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Fantastic Four Life Story #1

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Fantastic Four Life Story #1

Post by Cable » 20 May 2021, 15:08

Apparently there was originally Spider-Man: Life Story that told the life of Peter Parker as if it progressed in real-time from the 60s onward. I didn't read that but I thought it sounded like an even better idea for Marvel's First Family and so I got this.

I am now going to write my entire review in 60s lingo!
No, not really, I don't have that kind of time or effort to put forth. But feel free to comment in 60s lingo yourself!

Full Spoilers:
Spoiler: show
It is April 1961 and the Soviets have just sent the first person to outer space with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. US President John Kennedy calls in Reed Richards and approves a plan to build his experimental spacecraft. Fellow scientist Ricardo Jones is present and furious that he is being bypassed for this job; Kennedy instead puts him in charge of ground control. As work is commencing on the ship Reed speaks with his girlfriend Sue Storm who helped create the design but has not been given a role in the crew. Unfortunately their conversation gets interrupted by Dr. Jones: he informs Reed that the antimatter fuel that powers the spacecraft has never been properly tested and the technology to do so doesn't even exist right now. The flight has to be called off in the name of safety. Reed goes home to Sue with the sad news that the ship will be dismantled the very next day. She talks him into launching immediately without permission. Sue's brother Johnny Storm overhears her and essentially blackmails them into letting him come lest he make a phone call to NASA. They are without a pilot and Johnny says he knows a guy. They find Ben Grimm at a bar where he is drinking after having recently been fired from his job. The four talk themselves onto the base and then launch the ship to space. Once up there cosmic rays begin interacting with the antimatter fuel in an unpredictable way: Johnny bursts into flame, Sue begins disappearing, Ben turns into rock. Reed stretches himself to hit the abort button. He then blacks out, but just before he does he has a vision of something, some kind of monstrous world-eater...They wake up in a hospital on Earth. Johnny is struggling to control his flames. Ben is absolutely furious at Reed, believing his marriage to his fiancee Sally is going to be ruined. They however overhear President Kennedy announcing them as heroes for making it to space. They reconcile enough for the victory parade. Then to face threats that appear like the Mole Man. Time passes; Reed and Sue get married. The FF are celebrities who appear with the Beatles. The world-eater has always been on Reed's mind though and in 1964 he gets a meeting with new President Lyndon Johnson. Ricardo Jones is there and suggests Reed is suffering from psychosis caused by cosmic rays. Johnson is more concerned with things like race riots and brushes off Reed. More time passes; Grimm has still never talked again to his former love Sally. In 1967 Reed appears on a talk show with Ricardo Jones and a discussion about alien civilizations prompts Reed to renew efforts to discover what the world-eater is all about. He builds a special chamber that will allow him to recreate conditions that existed at the time of their spaceflight. The other members of the FF are to assist him but Grimm is late. It turns out that Ricardo Jones has approached Grimm with an offer: he has invented a device that would be able to transfer Ben's powers to Jones for the rest of their lives. Ben accepts and goes to finally reunite with Sally. Jones is now The Thing and goes to 'help' Richards. The actual truth is he enters the machine with the intent of killing Reed as revenge for taking away the glory of the space mission from him all those years ago. Before he does so however they actually come face-to-face with Galactus. The world-eater declares he is coming for them and Ricardo realizes Reed was right all along. The machine begins to breakdown over the stress and Ricardo pushes Reed out, knowing he is the only hope the planet has. Reed is distraught that he might have caused Galactus to turn his gaze to Earth. As for Ben, he is on Sally's doorstep at the moment that Ricardo perishes in the machine -- he turns into Thing again and walks away alone. The FF don't see much more of Ben until 1969 when he shows up to celebrate the birth of Reed and Sue's child Franklin. Together they all watch Neil Armstrong be the first man to walk on the moon.
I was surprised Mark Russell was the writer given this gig since he has never done anything for Marvel before. I liked what he did here though. Of course there must be certain elements common to the origin story, but he also made it feel different enough to be interesting. A more lazy writer could not resist putting Victor Von Doom in the first issue; mercifully Russell totally excludes him in exchange for a very obscure yet compelling alternative rival. It is a little awkward that the Galactus plot has to be dragged across the whole decade. You can assume perhaps it took Richards that long working on the subspace chamber but it isn't really stated and makes it seem like he spends long periods of time doing nothing about it (even after the chamber two years go by). But the 60s come to an end (and annoyingly Russell makes the common mistake of misquoting Neil Armstrong) and we are on to the 70s. We will actually get to see Franklin age normally! And in the next issue preview somehow Namor is going to work into the plot. It should be fun to see.

I wonder what happened to that security guard whose life the FF possibly ruined :lol:
Best Comics of Week 29

X-titles: X-Men Legends #5 by Peter David (1) and Todd Nauck (1)
Non-X titles: Extreme Carnage--Phage by Steve Orlando (2) and Gerardo Sandoval (1)

In parentheses number of times creator has had best comic this year

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