COMICS: Mark Bagley Unveils His FANTASTIC FOUR And FF Connecting Variants

It's been an exciting day for Marvel fans with the release of the Thor: God of Thunder #2 and Iron Man #2 covers, but now Mark Bagley's connecting variants for this Novemeber's Fantastic Four #1 and FF #1 have also been revealed. Hit the jump to check them out.

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By Josh Wilding - 8/13/2012
Last week, it was confirmed that Matt Fraction (The Mighty Thor) would be taking over both Fantastic Four and FF from current writer Jonathan Hickman with two new #1 issues as part of the Marvel NOW! relaunch this November. Joining him are artists Mark Bagley (Avengers Assemble) and Mike Allred (Daredevil). Thanks to Comic Book Resources, we have a first look at the two connecting variant covers by Bagley for both titles featuring the full line-up of Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, The Thing, Medusa, Ant Man, She-Hulk and controversial new character Miss Thing. Which of these are you most looking forward to?







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29 Comments
Lazarus - 8/13/2012, 9:43 AM
Miss Thing.. just.. NO.
skot888 - 8/13/2012, 10:05 AM
If anyone other than Matt Fraction was writing this, I may care. But really for me anyways Matt Fraction is to writing what Rob Liefeld is to art, I just auto stop buying any book he touches.
Bark4Soul - 8/13/2012, 10:10 AM
Marvel should be ashamed for this other FF team bullshit
ATrueHero1987 - 8/13/2012, 10:12 AM
Now I'm starting to like the B&W costumes more. I guess because they added more black too it. Now it really looks good.
thunderforce - 8/13/2012, 10:15 AM
Is this a way for Marvel to go around the fact that they don't own the rights to the Fantastic Four ? To just start a new team and call them FF .
ATrueHero1987 - 8/13/2012, 10:17 AM
@skot888 You didn't like his run on Invincible Iron Man??
ralfinader - 8/13/2012, 10:17 AM
FF looks like the biggest pile of shit. Most disappointing replacement in the Marvel NOW deal.
thunderforce - 8/13/2012, 10:18 AM
What does FF stand for anyways ? and what is with the girl head on things body ?
DanteSparda - 8/13/2012, 10:25 AM
99% of this covers is great! Very interesting and promising!

1% of it it's called Miss Thing...
DanteSparda - 8/13/2012, 10:29 AM
@MARVELPSYCHO79



From FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer, I honestly think this design was the only good thing that came out of that movie.
darkknight2149 - 8/13/2012, 10:30 AM
Fantastic Four looks like a good series but I, to me, FF looks stupid. I am judging from the covers, obviously, so it might be good when it comes out. But I doubt it, so far.
jimoakley666 - 8/13/2012, 10:46 AM
Love the Fantastic Four's new Future Foundation white uniforms. Not too keen on the other guys.
campana - 8/13/2012, 10:54 AM
anyone else notice that the Thing is standing on Richards? Bagley is a joke as an artist.
marvel72 - 8/13/2012, 11:18 AM
ms.thing needs to die on first mission.

where is franklin richards?
Turtlestrong - 8/13/2012, 11:20 AM
These pictures look a lot better, EXCEPT for that deg on Miss Thing or whatever abomination that is lol
ScionStorm - 8/13/2012, 11:30 AM
Why is Hank making everyone where reverse-Ant-Man costumes?

And I will not stop calling that ridiculous idea MISS THANG!
skot888 - 8/13/2012, 12:09 PM
@Marvel87

I liked the first half of it then it just got ugh worthy.
MarvelSpidey - 8/13/2012, 12:13 PM
FF is shit and How did Johnny storm Return any way??
LordHuck - 8/13/2012, 12:34 PM
F4 looks great

FF looks like some of the worst shit I have ever seen.
ATrueHero1987 - 8/13/2012, 1:03 PM
@MarvelSpidey He came back in issue #600 of Fantastic Four. Basically Annihilus kept resurrecting Johnny to open the gate and be a gladiator in the Negative Zone.

