We all know the story. It’s a tale as old as time. Brilliant Eastern European son of a witch damned to Hell moves to New York, enrolls in university, befriends/hates the smartest guy on the planet and then blows his face off trying to contact said dead mother and gets kicked out of school. Victor Von Doom, could you possibly be any more cliche? But what if Doom’s crusty old dean was a little more lenient with Victor? What if, instead of expelling the student for attempting to contact the forces of evil, he sent Victor back to his dorm with a face full of bandages? What if all of that crap happened? And what if it was written by Dwayne Mcduffie?
This week we travel back to a time before Fantastic Four 1. Reed Richards is living at a boarding house with a very teenage Susan Storm and a ten year old Johnny Storm. Listen, it has long been canon that Reed met Sue when she was super young and then they married when she got a little older but that shit is still really creepy. Get your mind outta the gutter, Richards! Reed’s working on a Space Warp Projector which… shows the galaxy. In 3-d. Which is neat, I guess but it’s no rocket to the stars. Come on, Reed! Apply yourself for once and you might permanently disfigure your best friend for life.
Speaking of said best friend, Reed is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Ben Grimm. Unfortunately, he’s running a few minutes late because he got stuck in traffic behind the sinister Toyota of Dr. Doom. Doom arrives at the Boarding House looking for a place to stay and definitely not to do anything evil that might involve contacting the souls of the damned. And he looks so gosh darn trustworthy what with his face bandages and his mystic powers and his manservant. Then Ben arrives and it’s like a class reunion if one of the attendants hated all the rest. So, it’s like my class reunion.
Victor’s been in the house less than three hours before he steals Reed’s Space Warp Projector, using mystic powers to put Sue and her aunt to sleep. Reed and Ben decide to use science to track Doom and Sue and Johnny come along because what’s more fun than child endangerment? Nothing, that’s what.
The Nontastic Four follow Doom back to his cliche abandoned warehouse where he sets upon them with traps and robots. Which he calls Doombots. Which shouldn’t be hilarious because there’s no difference between college drop out classic Doom and legitimate Doctor Doom but it really is.
Doom traps our heroes and then begins trying to summon his mother from Hell with a combination of magic and Reed’s Space Warp Projector. He manages to tear a hole in reality and fill the room with demons but his mom is also there so I guess that’s a win? Good job, Doom? Ben manages to unplug the projector, meaning that the entire world won’t be swallowed by Hell, just the room. Man, today is just full of good news.
The group manages to hide in a pentagram on the floor, protecting them from the hellhole. Then Sue gets the bright idea to close the portal with satanic magic, attaching her lipstick to Johnny’s Fantasticar prototype and drawing another pentagram. This closes the portal, banishing the forces of hell and Doom’s mom. Doom is understandably pissed off so Reed spends literally SECONDS studying Doom’s research and figures out a way to free Doom’s mom.
The fact that Doom now has actual proof that Reed is smarter than him, combined with a mother’s love long denied him makes Doom finally realize… that he should be a super-powered monstrous despot! ALTERNATE REALITIES.
In unrelated news, Reed Richards has discovered a way TO SAVE PEOPLE FROM HELL AND NOBODY SEEMS TO THINK THIS IS IMPORTANT.