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Fantastic Four #35

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Fantastic Four #35

Post by Cable » 17 Sep 2021, 01:41

This is a giant-sized 60th anniversary celebration issue

Full Spoilers:
Spoiler: show
The FF arrive home after Doom's wedding with Human Torch still stuck in his flaming state. Reed Richards locks down the building with an impenetrable security system just to be sure no outside source is still affecting Johnny. An alarm suddenly goes off and Reed knows it must be something that is already inside. Valeria detects a manipulation of time and they pinpoint the location to where Sue is able to reveal a hidden invisible object. Meanwhile in Neverspace, Immortus calls together a meeting of various incarnations of himself through time. Present are Rama-Tut, Scarlet Centurion, Kang, and the final form called Scion. Immortus notes they have amassed all the treasures of history -- except one: their ancestor Nathaniel Richards completed a final masterpiece and wanted to ensure his firstborn child received it, and thus split it into four pieces and hid them throughout the timeline of Reed Richards. The four versions of Kang will thus each travel to gain the pieces, with the earliest variant going the farthest back in the timeline and each following according to their place in Kang's history. The TVA notices this event happening but such a severe continuity cascade would tear them apart if they tried to enter it so the Fantastic Four are on their own. The four time-travelers soon return from their mission, and all appear unscathed except Scion. But each will tell their tale in order. Rama-Tut traveled back to shortly after the FF formed. After opening a rift in time beneath the deserts of Egypt, he buries the team in sand and takes their piece of the puzzle. Scarlet Centurion first went back a few months after Onslaught, kidnapped the Thunderbolts, and then took them to a few months before Onslaught to fight the Fantastic Four. The melee provides a distraction that allows him to gain his puzzle piece, and then he collapses the roof on his way out and buries them all. Kang travelled back to shortly after Human Torch was returned from the Negative Zone. He uses weaponry from different time periods to defeat the FF, blasting Johnny out of existence with a molecular disruptor one moment and stabbing Thing with King Arthur's sword the next. After he finishes personally executing them, he takes his puzzle piece. Scion then travels to the moment we encountered at the very beginning of this story, aka the 'present.' Using time manipulation he reduces Reed and Thing to infants and Sue and Johnny to decrepit old people. He is then about to tell the other Kangs about how he then proceeded to eliminate those infants when they stop him in disbelief and horror as this violates a sense of decency they all share. Scion then admits he just made that story up. What he really did was follow Rama-Tut back in time and save Sue Storm after she used her shield to protect herself from his crushing sand. She and him then leaped forward in time and using her powers helped Thing survive the collapsing building caused by Scarlet Centurion. And then of course they leaped forward and did the same thing to save Human Torch when it appeared the molecular disruptor had destroyed him. The Kangs believe Scion did this to prove himself their superior, but then he reveals the truth: he did this because he is really Mister Fantastic in disguise! Sue drops her field and the other three members from throughout time are there with him. The united FF are able to defeat all of the Kangs and then the TVA shows up in the aftermath. The TVA wipes the memories of the past versions of the FF and returns them to their respective times. Reed then insists on keeping his father's device, and the time cops decide not to fight him on it right when he is supposed to go face the Reckoning War. Reed returns to his family in the present and activates the device: a message plays from Nathaniel Richards in which he reveals that he secretly had another family and Reed Richards must seek out his sister!

There are two back-up stories. In one the FF defeat Mole Man and then spend some family time together. In another their origin is recapped by Mister Fantastic in such a way to suggest that after the flight that gave them powers he purposefully made them into superheroes over guilt that otherwise they would be ostracized as freaks.
As is often the case with stories like this, I'm not real sure this makes sense lol. But if you decide to just roll with it, this is a really fun idea for an anniversary issue from Slott. Not quite as inventive as his (and Allred's) legendary Silver Surfer #11 but still clever in the way he uses Kang to pull together Fantastic Four characters from all across the history of the book. (Also he clearly was writing this while watching Loki because the TVA and references to variants can't be a coincidence!) And while I thought the prize at the center of it all might just be a macguffin, it actually ends up propelling us into a very important next plot. So overall a good job by Slott and it was cool for them to let a veteran like Romita Jr do this special considering over his long career I don't believe he ever got to do Fantastic Four. Also kudos for Mark Waid in the back-up story because these revisits of the origin are something that has been done over and over but I feel like he actually framed it in a way to make it interesting all over again.
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X-titles: Gambit #1 by Chris Claremont (2) and Sid Kotian (1)
Non-X titles: Ant-Man #1 by Al Ewing (1) and Tom Reilly (1)

In parentheses number of times creator had best comic this year

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