Tuesday, September 04, 2012

NBIM, Day 4: Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius (2006)

Cover to Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius #1 by Chris Eliopoulos and Marc Sumerak.
A Fantastic Four fan since childhood, there were periods of time where I would purchase nearly any book even remotely associated with the cast. Among those myriad, miniseries, one-shots and team-ups were more than a few "misses" when it came to quality. Fantastic Four Presents: Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius Everybody Loves Franklin, despite it's somewhat cumbersome title, however stands as one of the most pleasant surprises. The second in a series of one-shots devoted to Chris Eliopoulos and Marc Sumerak's Calvin and Hobbes-esque interpretation of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman's youngest child, Everybody Loves Franklin sets the character loose in a less-than-dangerous Marvel Universe.

The one-shot includes three stories, "Christmas Time Warp", "My Dinner with Doom(bots)", "Frankie, My Dear...", and "Now You See Me..." With a surprisingly cool iteration of H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot playing babysitter and straight man, Franklin travels through time, interacts with the evil Doctor Doom and, worst of all, needs to deal with Katie Power--who has a hu-u-u-ge crush on him.

The Calvin and Hobbes comparisons are easy to see in these panels from page 5.
This issue strikes me as a great back issue buy for a number of reasons. First, it is the rare true one-shot which requires no previous reading of the character to gain maximum enjoyment from the reading experience. Though the "real" Franklin has decades of complex back story, Eliopoulos and Sumerak's clean slate approach winks and nods at canon, but offers storytelling that appeals to even the uninitiated. Secondly, it is the (unfortunately) rare all-ages book that will have appeal to youngsters (and adults) who, unaware of Fantastic Four continuity, will enjoy the goofy action and wonderful visuals. It may also serve as a gateway comic to some of Marvel's recent, more common all-ages books tied into their film universe.

Fantastic Four Presents: Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius Everybody Loves Franklin is very likely available among the stacks at your local comic store at the $2.99 original cover price, or for much less in reduced price bins and longboxes.

No comments: