In ‘FF’ #17, we watched as Johnny “The Human Torch” Storm attempted to move in with his old pal Peter Parker. In a hilarious turn of events, Johnny’s partying ways proved too much for Peter and now Johnny’s back living in the Baxter Building with the rest of the Fantastic Four.

In this issue, Reed and Sue Richards (Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman) are called away to “some distant corner of the universe”. That leaves Johnny in the unlikely position of teaching the young members of the Future Foundation their daily lessons. Of course, the FF is made up of some of the brightest minds in all of the Marvel Universe so Johnny is ill equipped to handle the task.

When Johnny can’t get the kids’ attention with his brand of humor, Johnny decides to take the FF crew on a field trip… to the Negative Zone!

Inside the Negative Zone the various factions of bugs, aliens, and monsters are squabbling amongst themselves. When Johnny allows the creatures to have elections as to who should be the ruler of the Negative Zone, it turns out that it’s not exactly who the egocentric Johnny thought it would be.

While Johnny and the rest of the FF are dealing with the political landscape of the Negative Zone, young Franklin Richards and his older future self are having a meeting with the Kree and the Inhumans. To keep them from destroying each other future Franklin has a chat with the usually quiet Black Bolt and drops some ominous hints of what’s to come.

As fun as these past several issues have been, Johnathan Hickman seems to be caught in a holding pattern and not really forwarding the tales of the FF very far… unless the small revelations in each issue are building to something explosive and I haven’t yet caught on to what that might be.

Still, it’s a fun enough story and I’m digging Hickman’s arrogant take on Johnny Storm enough that I almost wish they’d give The Human Torch his own title with Hickman at the helm.

Verdict: Buy

FF #18
Story by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Dragotta
Colors by Chris Sotomayor
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Kalman Andrasofszky