Tag Archives: Fantastic Five

TimeQuake I: In Which Mr Fantastic Is Snippy And Doctor Doom Does A Good Deed.

Since your sun burned hot in the sky and also since I started writing this thing lo those many years ago, there has been one standard in What If comics. The Watcher hangs around and doesn’t do anything. Except when he sent Wolverine back in time and accidentally ended the universe for no fucking reason. (Nice one, Watch.) All of that changes TONIGHT in What If’s very first ever five issue arc: TimeQuake! Which I read the last issue of when I was eight and thought was the coolest thing ever. And if the first issue is anything to go by, the old saying is true: Eight year old Matt was an idiot.

Uatu the Watcher in Watcher Battle Armor.
Uatu the Watcher in Watcher Battle Armor.

We open with Uatu doing his usual spiel about the multiverse and forbidden to interfere and then he starts going on about Nexuses. Apparently a Nexus is a particular person who has the power to change reality through… like, time travel or something. Apparently Kang is one. Immortus is another. Or possibly the same. Also that fucker Rick Jones because he can’t stop playing his harmonica on the multiverse dick. God, I hate that guy.

Uatu senses some kind of disturbance in the multiverse or whatever and sends his consciousness into the future and also an alternate reality where three giant cloak dudes called the Time Keepers watch over a bubbling cauldron and prepare to name Franklin Richards Thane of Cawdor. Actually, they’re just going to cause a very, very late abortion for Frankie Says Relax. It turns out Franklin is this universe’s Nexus and by killing him, the Time Keepers can continue to influence this reality. Or something to that effect. I don’t know, I stopped paying attention. Anyway, Uatu asks if he can watch because it’s what he does and the Time Keepers have no reason to question him so we jump back to the universe where Spider-Man Joined The Fantastic Four from What If 1*. Except that Sue divorced Namor, Namor undid his making her a permanent no-take backs fish person and then Sue hooked up with Reed, rejoined the FF and got pregnant.  No, it isn’t confusing at all! Shut up!

"Shut up, stop poking around and get in here, Uatu. You prick."
“Shut up, stop poking around and get in here, Uatu. You prick.”

Anyway, Sue’s having birth complications delivering Franklin so the FF travel to the Negative Zone to find the Cosmic Control Rod which can Cosmically Control Sue’s womb into not killing her or her enchanted baby. Of course Reed doesn’t actually tell Spidey, Ben or Johnny any of this, so when Spidey is captured by green armor jerk, Annihilus and accidentally steals the Cosmic Womb Wrangler, it’s a real lucky break for everyone.

Oh no, Dick Bats!
Oh no, Dick Bats!

Anyway, Spidey fights Annihilus and then the rest of the FF show up and they also fight Annihilus. The Time Keepers quickly realize that they are going to fail at killing this baby (Easily the simplest thing in the world! I mean, it’s like babies WANT to be dead.) so they send Doctor Doom to go fight the FF and steal the rod. Telling Doctor Doom what to do rarely works very well, but it seems to go pretty darn fine this time until a ghost steals Doom’s soul out of his body. Seriously. The ghost in question is a big scary cloak called the Whisperer so he could really be anyone. My money is currently on Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. The Ghost tells Doom that if Sue and Franklin die, Reed will lose his damn mind (in the west) and bathe the world in nuclear fire. Which is a perfectly rational thing to expect from Mr Fantastic. Doom agrees and tosses Reed the control rod and then he pushes Annihilus into the Antimatter Negative Positive part of the Negative Zone and they both get erased from reality except Doom is secretly saved by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.

Ooogidy Booogidy Boo!
Ooogidy Booogidy Boo!

The FF return to Earth and use the cosmic control rod to save Sue and the baby… somehow. And then they celebrate the birth of this kid and the death of their greatest enemy. Hooray!

Meanwhile in space, Uatu gloats and the Time Keepers prepare to kill another Nexus or whatever and we TO BE CONTINUE and GOD, I hope this thing gets better. That was a twenty-eight page punch comic. Yeesh.

 

*Not to be confused with the other reality where Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four, Sue married Namor, Spider-Man quit, Reed tried to destroy Atlantis and failed to identify a pregnant woman.

