Fantastic Four (Vol 1) #502

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 1) #502.
That’s a lot of asparagus.
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 1)

What Happened:

Franklin Richards is hitting kids at Coney Island and not in a fun “The Warriors” way. He’s doing it in a very un-fun “You touched my child and I have called the cops” kind of way. Fortunately, being famous has many perks. Since Franklin is with his mother Susan Storm (The Invisible Woman) and his uncle Ben Grimm (The Thing) of The Fantastic Four, the cops arrive at the scene but don’t uphold any peace. They sort of just pop in and pop out.

Meanwhile, Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) is being very stupid. Very stupid. He has decided that he is an expert at post-traumatic stress disorder and grief therapy. He has decided that all previous methods of dealing with these conditions do not work. He has decided the method which will work is to travel back in time, find your patient’s attacker as a happy child, then let your patient point a laser rifle at their head.

Thus we find Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic) pointing a laser rifle at the young and innocent Victor Von Doom. During The Fantastic Four’s previous adventure, Doctor Doom had trapped and tortured all of the Fantastic Four. He even threw Reed’s son Franklin into Hell (which is one of the two immediate reasons why Franklin is currently have a bad time at Coney Island). So Reed has been understandably a little sad. He is allowed to be sad!

But Johnny has other plans hence the time travel, laser rifle, and ham-fisted lesson of “You wouldn’t kill a child in cold blood with a laser rifle so you shouldn’t beat yourself up”– BUT THEN REED FIRES THE GUN AT THAT KID’S HEAD.

JOHNNY ALSO DECIDED TO BRING REED’S INFANT DAUGHTER VALERIA. HE IS VERY DUMB.

Back at Coney Island, Ben and Susan have figured out why Franklin is lashing out. He still believes he is trapped in hell and his family is doing anything to save him. Sue uses her powers to make everything besides Franklin, Ben, and herself disappear but it does not help. It also probably made the planet Earth look like one of those fun beads a kid would buy at a science museum gift shop.

Ben steps in to take over. He tells Franklin that life sucks and there are no guarantees now that he is growing up but having a family makes things better. Ben’s tactics are less nurturing but over-all successful. Franklin starts to engage more with Ben and Sue but it is clear this is only the first step toward of his recovery.

Meanwhile, remember when Reed shot that kid?! It was a total fake out. He “misses” the target and an angry young Victor Von Doom swears vengeance on whomever is attacking him from afar. Johnny starts to understand that both his plan and himself are VERY DUMB and takes away the laser rifle. By lighting it on fire. That’s an dangerous explosive weapon Johnny maybe you shouldn’t light it on fi– you know what? Let’s just accept that he’s very dumb and move on.

Meanwhile, Reed didn’t miss! He shot off a bit of young Victor’s hair and took it back with him through the time machine. He’s doing lab stuff with Doctor Doom’s hair! That is probably not a project going anywhere sunny.

What I Learned From This Issue:

The Thing goes through a lot of pens.

The Creators:
The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler, Inker: Casey Jones
Colourist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editors: Tom Brevoort

Coney Island is a Nightmare – Fantastic Four (Vol 1) #501

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 1) #501
Looking for bugs.

From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 1)

What Happened:

After Doctor Doom (Victor Von Doom) nearly destroying the Fantastic Four things are looking pretty bad. Things are so bad The Thing (Ben Grimm) has started journaling. Journaling! Like a boring person on a European vacation! I’ve never seen things so rough.

Bearing the worst of the attack was Franklin Richards, the son of Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) and The Invisible Woman (Sue Storm). He was trapped in literal Hell by Doom for a couple of days and that will do stuff to a kid’s brain. The child psychologists are understandably out of their depth with this particular client.

In a Hail Mary play, Sue and an invisible Ben take Franklin to Coney Island. I guess they are trying to compare literal Hell to a figurative one and show Franklin it’s not all that different? Who knows. They spoil the kid rotten with rides, prizes, and junk food but it doesn’t fix all his mental issues despite, like I already said, they spoil him rotten with rides, toys and junk food.

Back at the Baxter Building The Human Torch (Johnny Storm) has a kooky plan to snap Reed out of his own funk. Reed blames himself for everything Doom did to the team. (Send his kid to hell, light his wife on fire, beat his best friend to a bloody mess, lock Reed into a library and make fun of him…) Also, since Doom permanently scarred Reed’s face (which his elasticity cannot fix) Reed will always be reminded of Doom’s actions whenever he see’s himself.

So Johnny grabs a laser gun and they jump into a time machine to spy on a young, innocent Doctor Doom.

At Coney Island, Franklin freaks out on a bunch of people trying to get autographs from his mom and uncle. Freaks out big time too! Curse words and everything!

What I Learned From This Issue:

Sue is not a supportive mother when it comes to her children’s artwork.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler, Inker: Casey Jones
Colourist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editors: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt