FF #6

Story by
Art by
Joe Quinones
Colors by
Laura Allred
Letters by
Clayton Cowles
Cover by
Marvel Comics

"FF" #6 finds Matt Fraction and guest artist Joe Quinones exploring the fact that Bentley-23 and Medusa are missing as Dragon Man puts together their absence and goes searching for them. When he comes up empty he begins to assemble the pieces to their disappearance, and what it might mean, meanwhile it's Darla Deering versus the Yancy Street Gang.

With so many great characters on the stage, this book continues struggle with finding focus. In this issue, Fraction jumps throughout the Baxter Building and though Quinones finds really wonderful ways to illustrate, it's just too much to enjoy much of what's going on. Short of a brilliant and hilariously touching page starring Mik, Korr, Turg and Tong, I wasn't able to connect to any of the stories in this installment. Darla Deering continues to be the piece that doesn't quite fit for me and inadvertently drags the book down (even beyond the silliness of the Thing suit -- which is indeed silly).

All that said, it's hard not to enjoy the pure fun and playfulness that this book so enthusiastically embraces. The way it bounces to and fro, never quite landing on anything, is clearly deliberate, and most of me wants to love it. I hope I can get there in coming issues.

Quinones is perfectly suited as a fill-in artist for Michael Allred, as he captures all the best things about "FF" and in a style that fits the fun tone and free-spirited adventure of the book, but he never feels like a poor stand-in. Quinones excels at both the quirkiness of the book (a full page cross section of the Baxter Building detailing where everyone is at one moment in time is priceless) as well as the emotion and character development that drives the book. Quinones draws stunning expressions and the book is full of gorgeous cartooning. Laura Allred's colors continue to deliver the exact superhero-lite pop color the book thrives on.

This issue promises a strong cliffhanger leading to something a bit more significant in our future and I'm interested to see how Fraction and merge this light (and slight) book with something that has a bit more gravitas. If he can do it, I'll be more excited than ever to have a book like this on the stands. If he can't, I'll still be glad its here. Even when it's not a perfect book it's still a unique snowflake in a blazing desert.

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