Tag Archives: Mr Fantastic

What If The Second Richards Kid Lived And Was The Messiah Or Possibly An Evil Alien Maybe?

This week we’ve got a special treat for everyone! It’s a double feature based around Sue Richards’ miscarriage! Doesn’t that sound fun? For anyone who’s unfamiliar with the Fantastic Four children, and who could blame you if you were, there have been two Richards kids: Franklin, who had prophetic dreams, joined Power Pack, created the Heroes Reborn universe and was thoroughly unlikeable until Jonathan Hickman started writing him and Valeria Richards who was named after the woman Doctor Doom loved and then skinned to turn into magic armor. Less well known was the middle Richards child who died after pregnancy complications due to… I think cosmic rays or something. I remember Reed hired Doctor Octopus to help with the delivery but then he saw a billboard featuring Spider-Man and freaked the fuck out. Probably for the best, I’d hate to see Doc Ock try to yank the baby out with his tentacles. Wait, no. I would LOVE to see that.

"You keep suggesting a caesarian, Octavius! I don't think it's neccesary!" "Sorry, I'm just really into the idea of cutting open a super hero."
“You keep suggesting a caesarian, Octavius! I don’t think it’s neccesary!” “Sorry, I’m just really into the idea of cutting open a super hero.”

Anyway, this week we’re addressing two stories about the Richards baby living. In the first one, Sue’s pregnancy is difficult from the start. She spends the nine months physically drained and eventually discovers she is unable to turn invisible. While this is happening, Franklin watches from the shadows in a suitably dramatic fashion. When the baby is finally born, not even the combined genius of Doctors Richards, Octavius, Morbius, Langowski and Banner can save Sue’s life. Of course, the fact that only one of these guys is a medical doctor and none of them have been trained to deliver a baby probably didn’t help. In mourning, Reed names the new baby after Sue and offers it to Franklin who runs off terrified. That’s okay, kid. I had a similar reaction when my siblings were born.

Gaaah! A horrible monster!
Gaaah! A horrible monster!

Years pass, little Suzie grows and gosh, wouldn’t you know it, friends of the FF just keep dying. First it’s Alicia, then a number of Suzie’s baby sitters, teachers and school chums all succumb to a bizarre wasting disease. What on earth could be causing it? Franklin obviously suspects Suzie which results in a lot of Reed yelling at him. I guess it’s tough being a single dad. When Franklin realizes that Johnny Storm has started to succumb to the wasting sickness, he goes to his father again. Reed, in his role as loving father, slaps the kid in the face. Okay, I think it’s time for a little less sympathy for the single dad. Anyway, Johnny fucking dies.

Here you go, Matt. Make a funny joke about horrible child abuse!
Here you go, Matt. Make a funny joke about horrible child abuse!

Reed assumes that all this death is a result of the FF’s cosmic rays, although he apparently doesn’t try to limit anyone’s contact with himself or the Thing to prevent more dying. Speaking of the Thing, that dude’s energy has drained enough that he is no longer permanently orange and rocky. His disease has actually cured him. Which is too bad because then some asshole shoots him like eight times. Ben is rushed to the hospital where he may recover. Until Suzie decides to pay him a visit…

So much trouble might have been avoided if ANYONE in the Baxter Building had just watched the Omen.
So much trouble might have been avoided if ANYONE in the Baxter Building had just watched the Omen.

With most of the FF dead and his father clearly fucking insane, Franklin travels to Latveria… somehow and contacts the only person left who can help: Doctor Doom. Doom isn’t exactly overcome by the love of the common man to help Franklin out but Franklin does mention that Suzie could eventually become a threat to Latveria. And also that Doom will get the chance to observe a stark raving mad Reed Richards whom he can then prove wrong. That’s like Latverian christmas. If Doom hadn’t banned christmas in Latveria six years ago.

"Well, she certainly does suck."
“Well, she certainly does suck.”

Team Frankledoom arrive back at the Baxter Building to find Reed in full-on freak-out mode.

