Powers: Dragon-Man gets his powers from robotic materials as well as alchemic potions made by Diablo. He is super humanly strong, can produce a stream of methane gas from it’s mouth hot enough to melt most materials, can fly, and has a huge intellect. He was at one point a mindless villain of the Fantastic Four, but Valeria Richards gave him sentience.
Importance to FF: As mentioned above, he was once a villain to the Fantastic Four and this issue’s guest stars, The Power Pack. But then he was imprisoned in the Negative Zone and enlisted in a galactic war. With the help of Komodo and Valeria Richards, he changed from villainy to heroics, earning a place on the Future Foundation and adopting a peaceful view of life, doing his best to avoid conflict.
The One With Power Pack
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Dragotta
Color: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Mike Choi
Editors: John Denning, Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Breevort
Voices in your head: The Mad Celestials leave to confront Galactus and Kristoff Von Doom starts freaking out due to the loss of his father. Nathaniel tries to comfort him, while Alex calls in the Power Pack, who take the Future Foundation to The Hub. During the ride, Franklin talks to his future self about his part to come in this battle and Bentley hits on Katie Power and gets clocked in the face. At The Hub, they face advanced moloids, but with Power Pack’s help, defeats them by breaking the devices giving them superior intellect and devolving them once again. After repairing Sol’s Anvil, the Richards leave the Future Foundation to join The Fantastic Four and they face the Celestials, using Sol’s Anvil to try and stop them. It is unsuccessful and Franklin wonders if he should use his power, but then his future self and future Valeria show up to save the day.
We need to talk about Peter: Peter is on panel for three panels this issue and doesn’t have any dialogue. Hickman however stated over at CBR after being asked about Spider-Man’s future in the titles: Hickman-“Spider-Man will pop up in both books, but I think the issue you’re looking for to explain how all those things fit together is “FF” #17.”
This issue was ultimately unneeded, showing only three additional scenes outside of last week’s Fantastic Four #603 and not even fascinating ones at that. Instead, we get most of the events of Fantastic Four 603 from Franklin’s perspective as he talks to Future Franklin about his powers. Still there a couple of good character moments, like Valeria apologizing to Kristoff about Doom, Bentley being Bently and getting his ass kicked for it, and Franklin asking his future self if he ever had some
one in his life like Leech. The monologue in Sue’s head was one of the best parts in Fantastic Four 603, but when it comes to Franklin’s, it’s one of the worst parts.
The worst part of this issue though is the complete waste of Power Pack. In the pages they show up, they are given little to no personality, not even mentioned by individual names and drawn in a way that makes it hard to pick them out from the regular cast. I was genuinely excited to see what Hickman was going to do with the Power Pack, since he has made the children of the Future Foundation some of the most fascinating characters in Marvel, but this is the worst use of any character in Hickman’s Fantastic Four Epic to date.
On the art side, I sorely miss Juan Bobilo this issue. His art had a Sunday Morning cartoon vibe to it and that really worked for a title about children heroes. This new art, courtesy of Nick Dragotta, isn’t bad, isn’t good, it’s just bland. There is no flair to it, there is nothing to compliment about it, and it’s hard to insult it without throwing the same complaints I had against Juan’s art at it. Seriously, Mike Choi has been killing it on the covers, get him to do some interior work, I’m sure it’d be fantastic.
In summary, this issue was really pointless. It had one of the first showings of Power Pack in awhile and completely wasted the opportunity. It had a chance to add more gravitas to the final chapters of this event, but failed in that aspect. I’ve been recommending you pick up both titles for this event so far, but you could easily skip this issue and miss absouletely nothing important. Save you $2.99 and don’t get your hopes up for some cool Power Pack moments, you won’t find much here if you like them. Despite that, Franklin and Valeria are strong characters carrying this title, even when the hyped up guest stars and art can’t.