“Last Splash,” the title of the latest issue of “FF” by Matt Fraction and guest artist Joe Quinones, has more than one meaning as the Future Foundation accept a generous invitation to join in on a pool party with Charles Cotta, the C.E.O. of Julian Enterprises, an organization that impresses even She-Hulk with its ability to generate income. While the children of the Foundation frolic in the pool and harass Alex Power for his teenage mustache, Cotta proposes a quest to the adults, which is sure to determine the path of this title for months to come. Fraction balances a lot of characters, but gives Bentley-23 an extra-wide spotlight in which to shine as Bentley shares a profile film on the Uhari (a.k.a. the “Fish Kids”). The comic bounces between the documentary and the events that frame it, much like an episode of “The Office,” but with unfiltered wonder and joy of kids enjoying a pool party and all the freedom that comes with it.
Joe Quinones’ art is equal parts animated and detailed. His characters do have a cartoonish aspect to them, but don’t fully devolve into goofy caricatures. This results in a nice balance of character and detail with plenty of opportunity to display expressions and reactions among the kids and adults. Were he the primary artist on the title, Quinones’ work would certainly draw more readers in. Laura Allred provides the colors, which are anything but dull — lively and electric, Allred’s colors project the characters away from their backgrounds, despite the fact that not one of them is in costume. The combined efforts of Quinones and Allred make every character distinguishable and play up the lightheartedness of this adventure to visual perfection.
I’ve dipped in and out of both this title and “Fantastic Four,” but “FF” #9 is a strong installment that has brought on at least one new reader. Following Jonathan Hickman’s brilliant construction of the Future Foundation, it was possible no creator would ever treat these characters sufficiently enough to merit my attention again. Except Fraction and Quinones made the younger members of the Future Foundation fun-loving kids with personalities and quirks, and put enough of a mission behind the adults that it feels as though this book personally invites readers back for more about their adventures. It worked. I’m back and looking forward to Fraction and crew will be doing with the kids and their mentors.