So, in reading and re-reading all of these What Ifs, I’ve made a startling discovery: There are a LOT of recaps. So first we need to tackle the Fantastic Four’s origin (Shitty scientist drastically mutates friend, girlfriend, brother in law.), then we need to address who the Watcher is (Bald moon creep.) and finally we talk about what would happen if something was different. In this case, it comes up because the FF beat the shit out of some muggers and Johnny Storm wonders what it would be like if they all had different powers.
“WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE INDEED, JOHNNY STORM OF EARTH 616” announces an especially big headed pantsless Uatu. “I TOO HAVE LONG PONDERED THIS VAGUE SENTIMENT FOR I AM THE WATCHER!” And with that, we are returned to… the Fantastic Four’s fucking origin again. This is, like, the third time I’ve read that thing in six issues of this comic. That is a lot of crashed spaceships for such a new series.
The ship crashes and out crawl Ben, Sue and Johnny, dusting themselves off and wondering where the hell Reed went. They don’t wonder for very long though, as Ben begins feeling pains in his back and goes to hide behind a rock in the tradition of great heroes.. These back pains quickly reveal themselves to be giant scaly wings, turning Ben into… well, basically Angel from the X-Men but interesting.
Ben flies out from behind his rock, revealing his new wings and naked chest. “Look,” cries Johnny. “Ben’s got wings. Like a dragon. Or a fly.” But there’s not time to further describe Ben Grimm’s new back deformity because now the cosmic rays are affecting Johnny, turning him into Colossus. You know, big stripey metal guy. But Johnny also makes a point of mentioning that he can feel his internal organs turning into metal and sure enough, it’s later revealed that his insides have been replaced by gears. This is, of course, disgusting and Johnny tries to relieve his anger by smacking Ben with a tree.
Luckily, Sue protects him by revealing her new stretchy powers although nobody seems to notice for a few seconds. This is also disgusting. And kind of hot. Moving on.
So, in all the flying and stretching and having clockwork lungs, everyone has sort of forgotten about Reed and they return to the crashed ship to see if they can find him. Eventually, they discover him at the bottom of a hole, now an enourmous brain without a body. Ben scoops him up in his arms (which for some reason causes Reed no damage but still makes ME wince.). The four of them resolve to use their new powers to help mankind and then start trying to think fo names for themselves.. Ben, remembering Johhny’s description of him as a dragon or possibly a fly, names himself Wings Guy. Johnny, proving himself a man after my own heart, goes with the portmanteau of Mandroid. Sue briefly toys with Rubber Girl before deciding on Ultra Woman. Not real clear on how ultra stretching makes you but I’m not here to judge. (This is a lie.)
So time passes and the Gross Fantastic Four pretty much do the same crap as they did in the original run. They beat up the Mole Man, the Skrulls, Namor. (No word on whether the Sub Mariner is into Stretchy Sue but if he’s seen the ‘More Flexible’ scene in the Incredibles he’ll probably give it a shot.) The story cuts over to a museum where a He-Man villain is trying to steal Blackbeard’s treasure. The Fantastic Three (Reed stays home due to not having… anything.) save the day, sending Beastman back to where ever after a brief fight scene where Ben wishes he were stronger. Count your blessings, Ben. You definitely got the sweetest deal out of this whole cosmic ray thing.
Next we head over to Latveria where Doctor Doom watches his summoned He-Man demon fail to steal Blackbeard’s treasure. I still have no fucking idea WHY Doom wants Blackbeard’s treasure but who am I to argue with a guy with that sweet a cape? He decides to enlist the help of the FF after learning a bit more about them. Well, mostly he learns that the gross brain in the tube is his old school buddy Reed Richards, the asshole he blames for blowing up his face back in the day.
Back at the Baxter Building, Reed is using his psychic powers to watch his teammates. Ben dodges some excited fans who are eager to get all up in his wingspan while Johnny is mocked at a record store for being made of metal. We also get a demonstration of Johnny’s less obvious power: turning electronics on and off. What a thrilling universe. Over at the playground, Stretchy Sue watches some children and thinks about how her relationship with Reed is drying up because he no longer has a penis. Then she terrifies the neighborhood by turning into a giant top and spinning the kids around.
Doctor Doom then arrives at the Baxter Building and attempts to convince Reed that Doom can build him a new body so he can be a real boy again and score with Giant Top Sue but Reed doesn’t really seem into it. He prefers being a giant brain and… thinking about stuff? There’s some mention that Reed has turned the Baxter Building into a giant body for himself but it never comes up and I suspect Reed is just trying to feel better about himself. Giving up on bargaining, Doom throws Reed into one of those pneumatic message tubes and takes him to Latveria.
Luckily, the rest of the FF soon follow in their pogo plane and arrive at Castle Doom just in time to be captured in three specific death traps which they can only escape using their specific powers. Ben flies around a big room while someone shoots poles at him. (I assume this was designed by Professor X since this is literally the only thing Angel has ever done in the Danger Room.), Stretchy Sue gets buried in cement and then escapes by going under a door, and Johnny gets magnetized to the ground and escapes by realizing that he can control magnetism. So… more X-men powers. Fine.
Meanwhile, Doom is using a device to drain Reed of his consciousness, making him a powerful computer that will allow Doom to travel through time, stealing history’s greatest treasure. Dude’s gonna feel damn stupid when he finds out Carmen Sandiego already got them all. The rest of the FF show up and Doom kicks the shit out of them easily. He also blows up Johnny’s arm which is pretty awesome. When Doom finally attacks Sue, Reed freaks out and psychically attacks Doom, overriding his personality and giving himself a… well, swank new body isn’t quite right since Doom’s face looks like hot buttered garbage but now he has arms and legs and a dick so that’s a plus. We end the story by showing the new Gross Fantastic Four, complete with Reed not just in Doom’s body but with Doom’s hood and half skirt thing. Look, I get keeping the mask but the skirt, Reed? Really?