@MARVELPSYCHO79 Yea, I actually like them now but if they decide to go back to blue(which is still a good chance) I wouldn't be mad.lol
ironpool007 - 8/13/2012, 1:17 PM
miss thing...why?
jasonicus - 8/13/2012, 2:08 PM
Well, these are two series I won't need to keep reading. Thanks, Marvel.
AgentDelta - 8/13/2012, 2:27 PM
The reasoning behind Miss Thing, despite looking like a DeviantArt fan character, is to make Ant-Man look like Iron Man by comparison. This is to win over anyone who dislikes the character in time for the movie.
Grimm - 8/13/2012, 8:14 PM
Is it a suit that looks like Ben? I think it is... if not it's a joke...
DarthTesla - 8/13/2012, 9:39 PM
Bagley is the man. Love his Ant-Man.
spidey23435 - 8/14/2012, 8:59 AM
The Miss Thing idea is soo silly. First if they are going to build a suit of armour with the tech available in comics why build something that big and clunky, Secondly it gives her no protection to her face. So she has a super powered suit but the first time someone hits her in the head she's dead. lol
plasticman - 8/14/2012, 10:04 AM
@spidey23435...I was thinking the same thing. Why wouldn't here armor look more armor-like? Like the hulk buster armor. And any sniper rifle or even flying debris could take out that pretty little head of hers.

And why would an Immortal like Medusa concern herself with such a lowly team. In reality she would have backed out the moment Miss Thing arrived on the scene. The best thing I can say is that Squirrel Girl now seems reasonable.
niknik - 8/14/2012, 10:15 AM
Bwahhh-Haaaa-Haaa......Miss Thing........LMFAO!

Marvel has officially hit a new level of rediculousness. The House of Ideas has run dry.

....and Medusa is not an immortal, she's an Inhuman. just fyi.
cgrass5150 - 8/16/2012, 4:43 PM
I've been a "Thing" and "FF" fan/comic book collector since 1975 (beginning at the ripe age of 8). Although this doesn't qualify me as an expert, I think it does give me bona fide credibility to say the Marvel bullpen "jumped the shark" with both linchpins ages ago and still hasn't recovered.

Fans of "The Thing" and "FF" are familiar with the persistent problems regarding contemporary handling of these once great characters. For the benefit of the uninitiated, in no particular order, I'll reiterate some of the more prominent ones and solutions:

Problem 1: Per Marvel’s official “Ben Grimm/Thing” bio, he is/was an ex-Yancy Street Gang leader, American HS football star, battle-hardened WW II Marine, and military test pilot (with scholarship and multiple degrees in advanced engineering to boot). Reportedly, these experiences developed him into an intelligent, formidable, and skilled fighter. So...theoretically "Thing'” should have savvy fighting moves right? WRONG…from day one Marvel seldom, if ever, accurately depicted these attributes in action and continuously portrays him as a knuckleheaded, barroom, back-alley brawler.

Problem 2: Whatever happened to Marvel’s claims that the more time Ben spends as "Thing" the stronger he gets. So…the older Ben gets and longer he’s affected by cosmic rays, the stronger he becomes. According to my fuzzy math, Ben's been "The Thing" for almost 50 years (real-time). By now he should be well over a Class 100 Ton powerhouse and official 7 on Marvel’s Power Grid (for strength & durability), capable of individually beating A-listers like Hulk. Delve further into “Thing’s” bio, one could easily conclude that he should rate at least a 5 for intelligence, speed, and energy projection (obviously not for bolts, beams, or blasters but good ol' fashioned shockwaves created by hand clapping, foot stomping, ground pounding, or the occasional knee slap).

Problem 3: Enough steel-tipped boot kicks to the stones and even the mighty "Thing" will fall. What I mean is that at the height of his popularity, when “Thing” had his own mag (Marvel-Two-In-One), the Marvel bullpen still dumped on him and fans by making "Thing" a 3rd class passenger in his own title while readers watched some one-note-flash-in-the-pan hero or villain glom the spotlight. Want more? You'll need a calculator to add up all the times "Thing" got slapped around by losers in MTIO. Even worse, fans had the displeasure of often seeing ol' Blue Eyes getting pummeled on the covers of his own title. Take a gander at Iron Man, Spidey, X-Men, Thor, and Hulk covers from the 60's through the mid 80's and you'll see many examples of the aforementioned manhandling more than a few top-shelf baddies. Shame on you Marvel Comics!

