PREVIEW: Fantastic Four #583: The Fantastic…Three?

Fantastic Four writer Jonathan Hickman and editor Tom Brevoort rang us up earlier to talk about the new storyline debuting next month in issue #583. It's the beginning of what Hickman calls his first big FF storyline and the end of one character's association with the team. The story is titled, appropriately enough, "Three."

While both admitted that this kind of shakeup has happened a number of times in the title, this time they seem pretty serious about the ramifications of the whole thing. We're not sure who's leaving the group, or even how it's happening, but it's the first major event in Hickman's long and complex plan for the run (Brevoort refers to Hickman and his extensive notes as "A one man Al-Qaeda of storytelling"). As big as this roster change will seem, it'll supposedly look like a flash in the pan compared to future plot points. 

Clues? Well, Brevoort points to Hickman's Dark Reign mini as well as a recent speech Reed gave to a group of scientists. They also mention that tantalizing plot point about the Future Foundation and the concept of Ben Grimm losing his ever-loving blue-eyed dermatological condition. We're also looking at a tie-in, on some level, with Hickman's S.H.I.E.L.D series. Put money on Reed's dad having a lot to do with all this.

After talking with them for close to an hour, I'm still not sure who's turning the team from even to odd, but I'm pleased to report that the FF, in whatever new incarnation we're left with, will likely be stepping out into the Marvel U proper, no longer "an island unto itself" as Brevoort put it. Both writer and editor were vague about the future of the FF and continually skirted the specifics because there are seemingly many outward shockwaves ahead. Are we looking at a universe wide event centered on the FF? 

 "Three is the point where all of it hits the fan." Brevoort says, referencing the entirety of Hickman's run to date. He guessed that fans probably thought it was perplexing, all those text pieces and singular installments. It's all coming to a head, and they compare the audacity of what they're going to be doing to the return of Bucky Barnes. People will be outraged, Brevoort says. But look at where Bucky is now. 

Earlier in the call Brevoort mentioned that we'll likely see every conceivable solution to the problem of having a book called Fantastic Four with a three-person roster. Given the final question of the call, I thought I might try for an explicit answer. 

"Same time next year, is there a book called Fantastic Four?"

"No." 

Here's a look at what Hickman and Epting have in store for the FF in next month's issue #583: 

 

 

Who's on their way out? Let's start laying down the odds. 

With all the alternate reality shenanigans afoot, I think it'd be cool if we followed four parallell realities where a different member of the family was gone. And in one of them, Tasha Yar would still be alive…as a Romulan. Wait. 

Comments

  1. How sure are we that the only way to get down to 3 is 4-1?

  2. I love the character that Valeria has become.

    @IanX – Good point. Could be 4-2+1.

  3. Thing could take a more permanent role in The New Avengers.

  4. God, I’m glad I started reading this. Ben Grimm seems like the likely choice right now although too obvious. Could Sue and Reed split? Will Johnny Storm’s flames be doused?

  5. I hope they get rid of Reed, because Hickman’s run so far has spent nearly all it’s time with him. Sue gets kind of the least time in the run, and I want to see a Sue who starts stepping into Reed’s role as the main character.

  6. I’m very excited for this!!  Seems to me Ben is the easy choice so that probably means it won’t be him….

  7. I don’t care who leaves…. as long as it’s not Sue.

  8. I would think that the most interesting idea would be for Reed to reach his downfall by his own hand, especially since he was dabbling with the multiverse of Reeds before. I believe that that would be the most acceptable IMO, b/c Ben dying would be WAAAYYYY to obvious especially since his break up & how he has been depressed most of the time. I really don’t want it to be Sue b/c of the infamous teasing Millar did with his Death of the Invisible Woman storyline & huge let down. Also, on a side note, isn’t it funny how Epting is going to be drawing yet another huge death in the Marvel U. I wonder if a pattern maybe building from this, hmm?

  9. I absolutely love this book. After reading "Nightly News" I eagerly went out to grab all the rest of this man’s books. Fantastic Four is the book that I never, ever thought that I would like to read. Mr. Hickman made them interesting and expansive in scope. I love it. My guess on the person leaving is it being Johnny. Remember what Reed told him " You must choose to be the man you want to be". This is just my guess. I might be wrong but that is what I think.  