“How DARE you turn against your wonderful perfect sister! How DARE you contact my greatest foe to help you!”

“Richards,” Doom replies. “You’re not yourself. Look, you’re making me seem calm and collected and I regularly refer to myself in the third person.”

This is the part where Suzie reveals her true self, turning into a giant energy devouring monster that was clearly cribbed from Alien. Reed realizes he may have made a mistake or two in the last few years. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late and the creature drains Reed of his energy, killing him.

At this point, I'd like to address the fact that it's never revealed WHY Sue and Reed's child is a weird monster. Is it a demon? An alien? Just born evil? Good fucking question!
At this point, I’d like to address the fact that it’s never revealed WHY Sue and Reed’s child is a weird monster. Is it a demon? An alien? Just born evil? Good fucking question!

Doom attacks the creature, hoping to give Franklin time to escape. It works too, but Suzie is still too much for Doom and she drains first his armour and then him. His last words are a futile “Curse you, Richards and your cosmic sperm!”

Suzie then stalks Franklin into the depths of Reed’s lab, taunting him. Suddenly, Franklin bursts in with a big… Ghostbusters looking backpack gun and shoots Suzie in the chest, knocking her through an open portal into the Negative Zone in a way which is nothing like the end of the first Alien movie which this comic is in no way like. So stop asking.

Yeah, this will never be a problem again. Nothing EVER comes out of the Negative Zone.
Yeah, this will never be a problem again. Nothing EVER comes out of the Negative Zone.

Franklin pauses over the body of his father. His entire family and everyone he knows is dead. But he WAS proven right in the end so I  have no choice but to label this one a HAPPY ENDING. Hooray!

That's a good Batman Year One homage, Franklin.
That’s a good Batman Year One homage, Franklin.

Meanwhile, in a less depressing reality, a baby Richards is also born. This one is named Mary because Sue doesn’t die so we’re already off to a better start. Reed and Sue carefully observe Mary for any signs that she might have also inherited powers from  her parents so they aren’t totally shocked when she starts flying around her crib.

"Listen, Reed. I just read that first story. Things could be a lot fucking worse."
“Listen, Reed. I just read that first story. Things could be a lot fucking worse.”

From there, Mary has a pretty normal childhood with absolutely no mysterious deaths surrounding her. When she’s fourteen, she goes on a walk with Ben and Johnny and watches a dog get hit by a car and is able to save its life by touching it. Which is good because it’s really hard to summarize comic when I am hysterically weeping over a dead fictional dog.

Guys, I can't even go to doesthedogdie.com because the crying dog logo makes me sad.
Guys, I can’t even go to doesthedogdie.com because the crying dog logo makes me sad.

Mary learns that she has incredible healing powers which she uses to save as many people as possible. She also starts working with environmental groups to save more lives and going on equality marches in Washington. Because the only way to enact real change in the world is if it’s led by a pretty, blonde white girl with rich parents.

The evil US president isn’t particularly thrilled by this development and orders the Avengers to have nothing to do with anyone speaking out against the status quo. This results in the Avengers disbanding, except for Captain America which is weird considering that dude is always the first guy to speak up when the government is getting too evil.

"No one will believe in things as long as I am Evil President."
“No one will believe in things as long as I am Evil President.”

Eventually, the evil President orders well-known Marvel sleazebag Henry Peter Gyrich (Boo, hiss) to assassinate Mary which he does by dressing up as Captain America and stabbing Mary at a huge rally. As far as assassination plots go, it’s pretty goddamn terrible but it does manage to spark a massive riot. Luckily, Mary is able to stay conscious just long enough to spray the crowd with her peace powers and calm everyone down. Then she faints.

Mary awakens from a coma a week later to find a vigil outside of her hospital, waiting for her to lead them as the new messiah. According to the Watcher, she eventually overthrows the corrupt government and saves the world. Meanwhile, the real Captain America beats the ever loving shit out of Henry Gyrich.

Wait, so is Cap possessed by Lil' Suzie? Is that what's happening? What the hell is going on?
Wait, so is Cap possessed by Lil’ Suzie? Is that what’s happening? What the hell is going on?

