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

Mister Fantastic’s Self Loathing – Fantastic Four (Vol 1) #500

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 1) #500
Well, you don’t look a day over 400.
What Happened:

WEBSITE NOTE: This is the first issue of Fantastic Four (Vol 3)’s returning to its original Vol 1 numbering. Since it is also the concluding issue to a Vol 3 story line this issue is listed as both a Vol 1 and Vol 3 series.

From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 1)

Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) has been captured by a magically souped up Doctor Doom (Victor Von Doom). Reed’s been given a chance to fight back by being locked in Doom’s library of magic texts. The challenge is for Reed to figure a way out of his magical prison by learning some magic from Doom’s archive of knowledge. It’s all an effort to humiliate Reed, who despite being a super genius, knows nothing about magic. He tries anyway though. Doom has sent his son Franklin to Hell, currently has his daughter Valeria, and is torturing the rest of the Fantastic Four with his magic. So… he probably should try REALLY really hard.

He stinks way too much at magic though! Luckily, the spirit of Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) shows up to cover for him. Strange has also been incapacitated by Doom, but is able to use a little bit of his magic to assist Reed undetected. First thing they do is teleport out of the library to Strange’s house where Reed has a better chance of learning magic. Reed tries to read the teleportation spell like a mathematical formula and it puts them in the middle of traffic instead of Strange’s home.

See how far learning math will get you? It’ll put you right into harms way. Take heed, children.

Things don’t improve much and time runs out for the two of them. Doom pulls Doctor Strange’s spirit back into his captive body. Reed, still unable to wrap his head around the idea that there might be forces he’ll never understand, cannot cast a single spell successfully. Strange does gift him a tiny gun thing before he is zapped away and says it needs magic words to work.

After a lot of trial and error, Reed figures out the magic words are admitting he’s stupid when it comes to magic. Reed does a lot of self deprecating humor with grand magical results! The freed Fantastic Four then takes on Doom.

He gets cut up by The Invisible Woman (Sue Storm), knocked around by The Thing (Ben Grimm), and even roasted by The Human Torch (Johnny Storm) but Doom still won’t fall. Finally, Reed tricks Doom into admitting that he is not in debt to anyone, which goes against the the deal he made with demons for his new magical power. The demons are real mad they’re not getting credit for Doom’s makeover! They attack Doom and the Fantastic Four jump through their demonic portal to grab Franklin and bring him back.

While retreating back out of the portal, Doctor Doom tries to get Reed to help him escape but Reed will no longer be tricked by Doom. So, Doom makes sure Reed will never forget him. He magically scars half of Reed’s face with grotesque burns.

What I Learned From this Comic:

If magic actually worked like it does for Mister Fantastic, I would be the strongest magician in the world.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt

Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #70

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #7
One child trapped in hell. One baby stolen by man wearing skin for clothes. You’d probably make this face if that were you too.
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

What Happened:

Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) is seriously off his game with this one. A magically powered Doctor Doom (Victor Von Doom) has sent Franklin Richards, the son of Mister Fantastic and The Invisible Woman (Sue Storm), to hell. So the Fantastic Four travels to Doom’s country of Latveria to confront him. Unfortunately, Doom’s newly souped up magic is keeping any of the team’s powers from harming him.

To protect their remaining child Valeria Richards, The Thing (Ben Grimm) has run away from the battle carrying her on Reed’s command. Reed thinks his technology (another word for “big gun”) is starting to beat Doom but looks like Reed just fell for the oldest trick in the book. Doctor Doom turns his fancy gun into fingers and eyeballs! Oldest trick! How could he not SEE that coming? Surely he FELT like he was being played? Maybe he should KNUCKLE down next time?

And additional puns!

Doom strips away, Reed, Sue, and The Human Torch (Johnny Storms)‘s powers and then summons a horde of Mindless Ones to beat Ben raw. He takes Val from Ben and shows Franklin being terrified in hell. Doom promises on his honor to release Reed’s child if he surrenders. Reed surrenders. Then like an ironic genie granting a wish, Doom puts Val down on the ground. TRUE TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW! VALERIA IS ALSO REED’S CHILD! HE DID WHAT HE SAID! Then Doom slams the portal shut leaving Franklin still trapped in hell.