  10. Reed and Sue have already been killed, and Ben is in the Avengers, so I’m going with Johnny.

  11. What if the ‘three’ relates to the number of members of the Richards’ immediate family?  What if it refers to one of the children going away?

  12. It’ll be Johnny. They can’t get rid of the only chick and Ben adds some color to the team.

  13. Definitely going to be reed. Not Johnny. That is too easy.

    Just… I– I just can’t get over how much I love Hickman’s work. Bendis is great, Johns is fine, Gage is fun and Gray and Palmiotti are brill, but no one can hold a candle to Hickman’s mightly writing chops.

  14. Reed, Sue and Ben all have major plot threads from the past year, but I haven’t really heard much from Johnny though. Hmmmm…

  15. Man I really regret not reading any of Hickman’s run after looking at this art. I wish it were easier to go back and get current on a run.

  16. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    For what it’s worth, it’s supposed to be a decent jumping on point. 

  17. Fantastic Three: Johnny Storm, Franklin Richards, and Valeria.

  18. Currently in a down cycle with this book. Loved the beginning of Hickman’s run, then got bored. Fantastic 3 might be interesting…gonna wait and see. The better question should have been "When another writer takes on the book will it be "Fantastic Four" again?" "of course".

  19. They have all left the team before, during Civil War they were completely seperated.  Reed was missing from the team in the mid 90s.  Ben in the mid 80s.  Sue in the Mid 60s.  Johnny some in the 70s.  It doesn’t matter.

  20. Reed Richards – He is the Fantastic Four and the crux of the most stories and Hickman loves writing this kind of character, I don’t see it if Hickman stays on Reed lives, if Hickman leaves, I could see him killing Reed.

    Ben Grimm – In the Avengers. You can’t kill him with out messing up other stories, so improbable.

    Johnny Storm – You could kill him and besides a little grief no new stories are created.

    Susan Richards – I’d place my bet on her, she’s my favorite FF and I wouldn’t want her to go but it would destroy Reed, he’d be a single father, Grimm would go nuts and Johnny, well who knows what Johnny would do, probable be fairly self destructive. She’s my bet but I hope I’m wrong.

    Reed 10% Ben 1% Johnny 40% Sue 49%

    Those are the odds I’d make. 

  21. Hickman has been outstanding on the Fantastic Four.  I really love his run.  He’s stepped up the stories on FF that make it one of the best comics Marvel is printing.

  22. As long as we don’t get F.F. , New F.F. , Secret F.F. and F.F. Academy I’m on board. F.F. is the last franchise that doesn’t have a book or 2 every week to follow.

  23. "Same time next year, is there a book called The Fantastic Four?"

    "No." 

    Well there isn’t a book called The Fantastic Four now either. 

  24. My moneys on Reed kicking the bucket

  25. FF = "Fantastic Th(F)ree"

  26. It getting to a point that whenever I think of the Fantastic Four’s history – it just doesn’t seem like they stay together as the core "four" as much as they should anymore.

  27. @NawidA touché sir, touché!

  28. Reed is gonna die because the future Franklin keeps on saying "no one show grow up without a father".

  29. @akamuu: That would be awesome and a book I’d buy. I also think a FF consisting of Sue, Ben, Franklin, and Valeria would be good too. I’d love a second book by Hickman that was just about Franklin and Val.

    @SpiderTitan: Who said one of the members had to die to be off the team?

    @SummerSleep: I hope you’re right. I think Reed will end up leaving the team and not the family. I bet He’ll have to sacrifice being a FF member to get some plan of a grand scope off the ground.

  30. Crystal of the Inhumans

  31. Pringles are delicious.

  32. OMG they’re going to kill Kenny!

  33. Johnny and Ben will be combined together via a transporter accident, creating the new single character The Human Thing, and thus there are three team members.

    Later, Captain Janeway will come along and sort things out, the same way she did with Tuvix! (Hey Paul, you’re not the only one allow to make a Star Trek reference here. 🙂 See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNyztH6k4N8&NR=1)

    Of course, if all of the FF get combined into a new character, that character would be called "The One"!

  34. @Powerdad or Super-Skrull

  35. @JohnVFerrigno Hahaha! That’s such an obvious point, and it didn’t even hit me.

