One of the biggest fan-favorite additions to the Fantastic Four mythos in the past several years has been the young, offshoot team, the Future Foundation. Featuring several children and young adults from across the Marvel Universe with sci-fi backgrounds, the initial incarnation of the team was a spinoff from Jonathan Hickman's run on Fantastic Four which would later be continued by later creative teams. And with Fantastic Four now back in publication, Future Foundation has similarly been relaunched by Jeremy Whitley and Will Robson, with an expanded cast and new, Marvel Universe-spanning mission.
Picking up from the back-up story running in the recently released Fantastic Four #12, also by Whitley and Robson, the Future Foundation is on a mission traveling the cosmos to search for fragments of the omnipotent Molecule Man, last seen helping restore reality at the end of the crossover event Secret Wars. The debut issue has the latest incarnation of the team enlist the aid of frequent Guardians of the Galaxy foil, Yondu, in breaking into a maximum-security prison in space as part of their spacefaring mission when a familiar, sinister figure makes his unexpected return.
Whitley is no stranger to writing the adventures of sci-fi oriented teens and young adults in the heart of the Marvel Universe after previously penning both volumes of Unstoppable Wasp to critical acclaim and the title seems tailor-made to his strengths. That said, it is the largest cast Whitley has written for to date and an even larger one than Hickman and Fraction's runs on the title, making the first half of the issue relatively heavy on exposition to establish the various figures within the team as well as adequately lay out the relaunched series' premise.
Fortunately, much of the dialogue interplay between the large cast is well-delivered as Whitley has a firm grasp on many of the characters and their corresponding chemistry. It's impossible not to smile when Tong and the Moloids on the team eagerly chime in to provide their advice and insight as well as watching Power Pack members Alex and Julie Power take center stage for much of the issue. And when the action does inevitably kick in, Whitley more than delivers on the fun and the issue truly finds its voice within the kinetic chaos that ensues.
Much of that fun and youthful exuberance within the premise and cast is fueled by Robson's artwork. Working with inker Daniele Orlandini and colorist Greg Menzie, the art team's visuals are reminiscent of Art Adams and Nick Bradshaw's X-Men artwork but very much with their own signature flair. Dragon Man is depicted as the warm, friendly team muscle as he had been introduced in previous runs with loving detail while big, sci-fi guns that feel like shoutouts to Rob Liefeld's extreme art style popularized in the 90s similarly make an appearance as the creative team reminds readers this is supposed to be an all-age friendly title that embraces the joyful possibilities of the medium with youthful, reckless abandon.
While taking a fair amount of the issue to gain traction and momentum, Whitley and Robson's debut issue of their Future Foundation relaunch is off to a promising start as the creative team balances a packed roster of characters and ambitious, new mission statement. Though heavy with the exposition to brief readers on the premise and introduce the team early on, once the action kicks into high gear, Whitley and Robson find their voice on the title, hinting at a fun-filled magical mystery tour through the Marvel Universe led by its young cast of characters.