 

What If The Fantastic Four Murdered (But Didn’t Eat) A Child? And Did Some Other Stuff Too? Mostly Quitting.

This week, our old pal Uatu the Woolly Watcher (I guess? Is this a Marvel nickname? You’d think I’d be better at this by now.) decides to take a half day and give us four really short stories about the Fantastic Four all having the same powers. All it really did was make me dream of a What If where all of the New Fantastic Four had the same powers because a comic where Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, the Hulk and Wolverine all had stretchy powers is an amazing concept that should be explored more fully.

Seen here: The New Fantastic Four! Also the first comic I ever bought!
Seen here: The New Fantastic Four! Also the first comic I ever bought!

Our first terrifying tale begins with the inevitable crash of Reed Richards’ spaceship in some garbage field somewhere. As our heroes pull themselves from the wreckage, Johnny Storm discovers the incredible new ability to burst into flames and fly around. Soon he is joined in the sky by his sister and friends, all flying around and on fire. This does not seem the least bit dangerous.

The Human Torch! The Original Human Torch II! The She-Human Torch! And Mr. Fantastic! Because Reed Richards is still a bag of dicks.
The Human Torch! The Original Human Torch II! The She-Human Torch! And Mr. Fantastic! Because Reed Richards is still a bag of dicks.

Eventually everyone calms down and they decide to form the Fantastic Four. I would have thought that the Fiery Four or the Flaming Four or hell, the Flaming Freaks might be better but I also think a superhero team where everyone has the same power is fucking boring so what do I know? I guess they also don’t pick code names or anything. These guys are going to have to work a lot harder if they want to be anywhere close to the world’s greatest comic magazine.

Anyway, the FF’s first few adventures battling the Mole Man and the Skrulls go pretty well. You’d be surprised how many deadly foes will surrender to you if you threaten to SET THEM ON FIRE. It’s real quality crime prevention. Their tragedy arrives in the FF’s third adventure when Johnny notices a magician looking at a statue of a monster. Since I think we can all agree that, aside from Penn and Teller, there has never been a trustworthy magician, the Flametastic Four rush to stop him from… whatever the hell he’s doing.

One of my friends in the sixth grade was a magician and I can tell you from experience that they are completely untrustworthy.
One of my friends in the sixth grade was a magician and I can tell you from experience that they are completely untrustworthy.

Whatever the hell he’s doing is bringing the statue of a monster to life so it can rampage as much as a giant papier mache lizard that has been given life can. This is not much but the FF still decide to stop it. Mostly by burning down a city block which isn’t the best plan. Now, I’ll admit that the FF give it a cursory glance and recognize that the entire block is shitty and condemned but they still don’t exactly check to make sure the buildings are empty. Which is something you should definitely check when you are SETTING EVERYTHING ON FIRE. Come on, guys. This is probably how Chicago burned down.

"It's my missing face!"
“It’s my missing face!”

So the FF defeat the not terribly threatening monster and then fly off to attack the magician with third degree burns until he surrenders, COMPLETELY IGNORING THE BUILDINGS THEY SET ON FIRE. “The fire fighters will take care of it.” says Reed, arguably the smartest man on Earth. It’s at this point that the police arrive and tell the team that those buildings they burned down ARE BURNING OUT OF CONTROL AND THERE IS A LITTLE GIRL TRAPPED IN ONE. Whoops.

This Man! This Manslaughter!
This Man! This Manslaughter!

The FF return to the scene of their arson and attempt to absorb the flames, a skill THEY KNOW THEY HAVE AND YET COULD NOT BE BOTHERED TO USE. They’re able to stop the fires but not before the little girl tragically burns to death in the arms of a severely traumatized fire fighter. Okay, as far as third adventures go, this one could have gone better. The FF are somehow acquitted of their arson and manslaughter charges but the team breaks up because killing a child can wear on you. Well, it can if you’re Sue Storm who leaves the team to get thee to a nunnery. Everyone else pretty much just does whatever the fuck they want as Reed gets back into science, Johnny races cars and Ben joins the Avengers. Hooray for moving on with your life! A GIRL IS DEAD, FANTASTIC FOUR. YOU MURDERERS.