What If It Was The Fantastic Five Again?

It’s a story we’ve tackled over and over and over again. What if something happened in that first year of the Fantastic Four’s run? Hey, listen, it could be Atlantis Attacks again. And speaking of Atlantis and attacking, let’s talk about the time the Human Torch attacked a homeless man from Atlantis. The Torch is having a hissy-fit at the rest of the FF because he is clearly the one who got the short end of the stick in their whole getting powers thing. He leaves the Baxter Building and spends the night at what the texts continue to describe as a “flop house.” There he finds a familiar homeless person and sets his beard on fire. Then he throws said homeless person in the ocean and said homeless person luckily turns out to be Namor the Sub-Mariner. Because otherwise the FF would have a fucking lawsuit on their hands.

The Human Torch solves New York's homeless problem, one man at a time.
The Human Torch solves New York’s homeless problem, one man at a time.

While in our reality, the Torch dumps Namor in the drink on his own, in this issue we see the rest of the Fantastic Four helping to search for Johnny and them all watching him toss a strange man into the sea. Nobody seems to think this is a bad idea.

Anyway, Namor emerges from the ocean, pissed as hell but Sue Storm and the FF are able to calm him down. While they admit that Atlantis was destroyed years ago, they convince their new fishy friend to stick around, join the team and they can maybe help him find his people. Possibly before Atlantis Attacks and a giant snake devours the She-Hulk.

The Thing lets the new guy borrow his undies.
The Thing lets the new guy borrow his undies.

Namor’s first mission with the Fantastic Five is inevitably going to be the one where Doctor Doom sends the team back in time to search for Blackbeard’s treasure because it always is. Fuck you, Doom. You become a god on multiple occasions. Why the hell do you want some dead asshole’s doubloons? Anyway, Doom holds Sue hostage because she’s the woman and sends the rest of the team into the past. Luckily for everyone, Namor is familiar with Blackbeard’s treasure from when his team recovered the wreck years ago and knows exactly where to find it. Unfortunately, once he finds it, it is no longer there in the future for his people to discover and thus the location is lost to him so he could never find it in the first place and… GODDAMNIT, TIME TRAVEL. The hell with this, everyone back to the present to beat up Doom. That motherfucker.

"I see you're wondering about my friend's ears. He was injured... in a... mechanical rice picker."
“I see you’re wondering about my friend’s ears. He was injured… in a… mechanical rice picker.”

Back in the present, Namor unleashes the magical power of Blackbeard’s gold. Specifically, the gems of Merlin that were hidden among it. Jesus, how many famous historical figures interacted with this treasure? Did it also contain the bow of Robin Hood, the crown of Genghis Khan, the Dracula trophy of Dracula and the microphone of Elvis? Anyway, Namor unleashes the power of Merlin to turn Doom into a squirrel and then be seduced by another squirrel. Unfortunately, it’s just another fucking Doombot so guess who is still around to make bombastic statements and talk about himself in the third person. Fucking Doom.

The FF5 share many more exciting adventures all of which are made easier because Namor is there and isn’t he just so great? The super-apes of the Red Ghost are no match for the chiseled pecs of Namor the Sub-Mariner. Nor is Reed Richards and his stretchy flabby man chest. As he and Sue grow apart, she and Namor grow closer together until one evening whilst they enact the flying scene from Superman, Namor asks Sue to marry him. She says yes and luckily in this case, does not have her body permanently altered so it can live underwater. Good call, Sue. Excellent foresight. They do have a rather swinging wedding though (As far as I can tell, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are NOT invited.) and at the wedding toast, Reed proclaims that he is leaving the FF to pursue his scientific pursuits. Jesus, Reed. Way to bring the room down.

Way to bring down the party, REED.
Way to bring down the party, REED.