  36. Jonathan Hickman is going to be at the Baltimore Comic Con tomorrow and Sunday.  I can wait to meet him and have him sign a copy of FF.

  37. fantastic trio …… good title.lol

  38. Gorgeous Epting art there…

  39. The add for this issue has Reed, Ben, and Johnny all wearing uniforms with a 3 on them…..so it looks like Sue might be out….or they are trying to mislead us.

  40. I thought it was going to be the Thing leaving due to his being on the Avengers. Didn’t he say somewhere he wanted a change of scenery? I think he’s bored in the FF.

  41. Reed is history.  At least, he’s as much "history" as anyone in the marvel universe ever actually is.  No one with power in the marvel universe ever actually dies; they just go to alternate dimensions, or get swapped out a moment before their demise, or they get brought back by the transmode virus, or radiation in their cells… Well, you all know what I mean.

    While it could easily be any of the FF who meet their supposed demise (or at least the end of their hero career) we have been given several clues which point to Reed.

    1: The speech Reed gave to a group of scientists at an anual conference which he himself started (pointed out by Hickman and Brevort.)  The finality of the speech caught my attention, perhaps because I am a scientist (Phd Bioengineering).  While Reed’s point may have been somewhat valid he came off as a major Pr–k.  He basically calls the scientists cowards, points out that their views are too limiting, and goes off on some utopian dream tangent.

    What Reed did, with that speech, was sever his ties to the scientific community of earth.  A basic, "I’ll take my marbles and go!" type of maneuver.  

    He also, if you listen closely, begins to sound like so many mad genius scientists we’re all used to.  He’s going over the deep end.  Think on it; "You’re not seeing the big picture!", "You think too small!", "We can save not only our world, but the WHOLE UNIVERSE!  BUU WAAA HA HA HA HA!"

    2: Reed has been involved in some major foul-ups and they just keep getting worse.  The image I paint of him as a mad scientist is not entirely without evidence.  Consider the machine he built that allows him to see EVERY alternate earth.  Then consider the machine he built which enabled him to meet the other Reed Richards from the other universes and realities.  Much, if not all, of the work that was being done by the many different Reed Richards was very good.  They were, however, playing God and when one does that it doesn’t take much of a slip to have a foul up that has devestating ramifications for the universe (let alone for one’s own life.)

    3: We have the preview of issue 583, and while the text is not shown here on this site, you can read the conversation between Doom and Valeria elsewhere.  Valeria specifically states that her daddy built a "very bad machine and forgot to tell anyone about it."

    So we know, with certainty, that Reed’s mistake (building the machine and working with the other Reeds) is at the core of whatever happens in issue 583.  We know that Valeria teleports to Latveria to talk with Doom.  We know that Reed is enveloped in some green colored energy field; perhaps Val felt the need to capture or detain him.

     

    It is now commonplace for Reed Richards to overstep what are normal boundaries, and to make mistakes with bring about global devestation.  If left to his own devices (pun intended) he will likely destroy earth.  It’s as simple as that.  He had a hand in send the hulk away, and that ended up nearly breaking the planet.  He plays God and steps into things where he has no legal grounds to do so. 

    – Consider what he did to his "FRIEND" Henry Pym.  Reed Richards decided, of his own account, that Pym was not responsible enough to have a device which BELONGED to Pym.  It was a device that Pym invented.

    – The device which enabled him to work with the alternate Reeds could have led to the destruction of earth if Reed had not been lucky enough to shut the thing down in the nick of time.  Most of the other Reed’s weren’t so lucky.

     

    -Prison 42.  Do I even need to go into this one?

     

    I’ve gone over reasons why I think Reed will be the FF member to go, now as to why I don’t think it will be either of the other three… Well:

    Ben Grim  –   He’d be too obvious a choice, but also he’s an avenger now.  His career as a hero can’t be ended without affecting too many other titles.

    The Torch –  Too easy.  Besides, he is still the ‘grown up’ Franklin Richard’s favorite hero.

    Sue –  If you remove Sue you END the FF altogether.  There is no FF without Susan Richards.  Not only is she their most powerful member, she is the glue that holds their team together.  Without Sue, there is NO FF.