Having brought the defeated Fantastic Four to his castle, Doom excitedly shows baby Valeria how he’s torturing her family. Ben is getting punched more by Mindless Ones. Johnny has been given Reed’s powers and is being stretched painfully. Sue was given Johnny’s flame powers but it would seem not the power to be impervious to it as she silently burns in agony.

Reed’s torture is probably the most devilish, horrible torture of all. He has to learn magic– wait, what? How is that worse? He gets to be Harry Potter while Sue is ON FIRE?

Doom says he has an easy spell locking Reed into a vast magical library. If Reed can learn the small amount of magic needed to break the lock then they can have their final battle. Doom then does the ultimate middle school yard slam of “You think you’re so smart, but you’re NOT.”

Frustrated from all his attempts to learn magic in the library, Reed is contacted by an outside force willing to help him escape.

What I Learned From This Comic:

For all Reed’s bluster about saving the planet and conservationism he was pretty quick to throw away a large crop of perfectly good fingers and eyeballs.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt

Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #69

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #69
Reed and Ben realize their powers aren’t as cool as Johnny and Sue’s. So they find a way to compensate.
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) and The Human Torch (Johnny Storm) stand in horror in front of a teleporter screen. On the other side of the screen, Reed’s son Franklin Richards, screams for help while trapped in hell. The Fantastic Four is under attack and an mystic energy keeps wrecking all their technology which is why Franklin wound up in Hades rather than on the moon with his friends.

Johnny figures he’s the one for the job if the job means flying into a perpetually aflame hellscape and flies through the teleporter after Franklin. Turns out he isn’t fireproof against sacrilegious flames and is knocked back through the portal seriously burned. Then the energy destroys the portal. This leaves Franklin with no way out of hell.

Wondering what’s up with all the screaming and what have you, Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman) and Ben Grimm (The Thing) bring the youngest Richards child Valeria to Reed’s lab. Sue is pretty mad that her husband goofed so bad her boy is now in hell. Reed is really going to get an earful when this is all over.

Reed realizes that Doctor Doom (Victor Von Doom) is behind all this and is attacking them through Val. He yells at his baby. Another point against bad-dad Reed. The team then suits up to head after Doom in his home country of Latveria.

Doom has a quick conference call with the demons he’s tied his soul to for power. Lots of egos getting tossed around. It’s a bad meeting where nothing gets done and no one takes the reigns on any of the projects in the docket.

On the way, Ben tries to warn Dr. Strange that Doom has started using magics, but Strange has already been mentally captured by Doom. Ben just thinks he’s being kind of a jerk.

When they get to Laveria, Doom is easily able to deflect all their attacks with his magic. This leaves Reed without any ideas.

What I Learned from this comic:

A Demon will eat a ribbon. A demon is practically a goat, they’ll eat anything.

The Creators:

Writer: Mark Waid

Penciler: Mike Wieringo

Inker: Karl Kesel

Colorist: Paul Mounts

Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne

Editor: Tom Brevoort

Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt

Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #68

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #68
Maybe she’s just in a “Mood”.
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

What Happened:

Ben Grimm (The Thing) hasn’t been getting his weekly allowance from Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) now that he’s in charge of the team’s money. So Ben decides to get back at him by dropping a comically large water balloon on his head. It’s comically large because it’s so big it would kill Johnny if it actually hit him and you can’t have comedy without tragedy.

Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) and The Invisible Woman (Sue Storm) are in another dimension on a “fancy science crystal” run. How come the neighboring dimensions always seem to have the fancy science crystals but our local one doesn’t? It would totally change our commute if they opened a Fancy Science Crystal store in this town.

When they return they have their children, who are being babysat by the Inhumans on the moon, teleported home. Everything’s great! Valeria isn’t talking yet. Franklin wants to help Reed in his lab. Johnny is looking for a way to murder Ben after getting a little wet. It’s just like your family.

Then Dr. Doom contacts Valeria magically and promises her she will not be harmed. She’s his goddaughter after all. He admits though that his magical connection with her will be what springs his trap for the rest of the Fantastic Four. Then Valeria says her first word: “Doom”.