Hey, kids! Comics!
Hey, kids! Comics!

Next we head to another reality where the team all have the powers of Mr Fantastic. The ship crashes, the powers develop, Reed suggests they use their new abilities to save mankind and… they don’t.

“These powers are really gross and stupid.” says Sue, not entirely incorrectly.

“Yeah,” says Ben. “How exactly are we supposed to help mankind? By reaching things for them on high shelves?”

Reed considers this for a moment.

“Yeah, they’re actually not that great. Let’s not help mankind instead. That seems easier.”

Who could possibly consider these powers "stupid" or "useless?" Haven't you seen the Incredibles?
Who could possibly consider these powers “stupid” or “useless?” Haven’t you seen the Incredibles?

Meanwhile, Johnny takes the stage name “Mr Fantastic” and appears on Letterman for a couple of weeks before the world tires of his stupid, stupid powers. He eventually gets a job on the Vegas Strip as “Elastic Elvis”, picks up a heroin addiction and dies of a heart attack at thirty-four.*

With moderate power comes none responsibility.
With moderate power comes none responsibility.

Our third reality asks what if our four heroes had all become monsters like the Thing. And what happens is that Ben turns into a giant orange rock monster, Reed becomes a purple gorilla man, Johnny a… slightly smaller giant orange rock monster and Sue becomes… Man-Thing for some reason.

Whoever knows fear burns at the awkward sibling hug of the Man-Thing.
Whoever knows fear burns at the awkward sibling hug of the Man-Thing.

The foursome briefly consider trying to figure out a way to cure themselves (especially Sue who can’t talk and is worried about being turned into another comic character.) but Reed exhibits dimming intelligence and mostly just wants to pick fights with Ben and random cars. I guess he’s really excited about not being the traditional 98 lb weakling anymore.

They eventually pile into Reed’s Fantasicar that he’d apparently been working on and head to Monster Island in the Pacific where they can give up on ever regaining their humanity so that Reed can pick fights with Godzilla for as long as Marvel has the rights to legally print his adventures.

"Aren't we going to look for a cure, Reed?" "Screw that! We're gonna hang out with Fin Fang Foom!"
“Aren’t we going to look for a cure, Reed?” “Screw that! We’re gonna hang out with Fin Fang Foom!”

Finally, we travel to the reality where everyone has Sue’s invisibility powers and also everyone is working for SHIELD. It seems that, in this universe, Nick Fury was waiting for Reed’s spaceship when it crashed to scoop up whatever weirdness it brought from the stars. Some astronauts who can turn invisible and have military experience? Please sign up for my covert espionage task force.

OH MY GOD, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HEAD?
OH MY GOD, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HEAD?

The team spends most of their time working on whatever their talents make them best at. For Reed, it’s science and development, Johnny works on vehicles, Ben in training and weapons and Sue on dispatch. See, because she’s a woman. But when Doctor Doom attacks in his Doom-o-Coptor and demands Reed because he’s Doctor Doom and he’s a bombastic asshole, the team gets wicked invisible and travels to Latveria.

"Behold, Richards! The diabolical trap door of Doctor Doom!"
“Behold, Richards! The diabolical trap door of Doctor Doom!”

Upon arrival, Doom drops Reed through a trap door in his chambers because this is his perfect idea of revenge. Alas, there will be no forced trips back in time to retrieve Blackbeard’s treasure. Mostly what there is is Sue saving Reed’s life while Ben and Johnny beat the shit out of Doom. There’s a brief problem when Doom threatens the team with a gun that shoots sonic blasts but Reed makes it invisible, meaning that Doom can’t find the trigger. Then they beat up Doom until he isn’t a problem anymore. Hooray for everything!

AAAAAAAAGHH!!
AAAAAAAAGHH!!

 

*In the now legendary “Elastic Elvis Adventures #275”, True Believers!