‘The Fall’ begins in earnest with this issue, as a bunch of creepy alien bug dudes blow up the Baxter Building and attack New York, and whilst it’s still very unclear how all of this will lead to the dark future we saw in #1, it is becoming clearer.
The issue begins right in the middle of the explosion, with Reed and Sue rushing to protect the kids. Dragon Man has kept them safe, and Franklin tells his parents that he can sense that these creatures came from ‘his’ world, which is better known to us as the ‘Heroes Reborn’ universe. I’m intrigued by this, as the original Heroes Reborn series are actually the first Marvel Comics I ever read, which probably explains my skewed sense of what good comics are, and also means I have a special place for them in my heart, even though they are probably (no, definitely) a bit shit. I haven’t read many of the later stories that featured the Universe, but what’s intriguing here is that James Robinson actually wrote a few issues of the infamous Captain America series. So I guess all of these terrible events are because of Cap-Boobs.
The FF head off in their awesome new Fantasti-Car to try and stop these monsters, and we see that this threat is wide-spread, and has bought all of the other various superheroes out to stop it. I said this about last issue too, but it’s cool to see a Fantastic Four series that feels much more connected to the wider Marvel Universe again. Millar, Hickman and Fraction all basically did their own thing, but now the FF is back at their rightful place as the centre of the Marvel Universe. But unfortunately for them at this moment, this is because the other heroes, mainly Wasp, are blaming Reed for what’s happened and want him to fix it. Johnny fries one of the monsters and delivers it to Reed so he can examine it and try to work out what to do.
Reed, being a genius, quickly works out that nothing from this Universe can stop the beasts, so he whips up a toxin from the Negative Zone that should stop them. Johnny grabs it to fly up and use it, but he ignores Reed’s warning that there may be side effects. It does work, and the monsters are stopped, but there are definitely side effects, as when Johnny falls back to Earth… his powers are gone. This makes sense, as this isn’t technically the original Johnny if I remember correctly. He’s a clone or something made from Negative Zone worms (Hickman’s run was weird y’all). Or if he’s not a clone, he died and was resurrected so many times in the Negative Zone that the toxin was bound to fuck him up. So this is the first step in the Fall then, no powers for Johnny Storm. I’m not too enthused about this, but hey, we shall see.
Leonard Kirk’s art was once again excellent, he really is a brilliant fit for an old-school superhero team like the Fantastic Four. So far, Robinson’s run is impressing me, he gets these characters, even as he tears them apart. And hey, I almost forgot how angry I am at the red costumes! I reckon next time I’ll be able to avoid mentioning it!