Problem 4: King Kirby modeled "Thing's" personality and back story loosely after himself. He also gave him 4 fingers and sense of humor to lighten the atmosphere of those classic Lee/Kirby collaborations. A great idea that worked from the 60's until the 80's. However, considering all the global political, socio-economic, environmental, racial, religious, terrorist disasters, and upheavals we've endured since, Ben needs to chill the goofball persona and emulate the times.

Problem 5: OK...we get it...Popularity + Sales = Money. That's why Marvel fans get deluged by a gazillion Wolverine, X-Men, Avengers, Spidey, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Capt. America titles, tie-ins, and variants. So...how did the aforementioned regain and maintain their popularity? Marvel updated them, making them edgy, gritty, introspective, conflicted, butt-kickers. Remember the halcyon days of the 80's and 90's when Hulk, Cap, and Thor fell to B-listers and Iron Man was boot-jetting it to C-lister? Anyone recall that the original X-Men comic was in danger of being cancelled due to poor sales? What saved these characters (and others) from oblivion is that they were modernized to deal with more realistic and timely problems. This was something Marvel regularly did with their mainstay titles from the 60's until the mid 80's (with skill and success). For whatever reasons, since the late 80's, the Marvel bullpen keeps forgetting to apply this blueprint to "The Thing" and "FF" thereby negating their relevance and cool-factor, leaving them out of gas, and stranded in the no-man's land of the Marvel U.

Problem 6: Any self-respecting "Thing" and "FF" fan has read "FF" #51 "This Man...This Monster!" If you haven't, do so without further delay. Marvel needs to revisit this issue to recall how much depth this character has. "Thing" IS NOT a joke...he's a walking, talking, thinking tragedy constantly at odds with emotions over his monstrous appearance. Not only is best friend, Reed Richards, partially responsible for his predicament, but he's been emotionally gutted repeatedly over the years (Remember when he lost Alicia to Johnny?; How about all those failed cures?; Being ostracized and experiencing prejudice b/c of his "unique" appearance and religion?; Plus, "Thing's" hide and strength prevent him from the sensations and pleasures of human touch and being able to manipulate simple objects, etc., etc.).

Perhaps Marvel's current crop of "hip" writers are too busy or full of themselves to remember that all of us experience some degree of strife, insecurity, self-doubt, heartbreak, tragedy, prejudice, pain, or loss over a lifetime. It's a safe bet that Marvel's reader and moviegoer demographic are humans and intelligent, introspective, and sensitive enough to relate to "Thing's" emotional, physical, and psychological dilemmas. WAKE UP Marvel bullpen...this is the same proven formula that helped make Spidey, X-Men, and Hulk legendary! So…why is poor ol' Bashful Benjy deprived of the same treatment?

Problem 7: Nowadays, "Thing" can't decisively beat any Marvel A, B, or C-lister (good or bad). Consequently, we're stuck with a lame hero that has zero fan interest and respect. Hence, "Thing" and "FF's" dwindling fan base and sales. Sadly, Marvel writers keep missing the mark with these colorful characters that helped launch the "Marvel Age of Comics."

Problem 8: Not including the 60's, 70's, or early/mid 80's, "FF" has been and is now CRAP. Yes...there's been a flicker of hope thanks to Millar, Hitch, Neary, Currie, Smith, Hickman, Eaglesham, Edwards, Mounts, and Eptig, but none of them stick around long enough to thoroughly understand and develop these characters or consistently incorporate ALL the elements that once made "FF" an enjoyable read and visually entertaining. Frankly, it's as if all the heart, guts, edge, action, turmoil, drama, emotion, and wonderment have been drained out and bucket-tossed into the Negative Zone.

Problem 9: Marvel, apparently stuck in ADHD mode, shuffles “FF” writers and artists like a hooker does johns. To establish brand loyalty and improve sales they must consistently deliver an innovative, quality product. It’s impossible to achieve these goals unless the talent is eager and permitted to stay and grow (the successfully long runs by Lee, Kirby, Buckler, Sinnott, Thomas, Conway, Wolfman, and Byrne prove this point).

