Nrama: So at the start of Fantastic Four the main four, plus Franklin and Valeria, are essentially off the board, exploring time and space?
Fraction: Yeah, that's the big story. And the gag is, it's like a space-time machine, so they should be able to come back in four minutes, and it'll have been a year for them. So they'll have this grand family adventure for a year, and it'll be four minutes for us on Earth, because that's how long it takes to allow for a safe passage. But they don't come back.
In Fantastic Four we deal with, what happens on this family adventure? What cool stuff happens? And, over the macro arc, why don't they come back at the end of the year? In FF, we deal with these people who are picked to be a replacement Fantastic Four in case of a force majeure or a hand of god kind of catastrophic accident, which clearly has happened. It's one thing to say to your friends, "Oh, sure, sure, if anything happens, I'll take care of your kids." It's another thing for something to actually happen and then you have to take care of the kids. We've got this new Fantastic Four/Future Foundation, and the kids are still in the book.
Nrama: Right, people were curious about that.
Fraction: I just didn't know how to explain that for USA Today in a way that would make sense. Don't worry — they're sticking around.
Nrama: How important is it that the gender balance in FF is switched from the original team, with three females and one male?
Fraction: It's important. It's all deliberate. It's an inversion of stuff. Everything you think, yes, I thought. [Laughs.] As the father of a daughter, that kind of stuff, it's important to me. Sue got a bad rap for an awful long time in the Fantastic Four, so a chance to kind of claw at some karma from the other column is welcome.
And it fits with the theme of that book, which is orphans, and building a family out of what you've got, rather than what you were given. A maternal presence is important in that book, parental presence is important — aside from all the kids at the Future Foundation, with where Scott Lang is, and what he's up to, and what he's going through.
Nrama: And what he's going through will directly involve Doctor Doom, given what happened in Avengers: The Children's Crusade, right?
Fraction: Yeah. Doom killed Scott's daughter. There's no other way to put it, there's no other way to phrase it, there's no skirting around the issue. Because of his actions, Doctor Doom killed Cassie Lang. What this book is going to be about is Scott and his replacement Four, and the Future Foundation, aiming their resources right at Doctor Doom. The premise he presents to the Future Foundation is "End Doom." And not just kill him, but eliminate him from human memory. That would be worse for Doom than dying. And that's the payback that Scott ultimately wants.
This is their macro arc, this is their reason to being, this is their constant through line: "Let's remove Doom from the equation of life on Earth, and see what happens." But concurrent to that, every FF villain that ever was comes out of the woodwork, gunning for these imposters, thinking now's their time to take their shot. So you've got these people who have not been the Fantastic Four longer than 10 minutes having to fight off all of the latest and greatest versions of the characters you know and love the most. Whereas Fantastic Four is constant new stuff and new places we've not been before, FF is the greatest hits performed by a brand-new band.
(We'll need a tag for the girl in the Thing costume.)