With such a small buy pile this week, it was a fairly simple decision to make as to what to read first, and FF #18 has certainly gotten my reading session off to a great start. In the aftermath of the Kree/Inhuman war and the end of the world and everything storyline, FF's premise seems simple: Tell small, self contained stories about the younger members of the First family as well as humourous little side stories about the main members that wouldn't normally fit into the main book.
This issue sees, Johnny Storm, the least academic character in the group to take the class (because, it seems there was no one more qualified available in the WHOLE Marvel Universe.....Oh right, Avengers vs. X-Men) which results, after a couple of....technical questions, in a field trip to the Negative Zone, which Johnny just so happens to run.
This issue is written just to be one long laugh. It's a book that isn't attempting to be too serious (although Hickman does seem to sowing seeds for one final big story), but instead takes an idea that is just crazy and plays it for full comedic effect from start to finish. It's amplified by the fact that this issue contains very little traditional kick ass action, a notion which is indeed questioned by the characters. Few books these days seems to get away with no hero vs villain fighting, but this story has more than managed it.
If there was any minor issue with this book (and it is only minor) it's the art. Nick Dragotta's art has a simplicity to it that seems to mesh well with this book. The only notable flaw is when the story moves away from the class to the sub-plot, his style appears to change. However this is a minor quibble and overall Dragotta's prescence on this book is a welcome one.
Overall, if the desired book is a dark and gritty affair that is part of an ongoing narrative, this isn't the one for you. However, what this book is is a light-hearted tale that lets you just sit back, enjoy and not think to heavily about it, which is what a comic book should be at the end of the day.