Impossible energy comes out of one of Reed’s inventions in the lab and chases Franklin. Reed tries to send him back to the moon for safety but the teleporter malfunctions. Reed looks into the teleporter screen in horror seeing that he has done worse than ANY parent EVER. He has literally sent his son to hell.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Reed’s pranking skills are a super power he had never revealed until now.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt

Mister Fantastic Teaches a Robot to Love – Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #64

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #64
Do you suffer from hot flashes? Try turning invisible! Thanks Invisolyte!
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

What Happened:

The Human Torch (Johnny Storm) and The Thing (Ben Grimm) are battling Modulus in order to buy Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) some time. Modulus was created from a super computer storing all of Reed’s scientific works and as a result loves him. As love naturally works, Modulus now wishes to remove/destory everything/everyone else from his life…

Modulus is a bad computer boyfriend!

Reed’s super powered family, The Fantastic Four, do not take kindly to a glowing math creature trying to “remove” them so they are tussling!

Reed has gone into the computer world Modulus was born. In there he is attempting to create the mathematical value of himself. This, he hopes will complete the equation Modulus represents and satisfy his craving for attention. What a drama queen, we’re all real excited to get rid of him. Hope that mathematical value of yourself thing works, Reed.

Wait… mathematical value of Mister Fantastic? I guess we’re lucky it’s not 42. Excellent restraint, creative team. You really threaded the needle with that one.

The Invisible Woman (Sue Storm) has her two children Franklin and Valeria and is trying to find a way to get them to safety while Ben and Johnny scrap and Reed tries to determine if listening to Dave Mathews Band is a +7 or -7 to his super-duper-soul-laid-bare-sleep-mattress number. Everything has a mathematical value after all!

Modulus tricks Ben and Johnny into getting buried under a sky scrapper and then goes after Sue. He’s about to kill Franklin when Reed arrives with his finalized “Math-Reed”.

After being pretty pouty about getting the store brand and not the real Reed Richards Modulus is finally convinced and hops onto that sweet Math-Reed. A merging occurs. I’m sure some people might find it beautiful.

But it’s not.

At the end of the book Reed and Franklin are bonding together playing a collectible card game. Reed kind of stinks at it though and starts finding a lot of logical errors in the rules. Maybe you should take it up with Wizards of the Coast and not a young boy, Reed. Sheesh, let your son enjoy his Pokemon cards or whatever.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Mister Fantastic should not do karaoke.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt

Sue Storm Hangs Out With Everyone – Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #62

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #62
That’s some shadow there, Peter Pan.
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

What Happened:

Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman) and Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic) are hanging out in Times Square because the noise helps Reed think. While Reed and his chalk board are made invisible by Sue’s powers, she is able to make herself invisible with only a baseball hat. This doesn’t really seem like enough for a celebrity to do, but maybe there’s more to it. Maybe she is also asking passersby for change. Nothing keeps people from looking you in the eye better than that.

They are cute and flirty with each other until they realize the strange attack on the Baxter Building from last issue might have come from their daughter Valeria. Valeria hasn’t been tested for powers since she was born so maybe new ones have manifested? Hey, who knows!

They take Valeria away from Ben, who is being a fun uncle and dangerous babysitter, and run her through tests. At the end of the testing the results are clear: nothing, no powers!

Reed is stumped yet again by what could have caused the visual threats which traumatized his son Franklin.

After showing off his fancy iPad which has unlimited storage and stores all his best ideas, Reed puts it down. Someone off panel then tampers with it. It’s probably Johnny (The Human Torch) because he is getting extremely nervous about his new corporate job and probably thinks a powerful computer will help him be a businessman…? Not sure how he could noodle his way to that sort of logic but Johnny has not proven himself a sharp tack.

Plus, a good carpenter doesn’t blame his tools!

Sue and Ben (The Thing) go to a movie and are having a fun time being friends. Then they are attacked by a weird glowing goop which takes the form of a man.

The goop is able to break down components and does this to Sue’s arm and Ben’s back. Only Sue’s force fields are keeping the rest of their bodies safe from the goop. The goop then says it will kill everyone but Reed because it loves Reed.

Aww, it’s the goop’s first crush and he doesn’t know how to process these new feelings. Adorable!

What I Learned From This Comic:

The Thing’s butt is as big as two canoodling teenagers.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt

Ben Grimm Battles The Streets of New York City – Fantastic Four (Vol 3) #61

The cover to Fantastic Four Vol 3 #61.
C’mon, don’t you know knuckle cracking is a bad habit?
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

What Happened:

The Yancy Street Gang has been making Ben Grimm’s (The Thing) life miserable for years. The faceless kids who run Yancy Street, where Ben Grew up, have been playing pranks on him ever since he became a famous superhero. So nothing is really surprising when Ben opens a package and gets a pie to the face.

