I think this was my favourite issue of Fraction’s run so far, and since his run has been pretty good (just not spectacular), that’s high praise. This issue picks up with the revelation in the Age Of Ultron tie-in issue that Ben Grimm blames himself for the accident that caused Victor Von Doom to become Doctor Doom. To try and find out if this was the case, Reed and Ben travel back in time to their college days, only to discover that they are not the only ones observing this momentous occasion. Nope, a whole crap load of Dooms are also there.
This is a great character moment, Doom is so megalomaniacal that he not only does he go back to see his ‘birth’ once, he does it 100s of times, so we get to see a variety of Dooms from all sorts of possible futures, including a Doctor Fate lookalike and even Ultimate Doom! One thing I really liked was that this collection of Dooms was a surprising source of comedy, their pomposity was just so ridiculous, asking someone who is basically them how dare they touch Doom! Of course, a fight ensues between Reed and Ben and the various Dooms, which is also surprisingly funny. But in the end, this story is not funny, it’s about Doom, the greatest villain in comics, and how it wasn’t Ben Grimm’s fault, or Reed Richards’ fault. No, according to Fraction… Doom is inevitable. What a great line that is, that last page sent a shiver down my spine.
I do wonder what we are supposed to make of the sequence where all of the other Dooms place the mask on ‘our’ Doom’s face. Was it always that way? Were those monks actually Doom all along? Time travel hurts my head yet again. This was a very good issue of Fantastic Four, it got right to the heart of 3 of the series most important characters, and the art from Bagley was spot on. I may not like this title as much as FF, but it’s getting better.