Oh, “FF,” how you love to tease me. The last two issues of “FF” were everything I’d hoped for from the comic; the story was moving forward full steam ahead, we were still getting fun little cultural and character moments from Jonathan Hickman’s script, and it made me anxious to see what would happen next.
As it turned out, the answer was an issue that threw out the entire cast (both major and supporting) and told a side-story about what the Inhumans have been up to since “War of Kings.” On some level, I suppose we should be glad that Hickman is explaining how the Inhumans (including the presumed-dead Black Bolt) have suddenly returned to Earth, instead of ruling the Kree Empire. There was clearly some thought put into the decision to bring them back, and to make it part of the bigger story.
The problem is that in doing so, Hickman’s derailed the entire “FF” story to date, and done so with a less-than-interesting issue in its place. The Supreme Intelligence orating facts and percentages is about as interesting as watching paint dry, and I had no idea that a depiction of genocide could be so dull. There’s no passion in this story; I can understand the lack of that attribute for the Supreme Intelligence, but it pervades the entire comic.
It probably doesn’t help that Greg Tocchini’s art is underwhelming here. Aside from an interesting two-page splash of the Inhumans and the cast of “War of Kings,” the pages feel flat and static, and characters are bizarrely featureless. (Look at the two Kree in the panel underneath the reveal of the Supreme Intelligence. Seriously, they’re each missing half of a face.) The bits in the art that I liked the most were all, upon inspection, the work of colorist Paul Mounts; Tocchini’s art has been stronger than this in the past, alas.
I suspect that when read as a whole, this issue (and presumably the next one) will read better, but as part of a serialized story the extreme shift in characters and location feels frustrating. The last several installments leading up to this point were so much on point that this feels like an ill-timed swerve. Issues like “FF” #6 seem determined to make people want to wait for the collection.