This time though, the joke shop which sent the spring-loaded pie package forgot to remove the order slip. Now Ben knows where the prank came from. Now he can go there and get the name of the person who ordered it. Now he can find the people who has been mocking him for all these years. Now he can make them pay. Now Johnny (The Human Torch) is scared. Because it was never the Yancy Street gang that did these things.

It was him.

Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman) is in the midst of trying to whip Johnny into something that resembles a responsible adult. She learns Johnny did this and Ben’s going to find out and probably kill him with a punch. You see, the Thing is a rock monster so he can easily kill things with punches. She sends Johnny off to fix things with Ben.

So Ben and Johnny head off to the joke shop and do millions of dollars of damage to New York City. They should probably be in jail. Ben tells a dude to “bill him” when he takes the car he was just driving and throws it. Even if Ben had the money to cover this, pretty sure you can just throw other peoples’ cars willy-nilly. A cop should at least yell at him for doing this, come on!

Back at the Baxter Building Reed (Mister Fantastic) is alarmed to find an alarm. He runs off to alarm his kids but they are alarmed by the alarming monsters on the wall. Then spiders alarmingly crawl out of his infant daughter Valeria’s face. Then it all stops. Reed has no idea what happened or how it happened. This alarms his son Franklin.

What a great paragraph!

Sue gets to the joke shop before Ben and makes it invisible. This leads Ben to think he was tricked by the Yancy Street gang again and gives up, thus letting Johnny off the hook. But wait! He isn’t off the hook! Because Sue!

Sue puts him in charge of the Fantastic Four’s financials. She’s decided this is the only way to force him to step up and be responsible. It’s sink or swim because if he doesn’t do this he’ll ruin the family, which is probably the only threat which could make him really try.

The path from the Baxter Building to the joke shop remains in rubble.

What I Learned From This Comic:

The Thing could probably smoosh a guy in public and everyone would smile and say “oh you”.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt

The Superhero Celebrity Lifestyle – Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #60

The cover to Fantastic Four (Vol 3) 60
Exciting new direction of the Fantastic Four as The Human Torch becomes The Human Match! It’s a tiny joke! He looks tiny on the cover!
From Series: Fantastic Four (Vol 3)

What Happened:

Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards) has hired a consulting firm to help re-brand the Fantastic Four. Buckle up folks because things are about to get pretty meta!

The consulting firm deals mostly with musical acts so they send their new guy, Mr. Shertzer, to spent a week with the team in order to get familiar with them. This is unfortunate for nebbish Mr. Shertzer because a typical week with the Fantastic Four includes fighting other dimensional bugs… helping out a bunch of scientists who accidentally break gravity… walking on air outside a sky scrapper to fix super villain damage… trying to figure out why Jennifer Garner (This is pre-Ben Affleck, I assume) broke up with Johnny Storm (The Human Torch)… OH, and introducing Ben Grimm (The Thing) to hip hop music.

So Mr. Shertzer isn’t really built for this lifestyle and spends most of the week being patronized by Sue Storm, The Invisible Woman. Meanwhile Johnny, Ben, and Sue all spend the week wondering why a guy like Reed would even care about their level of celebrity.

When the week is up Mr. Shertzer advises his consulting firm not to market the Fantastic Four as super heroes. Instead they are a family who will do anything for Reed’s thirst for knowledge. They don’t patrol. They don’t report to the government. Sure, they will fight Galactus if Galactus were to show up, but they’re more likely to be exploring some weird idea Reed thought up. See? Meta!

Reed ends the week by letting his infant daughter Valeria know why the celebrity of the team is important. Reed blames himself for the accident which turned them into what could have been considered as “freaks” by the public. Faced with the reality of no longer being able to live normal lives, Reed decided that celebrity would be better than infamy for his family. So he works hard to keep Sue, Johnny, and Ben in the positive public eye.

What I Learned From This Comic:

The Thing will love any genre of music as long as the songs are about himself and nothing else.

The Creators:
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Assistant Editor: Marc Sumerak & Andy Schmidt