ET  

‘Jeopardy’ Robot: Horrible machine defeats humanity’s best and brightest

Listen, we all know that robots are going to take over the world any second now. But do they have to be so freaking smug about it? Take Watson, the terrifying Jeopardy-playing robot who resembles the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey and has a voice that makes everything sound like an advertisement for hand cream. Watson will compete against Jeopardy grand masters Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings in a “Human Vs. Machine” showdown that will air Feb. 14-16. However, there’s a video of a press demonstration circulating the Internet, and it doesn’t look good, fellow humans. Watson walks away from this round with a serious lead. However, there is a silver lining: Watson fails miserably in the category “Children’s Book Authors.” Awww, what’s the matter, Watson? You never read Dr. Seuss when you were a kid? Oh, that’s right: You were never a kid. Stupid robot. Check out the video below:

http://widgets.vodpod.com/w/video_embed/Video.5331493

Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich


Comments (88 total) Add your comment
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  • Daniel F

    Darren, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN now only ships twice per month.

    Jonathan Hickman’s FANTASTIC FOUR was the best comic book series of 2010. I have no doubt in my mind that his FF — Future Foundation — will also be utterly (mind the pun) fantastic.

    • Brett

      Daniel needs to broaden his world view.

    • john

      i really need that suit

  • Monty

    This sentence will surely let my true geek flag fly, but the ‘new fantastic four’ that you were referring to involving Spidey, Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider was a 1 off “WHAT IF” comic, wasn’t it? You remember “WHAT IF” comics right?

    • Christopher

      No. In the regular series, those 4 replaced the Fantastic Four when they were away for too long, and are technically reservists. (And She-Hulk spent some time in place of The Thing, I believe.)

      • EC

        yes, She-hulk replaced the thing right after Secret Wars I.

      • Greg

        I believe the What-If one-off you are thinking of was What-If #1 “What if Spiderman Joined the Fantastic Four?” and then they all have 5’s on their chests, but it’s the original Fantastic Four, plus Spidey. See, your freak flag can fly proud, someone’s a bigger freak than you. :)

      • Mac

        The Fantasic Four have had many different rosters. Wasn’t Medusa in the FF?

      • Joel

        That version of the FF was just for a few issues. It can hardly be considered a classic era. It was a fun story, though. I think they did re-unite for one more story after that, but it was more of a footnote in the FF history.

      • Jordan

        yeah madusa was in a run of the F.F. when Sue left Reed because he was endangering their child, later he actually shoots the child, making him brain dead, and making Medusa stay longer.

    • BigBOO

      You are BOTH right. In the early 1990’s duringWalt Simonson’s run, issues #347 thru #349 deal with Spidey, Ghost Rider, Wolverine and the Hulk teaming up to find the real FF who’ve gone missing. That same group of characters were brought back in a completely different “What IF?” story almost two decades later.

      • Tim

        And BigBoo just won the internetz.

      • ahhhhh yeah

        I have this “What if” comic somewhere. The new fantastic four (Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-man, and Ghost Rider) stay together and move into the Baxter Building. They do pretty good job together until a group of villains (one from each hero’s respective stables) attacks and puts a hurting on the new team. The villains are about to finish them off, that is until Dr. Doom shows up and straight murders all the bad guys. Why? Because only Doom shall be the one to destroy the fantastic four! Then he just roles out. LIKE. A. BOSS.

    • Bipolar Chick

      Oh, “What if the Phoenix had not died” best What if ever!

      • ahhhhh yeah

        “What if…the x-men lost inferno?” Wolverine eats a baby. game over.

      • Carl C

        Sorry, my vote, hands down, is for “What If The Invisible Girl Had Died,” definitely in my top two of the saddest comics I’ve ever read.

      • critic

        what about Hurtlocker over Avatar?

    • Darren Franich

      The New FF were indeed a real thing for about two seconds, but the “What If?” issue you’re referring to is definitely in the top ten “What If”s ever. (Right up there with “What If the Hulk Killed Wolverine”)

  • UGH

    Lame.
    That art is atrocious.

    • jayson

      yea, why does Reed Richards look like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson!? No seriously, I think he’s doing the People’s Eyebrow!

  • G

    Spider man just appeared in the pages of X-Men, actually… anything to distract from his appearance in Broadway, i guess.

  • JP

    As much as I hate having to defend Darren Franich, the new FF story ran for three issues in the main book. Had Art Adams art. A true geek would know that.

  • Sorry Monty But Youre Only Half Correct.

    Monty, it took place in FF #347-349. You are correct that they were featured in WHAT IF and a 1 off though.

  • Marcus

    Why is Martin Sheen on the cover of a comic book?

  • Billy

    A Hexagon ran over my shih tzu. Hexagons can suck it!!!

    R.I.P. Mr. Sprinkles

    • AndrewJ

      Heptagons rule!

  • Steve

    Makes sense – Spidey and the Human Torch were best friends; perhaps he’s joining the Future Foundation to honor Johnny. Plus, let’s not forget Peter’s a scientist in his own right himself.

    • Bbqicecream

      That is exactly the reason why Spidey joined. I believe it was Amazing Spider-Man #657 where the remaining FF play Peter a holographic message from Johnny asking him to take his place on the team following his death. PS: I actaully dig the new suit, way better than that new Spider Armor they tried to push a few issues ago.

  • Stephanie

    Ugh just revive Johnny already.
    And seriously how many teams is Spider-Man going to join? X-Men, Avengers, FF…ugh.
    I’m not particularly in love with this, obviously,haha.
    But really, I just want Johnny back.

    • Leithen

      I think he’s competing with Wolverine, who’s in multiple X titles (I know he’s a member of at least one team of X-Men and X-Force), an Avengers title, and his own.

    • Steven Kingsland

      i think i know what is happening i think that they are going to bring johnny back but as a solo artist. so to fill the hole in the team they brought spidey in personally i think johnny should get his own story and his own books.

  • krayzeman

    i like Spiderman’s costume…

  • BlackIrish4094

    Terrible and definitely a marketing ploy. Future Foundation? Whatever…

  • Temp

    I wonder what the reason is for spidey to join? I would assume the “Future Foundation’ is some kind of inititative by Reed to save the world with his funky super science. He keeps Ben and Sue around because they are family…but if your recruiting, why not get a smarter 4th wheel? Or a stronger one. Spiderman doesnt have the cosmic punch of Torch, nor the smarts of Banner/Stark/Pym/Mccoy (Seriously, how awesome would a dyed-white Beast have been???)

    • Chris

      $$$

    • Agent X

      Dyed white beast = win. it looks good, im reading , if it’s crap, oh well…. and yea, the rock did join FF and that IS the people’s eyebrow….this is the “what in the hell were they thinking?” new comic series inspired by the “what if” comics, lol.

  • Cris

    Turn the black to flourescent blue or orange and you’ve got a Tron costume. I’m not buying this whole Future Foundation thing … though, sucker that I am, I’ll probably buy the comic.

  • Chris

    I have to say, Marvel has kind of lost me. I’ve disowned Spider-Man since they pulled that One More Day garbage, and they’re trying to put him in every possible Superhero team. It just seems as if they’re whoring him out because there’s a new movie in the works and a Broadway show opening.

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