Problem 10: Marvel Comics has the nerve to still proclaim "FF" is "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine" when the best their writers can deliver are meandering stories such as Sue's inability to find a decent babysitter, or Johnny forming a rock band, or Johnny's inane lust life, or Johnny getting an apartment, or Reed & Sue vacationing off-world, or Ben (older, wiser, former Marine & test pilot with advanced degrees) confiding in Johnny (college dropout & man-whore) for a solution to a crisis in Reed's absence, or during "Civil War" (Marvel's telling of prejudice in the world of superheroes) having Ben (of Jewish faith) pull a Sweden, take a powder, and hightail it to France to ride out the storm. I read somewhere that Jews were persecuted and practically wiped out by fanatical loonies. So…shouldn’t have Ben had decisive feelings about which side was the right one to fight on? Reality check Marvel..."FF" hasn't been "TWGCM" since the Reagan administration.

Solution 1: Presently, the U.S. of A is a powder keg full of unemployed, broke, underpaid, paranoid, stressed-out, unhealthy, ticked-off people crazily mixed in with a dose of nouveau riche, free-loving, environmental and spiritually conscious, gluten-free, hipsters (basically...it's the 60's & 70's all over again folks). So...make "The Thing" and "FF" as confounded, confused, frustrated, and moody as the rest of us. Give them a hefty serving of realistic, earthly problems to muddle through and their popularity (along with their comics and collectibles sales, movie budgets, and scripts) should improve.

Solution 2: "Thing" needs a “WARRIOR-SIZE” strength, durability, and fighting skill boost plus street and galaxy-spanning credibility RIGHT NOW. For starters, he MUST solely defeat several of Marvel's notable heavy hitters. I'm talking REAL bruisers like: A-Bomb, Abomination, Absorbing Man, Ajax, Annihilus, Anti-Venom, Apocalypse, Ares, Arkon, Atlas, Attuma, Beta Ray Bill, Black Bolt, Blackheart, Blastaar, Blob, Caiera Oldstrong, Capt. Axis, Capt. Marvel, Carnage, Champion, Colossus, Deathlok, Destroyer, Doc Doom, Doc Samson, Dragon Man, Executioner, Gabriel, Ghost Rider, Gladiator, Gorgon, Griffin, Hercules, Hulk, Hyperion, Iron Man, Juggernaut, Kurse, Luke Cage, Mahkizmo, Mangog, Man-Thing, Morg, Ms. Marvel, Orka, Quasar, Red She-Hulk, Reptyl Prime, Rhino, Rockslide, Rogue, Ronan, Rulk, Sabretooth, Sandman, Sasquatch, Sentry, She-Hulk, Silver Surfer, Skaar, Sphinx, Sub Mariner, Super Skrull, Terminus, Terrax, Thanos, Thor, Thundra, Tiger Shark, Titania, Ulik, Ultron, Venom, Vision, Wendigo, Wolverine, Wonder Man, Wrecker, etc.

OK...Hercules, Sentry, Silver Surfer, Thor and a few others are a reach but why the heck can't an enraged, battle-hardened "Thing," hand-to-hand, fight any of them to a draw? I didn't include Hulk in the aforementioned b/c it's time for Marvel to "give the dog a bone," let "Thing" cut loose, and knock Jade Jaws’ block off.

Solution 3: Mothball the Imaginaut, techno-geeky, cutesy-family-dynamic drivel. Also, enough with the endless universes, time stream continuums, and alternate realities. Cosmically speaking, "FF" has gone pillar to post and is so predictable that every reader knows Reed, for the umpteenth time, will inevitably save the day with a silly gadget or mind-numbing computation. Way back, the "FF" found solutions to problems collectively...they fought, won, and occasionally lost and suffered as a TEAM. Each character had an integral role that contributed to the overall outcome (good or bad) of a crisis. For far too long "FF" has been Reed-centric while "Thing" and "Torch" provide juvenile comic relief and the Invisible Woman is...um…more invisible than ever.

Solution 4: Plant the "FF's" feet firmly back on terra firma so they can take a good whiff of today’s problems. Given the sad state of the worldwide economy, I'm sure there's at least one A-list super-villain in the Marvel U hard-up for "moolah," just itchin' to bust into Fort Knox. Here's a free, simple storyline courtesy of yours truly: The "FF," b/c of global economic woes, are forced to seriously downsize b/c they no longer have the funds or resources to sustain themselves or obtain much needed parts for all the high-tech gears-n-gadgets Reed always has on deck. Consequently, deprived of technology, not having the safety net of yet another "Reed Richard's-homemade-galaxy-saving-ray gun," as a TEAM (there's that dirty word again), they must cull ALL their raw talents and abilities to essentially beat-the-snot out of a cataclysmic threat. How's that for gutsy, realistic, earthly drama?