Fortunately, things seem to work out pretty well. The Fantastic Once Again Four continue to be a force for good in the Marvel Universe. Namor and Sue are expecting their first child while Reed opens Richtech where he can develop technology of the future without being distracted by frivolous things like fighting crime and being with a loving family. Alas, the good times cannot last forever. Needing a lab assistant, Reed hires hot foreign redhead Lissette Orlova and yes, those of you with linguistic degrees in the languages of fake eastern European countries, that IS a Latveria name. You see, Lissette is a spy for Doctor Doom, poisoning Reed even as she falls in love with him.

"Face it, tiger. You just hit... wait, that's not me."
“Face it, tiger. You just hit… wait, that’s not me.”

Eventually, Doom places his plan into action. He kidnaps Reed and his… weird purple singlet thingy and injects him with a neurotoxin that completely saps his free will. Meanwhile, Lisette apologizes. A LOT. Doom drags Reed to the Baxter Building and uses Reed’s knowledge to bypass the security systems. It’s a lot like the Baxter Building level of the Maximum Carnage game except the soundtrack is provided by Reed’s whimpers and not the musical stylings of Green Jelly.

After sealing Ben and Johnny in their rooms, Doom attacks Namor and Sue and their one set of pyjamas. Doom beats Namor pretty easily and then starts strangling Sue. Unfortunately for Sue, she has forgotten that she is the most powerful member of the FF and has beaten Doom numerous times and just lets herself be strangled until Reed snaps out of it and attacks Doom. Then Doom throws him at the window and Reed cuts himself badly, forgetting that he is a stretchy guy. I guess amnesia is communicable by air. Anyway, Doom escapes vowing revenge but the issue is almost over so I guess don’t worry about him.

The FF and Lissette rush Reed to a hospital where a blood transfusion from a Stretch Armstrong doll saves his life. Then Reed realizes that he loves Lissette and they hook up and they all live happily ever after with their creepy, creepy offspring.

PS Doom exploded on the way home.

 

What If The Silver Surfer Battled The Devil For The Fantastic Four’s Souls? (This Comic Contains No Fiddle Contests.)

Man, did this one take a turn for me. When I saw the title (What If The Silver Surfer Were Stuck On Earth) my first reaction was “Awww, the Silver Surfer. That shiny motherfucker…” but this thing is great.

We open on the Silver Surfer fruitlessly bashing his head against the force field that Galactus has used to bound him to Earth because he looooooves it soooooooooo muuuuuuuch. The Fantastic Four watch awkwardly as their friend has a total freaking temper tantrum.

Ben wore a shirt because space is chilly.
Ben wore a shirt because space is chilly.

“You know,” Reed pipes up. “You could join the Fantastic Four. We haven’t done a Fantastic Five story in a while and those always end really well for everyone and never with the Torch trying to wipe out an entire people.”

The Surfer is hesitant but eventually agrees because Reed offers to continue experiments to get Shiny back into space. And so the wielder of the Power Cosmic joins the FF. And they start wrecking shit up. I mean, yes. Tough dudes like Doom and Terminus are on the ropes, sure but you don’t even want to know how badly they beat up the Mole Man. That shit is CRUEL. It’s like they turned on friggin’ god mode. This Fantastic Five makes that one with Spider-Man look like a box of garbage. Hey! You reading this, Spider-Man? Fuck you!

I just love whenever the FF are dynamically charging into battle and the artist draws Reed's little regular guy feet.
I just love whenever the FF are dynamically charging into battle and the artist draws Reed’s little regular guy feet.

Alas, time goes by and the Surfer continues to sink deeper and deeper into depression. All he really wants to do is get back out into space, see his wife and maybe egg the Beyonder’s house. He also refuses to go see Army of Darkness in the theater with Johnny and Ben so he is frankly WASTING his time on Earth.

It wasn't the alternate title in this universe! Also they kept the original ending in!
It wasn’t the alternate title in this universe! Also they kept the original ending in!

One night, Reed gets a call from a priest. Which is weird because Reed is a straight stone cold atheist. Like he even acts super awkward on the phone.

“Dr Richards? This is a priest.”

“…”

“H… hello? Dr Richards?”

“How did you get this number?”

“You’re in the phone book.”

“Uh… huh.”

“I have a matter of some… well, it’s of a supernatural bent.”

“I’ll give you Dr. Strange’s phone number.”