    So, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  It’s time for Reed to go.  He had a great run and will be well remembered.  Besides, Marvel will by no means let him stay dead or gone for long.  I can only think of one marvel super hero who has died and stayed dead.  And even with Captain Marvell they’ve brought in so many versions of him, one could get sick of him…

    Sue will take over leadership of the FF as she should have done long ago.  Valeria will be the new big brain; we already know that she’s smarter than her dad.  Franklin is ready to step up with his refound power.

     

    AND THERE IS ONE OTHER MAJOR THING TO CONSIDER.  Marvel doesn’t really like for it’s sexy heroes to be married and tied down.  This is the reason that Spider-man can never really stay happily married to M.J. although they’re perfect for each other.  Marvel feels that single heroes are more interesting than married ones.  Can you imagine how chief editor Quesada is salivating over a single Susan Richards?  She’s one of the hottest women in the Marvel universe.  Mr. Quesada and friends can have her in a series of hopeless yet romantic relationships with no less than say; Namor, Tony Stark (ewww), Steve Rogers, Wolverine (well why not, every other female seems to want him), Cyclops (they need to temporarily kill Emma), and maybe even Bruce Banner.  Hmmm, a baby whose father is gamma irradiated and mother is cosmic irradiated…That could be WAY kewl!

     

  42. @DocT, it’s funny, but your post has me now convinced that Sue is going to die.

    (First, I’m glad to see you’re now DocT. And everyone wondered what Mr.T was doing all these years. Hey, he was getting his PhD! 🙂  )

    Your comment that she’s the "…glue that holds their team together" was what sealed the deal for me.  

    If good stories are driven by conflict and crises, then "killing off" (of whatever "killing off" is in comic books) the most powerful member, who’s the glue, who has kids, and has a husband who might be indirectly responsible (via this machine, let’s say) would create great chaos – and there are lots of stories to follow.

    Mind you, I had the exact same reasoning as you for who would die in issue 12 of Alpha Flight (Vol. 1).  It had been announced one of the characters would die, and I started looking at who could leave the group, and have the least amount of effect (and who perhaps was the least popular). But (*WARNING 26 year old spoiler alert!*) Guardian was the one killed!  I would never have picked him, because I figured he was the glue (plus I thought he was cool).  His death really gave them all a huge mountain to climb, if you will.  

    Hey, I found the Alpha Flight ad from 1984!  Cool!
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_fZ37jdy-g4M/Svr3yw2klBI/AAAAAAAAAkY/teDy25ybOt8/s1600-h/alphaflight12.jpg

  43. powerdad, you’re right it IS funny that I convinced you that Sue is the one that’s going to have a ‘marvel like death.’

    And as much as I hate it, you could very well be right.  Now this would tick me off to no ends because Sue is one of most level headed, uniquely powered, grown-upest although still young, and certainly hottest of all the super heroes…  (Um, is it disturbing that I catalogue some super heroiens as hot?)

    And I well remember the Alpha Flight loss of Guardian.  I was with Alpha Flight (as a reader mind you) from the beginning… Um, not that I’m old enough to have read Alpha Flight when it first came out…But I was a fan of Alpha Flight from the beginning, so I well remember the warning that one of the Alpha Flighters would be moving on to that great big comic book in the sky.  I was thinking the same as you, "Who would have the least impact?"

    If we go the other way with the Fantastic Four, and choose the member whose loss would bring about the most change and chaos, it would no doubt be Sue… HOWEVER, we can’t ignore the conversation that ‘grown-up’ Valeria has with Sue in FF #582.  She warns Sue that times are going to be dark.  She tells her mom to look up to the sky and have hope. (or something metaphoric along those lines.)

    This, at least, SUGGEST that Sue is still alive and likely still a hero.  It’s hard to imagine Sue Richards alive and not living as a Hero; apathy is simply not in her.  On a non-related note, she’d be a great wife for Peter Parker.  The bad guys would know better than to mess with her, and she could keep Peter right-minded when he gets all nuerotic about life and what not…  Course, that has nothing to do with THIS conversation.

    So, yes I’d have to agree with you that the loss of Sue Richards would be more devestating to the FF than any of the other members, but nothing else hints to her being loss.  In fact, the conversation between her and Val seem to cement her being part of FF’s future…

    Also on a non-related note…Alas I am not the former Mr. T… If I were, I wouldn’t be so broke…durnit!!!