Might as well start with what didn't work: the flagship title. The clock is ticking for Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben as they desperately try to find a cure to a mysterious ailment that is ripping their molecules apart. Their hopping through dimensions lands them on an Earth controlled by Doctor Doom, in the process of merging with Kang the Conquerer and Annihilus to form a new super-entity. While the concept of "Doom the Annihilating Conquerer" is goofy, it's still plotted out with a level of gravitas.
But reading it, you can't help but feel that something is off once the scripting is handed to Christopher Sebela. I can't fault the guy for coming into a difficult situation, but nevertheless the writing quality takes a noticeable dive. The pacing goes way off course while major revelations about the First Family's ailment, including the cure, go by way too fast and are brushed off almost as nothing. It's an extended sour note to end on.
Despite its quirky charm, I walk away from the conclusion of Fraction and Allred's "FF" most impressed by its drama. Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and Ms. Thing are dealing with their OWN version of "Doom the Annihiliating Conquerer" and face long odds with a "B" squad and a bunch of kids. It's your classic underdog story.
And does it ever make Scott Lang look like a million bucks by the end. Doctor Doom has battled the best of the best and the smartest of the smartest. From his arch-rival Mr. Fantastic to Iron Man to omnipotent beings. This marks the first time where he is thoroughly outmatched and left a quivering mess. And it's by the SECOND Ant-Man! Not even Hank Pym, but the other guy! Over several issues, Lang outlines a step-by-step plan, including how he figured out the machinations of the man who killed Ant-Man's daughter. The pacing in "FF" is incredible... the opposite of what had happened in its sister-series.
In the end, I've got to recommend both volumes. The closer of Fraction's time as plotter for "Fantastic Four" limps to the finish line, for sure, but it's acceptable as a complimentary piece to the far-superior "FF." While I'm sure Marvel expected better things from the Mike Allred-drawn title from the get-go, I don't think they predicted the gap between the two would be as large as it became.
Rating(s): 5.5/10 ("Doomed,") 9.5/10 ("Family Freakout")