“N-No, Dr. Richards. I… the church could really use the Fantastic Five’s help.”

“UUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh, FINE.”

"Sue! There's a robot on the phone who says we've won a cruise!"
“Sue! There’s a robot on the phone who says we’ve won a cruise!”

So Reed loads up all the Ghostbusters supplies he can find and the gang head over to New York’s spookiest church. They’re quickly alerted to some bad business when Reed notices the PKE meter spiking. And also the walls start bleeding and a pew starts flying around the room. Typical church stuff. And then a camera flies down the Priest’s mouth and he’s all into Evil Dead mode, prancing around in stop-motion and rhyming. Luckily, they’re then pulled into Hell before Ben has to cut his hand off and replace it with a chainsaw and if anyone wants to draw fan art of that, that would be awesome.

"Johnny, fetch me Tobin's Spirit Guide."
“Johnny, fetch me Tobin’s Spirit Guide.”

The Fantastic Five regain consciousness in actual hell, all strapped to rocks except for the Surfer who does not have time for Hell bullshit. I mean, neither does Reed but he has less say in the matter. They’re approached by Mephisto, he who is the devil, star of Ghost Rider: The Motion Picture. And MAN, does this giant red dude have a hate boner on for the Surfer. They’ve fought before and I guess the Surfer is like the purest most good dude in all of creation because Mephisto hasn’t wanted to drag someone to Hell this badly since Jesus. He does some typical Devil bragging, they have a pretty epic fight scene with one of the metalist splash pages I’ve seen since the X-Men went to Asgard and then Mephisto offers the Surfer a deal. If the Surfer volunteers to stay in Hell, not only will Mephisto free the FF but he’ll recall all his demons on Earth, bringing goodness to the entire world, prematurely ending Inferno and binding Johnny Blaze’s head in skin again (Huh, it turns out I’m really jonesing for a Ghost Rider comic. I want to see him battle a pope stealing wizard again. Let’s see here… issue 45? Son of a…). The Surfer reluctantly agrees and then Mephisto burns Johnny Storm to death to show that he’s serious.

“I already said I’d do it!” The Surfer yells.

“Talk faster.” The Lord of Douches replies.

"You fiend! You've turned him into a skeleton! Don't worry, Johnny! I'll spend the rest of my life trying to find a cure." "Don't hold yer breath, kid."
“You fiend! You’ve turned him into a skeleton! Don’t worry, Johnny! I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to find a cure.” “Don’t hold yer breath, kid.”

Anyway, true to his word, Mephisto boots the Fantastic Three back to Earth and then goes about drawing in every demon he has to bind the Surfer into Hell. And it’s actually pretty great. As the demons withdraw, people actually start to get a little better. They stop being less racist, crime drops, the Punisher actually puts away his guns. It’s the dawning of a beautiful new age.

"Weeeeeee'll meet agaaaaaaaaaaain. Don't know wheeeeeeeeeere, don't know wheeeeeeeeeen..."
“Weeeeeee’ll meet agaaaaaaaaaaain. Don’t know wheeeeeeeeeere, don’t know wheeeeeeeeeen…”

Back in Hell, Mephisto laughs. Humanity may be in a glorious golden age, but it won’t be forever. It’s not demons that make people shitty. They just help. And then he turns back to the important business of torturing the Surfer for all eternity. Unfortunately for him, the Surfer is having none of it. He won’t bend and in a fit of rage, Mephisto crushes him like a bug.

That little victory lasts about ten seconds before the giant glowing form of the Surfer appears behind the Devil, blinding him with heavenly light.

“THAT’S RIGHT, MOTHER FUCKER. I’M TOO FUCKING BEAUTIFUL TO BE DESTROYED. I’M GONNA BLIND YOU AND EVERY OTHER DEMONIC ASSHOLE IN HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY. SUCK MY LACK OF A DICK, SATAN!”

"YOU DIDN'T COUNT ON MY BEING THE MESSIAH, DID YOU, MOTHERFUCKER?"
“YOU DIDN’T COUNT ON MY BEING THE MESSIAH, DID YOU, MOTHERFUCKER?”