After starring in a special back-up story in this month's Fantastic Four #12, the young super-geniuses of the Future Foundation will star in a new Marvel series. Written by Jeremy Whitley (Unstoppable Wasp) and illustrated by Will Robson (Spider-Man/Deadpool), who also team up for the backup story, the upcoming relaunch has the team of genius-level adolescents and teenagers scour the Marvel Universe for pieces of Molecule Man to put the powerful character back together.
While speaking with CBR at HeroesCon in Charlotte, Whitley shared details behind the eagerly anticipated relaunch and how Fantastic Four writer Dan Slott's decision to keep Valeria and Franklin Richards with their parents allowed him to increase the focus on the young ensemble's other characters.
"I know they have a lot of fans out there that just love both the Hickman and Fraction runs of Future Foundation, and I think it’s just sort of in my wheelhouse as teen superhero adventures so there was a little bit of that science bit that’s sort of come to define Unstoppable Wasp," said Whitley, reflecting on the origins of the relaunch and how his previous run writing the adventures of Nadia Van Dyne helped him prepare to take the reins.
"Dan is going to have the Richards kids with, you know, the rest of the [Fantastic Four] so we have the rest of the cast which is still a very large cast," he said. "We have to figure out how we steer that and see what characters we’d like to emphasize and what new characters we’d like to bring in."
With such an eclectic cast of young geniuses, including the mischievous Bentley, Moloid Tong, and former Power Pack leader Alex Power, Whitley was aware each member of the team had their own fans while also adding characters he felt fit within the team's sci-fi background and mission statement to expand the roster with new energy.
One of these new additions former Avengers Academy hero Julie Power. "I wanted Julie Power to be in it since she’s been on the superhero bench for awhile since her time in Avengers Academy. I wanted to bring some new stuff to the roster so she’s sort of the beginning of that," Whitley said.
Whitley also added that observed while confirming that fan-favorite character Dragon Man would play a big role and was a particular favorite of Robson.
"When I found out Will was drawing it, I made to point to reach out to him on Twitter and via email and get an idea for what he wanted to draw. I think it’s important as someone writing on a book to talk to your artists and figure out what they’re into and what they want to do. He likes big monster guys and giant '90s guns, and both of those things will definitely make an appearance. I think his influence and my writing has already made it a better book and he’s doing career-level art on this. He loves drawing him some Dragon Man and, Dragon Man has never looked better," Whitley said. "He has done great work on the cast and it’s a big cast of characters."
As the new team searching for fragments of Molecule Man, they trace a piece to a maximum security in deep space. As the ensemble enlists the help of the Guardians of the Galaxy character Yondu to help break them in to recover the fragment, they find themselves on a collision course with The Maker, the evil, younger version of Reed Richards who originated from the Ultimate Universe before making his way to the main Marvel Universe. For Whitley, the decision to use The Maker as the first story arc's principal antagonist was a natural extension of the team spinning out from Fantastic Four.
"The chance to use the Maker in this series was too good to pass up. Having the kids face off against an evil, murderous version of their own teacher felt like the ideal conflict," explained Whitley. "And anybody who knows The Maker knows he's not above slaughtering a few children if they get in his way. Of course, the Future Foundation only knows a version of Reed who doesn't kill. They're in for a deadly surprise."
Fantastic Four #12 is written by Dan Slott and illustrated by Sean Izaake, with a backup story starring the Future Foundation written by Jeremy Whitley and illustrated by Will Robson. It is scheduled to go on sale on July 31 from Marvel Comics.
Future Foundation #1 is written by Jeremy Whitley and illustrated by Will Robson. The series debuts on Aug. 7 from Marvel Comics.