Reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. In issue #368, the Infinity War crossover just keeps on infinity-ing.
In Infinity War, the villain Magus is creating evil doppelgangers of all the Marvel heroes. Reed and Iron Man were replaced by their doppelgangers. They arranged a summit of a bunch of the superheroes at Four Freedoms Plaza, only to set off a bomb. This issue begins with the predictable resolution of Sue using a force field to protect everyone from the blast. To add a little extra action, Thor summons some hurricane winds to blast the bomb’s nuclear radiation into space. In a scene almost identical from Infinity War #3, Magus and Thanos appear through a portal and take Evil Reed and Evil Iron Man away from the scene.
Sue offers all the other heroes the use of FF headquarters for the time being. That includes Daredevil, the Avengers, the X-Men, the New Warriors, and Alpha Flight. There’s a whole page of the Hulk and the Thing arguing, before Speedball, of all people, plays peacemaker between them.
Johnny takes off, flying over the streets of NYC. He considers leaving the team after they rescue Reed. He’s then attacked by a team of X-Men doppelgangers, as well as his own doppelganger. Most of the rest of the issue is Johnny fighting them all off. Johnny trashes a water tower to douse Evil Johnny’s flame, and he and storm chase each other around the skies for a while. When Evil Wolverine mentions something about not being alive, Johnny deduces that the doppelgangers are constructs, so he cuts loose with the powers, burning all the Evil X-Men to a crisp. Evil Johnny survives, and congratulates Johnny for being converted to “the dark side.” Evil Johnny escapes through a portal to join Magus and Thanos.
Back at HQ, there’s another scene identical to Infinity War #3, where the heroes decide that magic is the only way to find Magus and Thanos. Dr. Strange can’t be reached, so Scarlet Witch brings in magical help from Dr. Druid and Franklin’s former nanny Agatha Harkness. Sue takes Agatha aside and asks her to return, and help with Franklin again. Agatha initially refuses, but changes her mind once she sees Franklin again. Elsewhere in the building, it appears that Ben and the Hulk are about to fight again, but then we see they’re just playing foosball.
In the third scene lifted straight from Infinity War #3, Agatha, Scarlet Witch, Dr. Druid, and Shaman from Alpha Flight use magic to open a portal to Magus and Thanos’ location. A team of the most powerful and “most seasoned” heroes are hand-picked from the four teams to enter the portal. They do so, and the issue ends. The story is picked up in the rest of Infinity War #3. Thanos betrays Magus, teaming up with Adam Warlock to stop Magus. All the superheroes arrive. Thinking that Adam Warlock is Magus, the heroes attack both him and Thanos. With that, Infinity War is…
To be continued!
Fade out: Sue takes on a leadership role at the start of the issue, bossing all the other heroes around. By the end, though, Captain America is the one calling the shots. Maybe they’re co-leaders.
Clobberin’ time: Notice that while Speedball talks Ben and the Hulk out of fighting, Ben has his hand placed on Speedball’s shoulder, as if the two are old friends.
Flame on: Johnny’s newfound desire to leave the team will play out (sort of) in upcoming issues.
Fantastic fourth wheel: She-Hulk is present during with all the other heroes in this issue, but has no lines. The Marvel wiki states that Crystal is also here as one of the Avengers, but I don’t see her in this issue. Crystal can be spotted in Infinity War #3, though, confirming that she is there.
Four and a half: Agatha Harkness is described in a caption as having a look of concern on her face when she sees Franklin. Reading between the lines, it appears that she’s decided to return not out of sentiment, but because she can sense Franklin’s reemerging mutant powers.
Commercial break: Something something anatomy something.
Trivia time: Thor is shown to be out of his element, and now sure his own power. That’s because this is the new second Thor, Eric Masterson. Eric will later be known as Thunderstrike.
The reason Dr. Strange couldn’t be contacted is because at this time, he was off on his own crossover, the lesser-known Eternity Quest, where he, Silver Surfer, and former FF member Frankie Raye teamed up to fight the unlikely duo of Galactus and Juggernaut.
I believe this is the first time we’ve seen the entertainment room at Four Freedoms Plaza. In addition to foosball, there’s a pool table and a Xaxxon arcade game.
Fantastic or frightful? The Marvel Wiki lists 53 superheroes appearing in this issue, but by my count, only have 15 have speaking lines. The rest are just standing around in the background doing nothing. These big crossovers are supposed to be exciting because all the heroes are in one place at one time, but stunts like this dilute that excitement. It’s fun to see Johnny cut loose with his powers, but his big fight scene contributes very little to the plot.
Next: Malicious, again.
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