Reading the Fantastic Four comics from the start. In issue #383 we’re in outer space, battling those darned Skrulls.
The FF — currently Sue, Ben, Johnny, and Lyja — have been abducted by Skrulls and taken to the Skrull Throneworld, just in time for Devos the Devastator to summon his fleet and attack the entire planet. We begin with a couple of pages of Devos fighting the Skrulls, and his former ally Paibok the Super-Skrull feeling betrayed. Deep in some underground part of the city, the FF are still chained up with special manacles that sap their super-powers, making them helpless as destruction from the battle threatens to bury them alive.
In the throne room, the Skrull empress orders her soldiers to use the experimental Stealth Hawk against Devos, even though it has never been used in battle. She also declares Paibok to be a traitor, since he’s the one who brought Devos to their world. Word travels fast, as this causes the Skrull soldiers to immediately turn on Paibok as he fights Devos. Beneath the city, and now buried in rubble, the FF start getting their powers back. Sue turns the rubble invisible so that Johnny can burn his way out without harming his teammates.
We then cut to another dimension, where barbarian swordswoman Huntara has abducted Franklin. Now in his late teens thanks to some time traveling, Franklin has telepathy and telekinesis, calling himself “Psi-Lord.” Huntara says Franklin must be killed because he and his grandfather Nathaniel are threats to the “chosen realities.” They fight, with her arguing that Franklin doesn’t know who is true enemy is.
Back on Throneworld, the FF plan to make their way to a spaceport and steal a ship to get back to Earth. Lyja doubles over in pain, revealing to the rest of the team that the baby she’s carrying will die without a special medicine. Sue says the FF will split up, snatching the medicine in one direction and stealing a ship in the other.
In orbit above Throneworld, Devos returns to his ship, with Paibok using his shape-changing powers to follow in secret. Meanwhile, Huntara returns Franklin to Earth. He argues that they should work together if they have a common enemy. She says Nathaniel was insane to send Franklin to destroy the enemy. She finally reveals the face of the enemy, and Franklin refuses to believe it. She leaves through a portal, saying it’s up to him what happens next.
In space, Devos is about to unleash his final assault on the Skrulls, wiping them from existence. Paibok then shows up and reveals he just sabotaged Devos’ ship’s star drive. The ship is sucked into subspace, along with the two of them, possibly forever. On the surface, the FF find the Skrull’s prototype Stealth Hawk ship and promptly steal it, with Ben piloting a course back to Earth.
Franklin is waiting for everyone back on Earth, however, as we learn that the enemy Huntara warned him about, the one he was sent to this timeline to destroy, is his own mother Sue.
To be continued!
Fade out: Sue tries taking on a leadership role, continually asking herself what Reed would say or do in her situation. Ben points out that she rarely uses invisibility anymore, relying mostly on her force fields, and she says she’s been “in a rut.”
Clobberin’ time: Ben is able to fly the Stealth Hawk without a problem, even though it’s an experimental alien prototype. We’ve seen him pilot alien spacecraft before, both in this series and in the Thing solo series.
Flame on: Johnny refers to the Stealth Hawk as “the hottest sky chariot I’ve ever seen,” reminding us that he’s still a hot rod lover.
Four and a half: Franklin presses a button on wrist to make his Psi-Lord armor form around him, whereas previously he did this with just a thought. This suggests that the psi-armor is not made solely of his own psionic energy, but is an actual suit of armor that Franklin can summon either inter-dimensionally or with nanotech.
The Alicia problem: While we were told several issues back that Lyja is only staying with the team while biding her time to take revenge on Johnny for breaking her heart. By this issue, though, she has changed, pleading for forgiveness from Johnny and the others. Sue then gives a big speech, saying that Lyja is one of the family now. No matter what else is revealed in the future, there’s no denying that Lyja can now be considered an alternate fifth member of the Fantastic Four.
Commercial break: Can you unlock shirtless Gary Oldman?
Trivia time: According to the Marvel Wiki, the alternate dimension that Huntara takes Franklin to is the “Other-Earth” from Kang’s first appearance way, way back in issue #19, and subsequently revisited for the great “Overlord” story from issues #271-273. Its official designation is Earth-6311, if you’re making a spreadsheet of this stuff.
Fantastic or frightful? An improvement over some other issues in this run. It’s fun to see Devos take center stage and be a real badass, and there’s some nice character development for Franklin and Lyja.
Next: The boy?!?
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.