Solution 5: Marvel bullpen, please ingrain this acronym in your brains next time you sit down to write an "FF" story...K.I.S.S. Translation: Keep It Simple Stupid. Is it written law in Marvel’s hallowed archives that "FF" stories MUST repeatedly bludgeon its readers to death with bombastic, confounding, sci-fi-techno-laden, over-the-top, disasters? Sheesh…rein it in fellas! Remember…most of us geeks ain't Summa Cum Laude graduates of MIT. Why can’t fans have easily digestible, down-to-earth stories like an all-out monster attack by Mole Man to conquer the world and its resources, or Frightful Four pulling bank heists to finance Wizard’s construction of a deadly new gizmo, or Hulk going on a good ol' rage-induced rampage in Manhattan, or Subby venting frustrations on us wasteful, destructive surface-dwellers? Readers might stay awake for a change to find out how a story ends or come back for more helpings of "FF" comics.

Solution 6: Covers always have and always will whet a fan’s appetite and sell comics. Marvel covers, especially “FF’s," used to be dynamic, imaginative, thought-provoking, and fun up until the 80's. Nowadays they're bland. Whatever happened to the radically cool notion of using a real B&W photo background with our favorite hero’s image superimposed on it (e.g. FF #33, Subby #7, DD #45)? Better yet, put those enticing dialogue bubbles back on the covers which always piqued fan interests and created a buzz. Is Marvel afraid of crushing some artist's delicate creative sensibilities by occasionally returning to these formats? Awww…boo hoo!

Solution 7: Where-o-where has the long lost Splash Page disappeared to? Older "FF" issues (and other key titles) often had awesome Splash Pages. There was nothing cooler than seeing a picture of "Thing," blown-up and spread out over 1 or 2 interior pages, taking out a major league baddie with a haymaker.

Solution 8: Today’s wonderful world of comics is dominated by conflicted Avengers, Dark Knights, Goons, hunted Mutants, emotionally disturbed Hulks, and Walking Dead. In other words…"Comicdom" ain’t a happy place anymore. For “Thing” and “FF” to keep pace and be relevant, they need to be cast into this miasma, toughen-up, and sully their squeaky-clean images a tad (especially those virgin-white uniforms).

Solution 9: Once upon a time Marvel writing and art was the model of creativity that boldly challenged traditional conceptions of what defined a hero, how he/she acted and felt, and what a comic should look like. Nowadays Marvel Comics, especially “FF,” are formulaic. I’m not suggesting dwelling in the past is the solution, but periodically revisiting what succeeded and broke-the-mold is necessary and worthwhile. After all, our history (good and bad) educates, shapes, and defines who we are today and drives us to accomplish future goals.

Solution 10: Understandably, many readers of this tome will think...Dude...if you can do better put up or shut up. My response is as follows: I'm a regular guy who’s a long-time fan of “The Thing” and “FF” (37 years & counting), educated, happily married, emotionally stable, with a wonderful career in Speech/Language Pathology and decent writing skills. I'm certain myself or another dedicated “Thing/FF” fan could crank out at least one more fun and enjoyable story compared to the boring, sanitized, garbage we've been spending our hard-earned dollars on to read. So...if Marvel’s willing and has the intestinal fortitude, give me or some other worthy fan a chance to prove we can do better and hopefully get the Marvel’s present and future "FF" writers headed in the right direction.

Closing Thoughts: Long ago "Thing" was widely known for being a powerful, selfless, fearless, loyal, forgiving, unflappable, ornery, loveable tough-guy in the Marvel U. He's suffered the indignities of being a Rodney Dangerfield/Ralph Kramden punching bag long enough. The Marvel bullpen needs to fix this mess post-haste, elevate “The Thing” and “FF” to everlasting heroic status, and firmly plant our once beloved "first family of heroes" tootsies forever upon the altar of comic book legends. Fans want it and we deserve it. Otherwise, we should spend our "dead presidents" elsewhere.

WHEW...nuff' definitely said!!!

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