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Fantastic Four

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History of The MC2: The Fantastic Four

I was inspired recently to make a timeline of events covering the history of the MC2, spanning the nebulous 15 year stretch of time after the Main Marvel Universe (or Universe-616) split off and became the MC2 (or Universe-982) and before the next-generation of heroes began to emerge in J2 #1, A-Next #1 and What If #105. Given that Marvel's First Family are being relaunched with a new #1, I decided for the second installment of this series I would look at the MC2's Fantastic Four team. The events surrounding the rebranding of the team from the Fantastic Four to the Fantastic Five is a major mystery from the team's first cameo in What If #105, through their guest appearances in Spider-Girl, A-Next and in the pages of their own series. Parts of the mystery unravel within the pages of Fantastic Five #1-5 but some aspects were left unresolved when the series was prematurely cancelled. These lingering mysteries would be addressed in the Fantastic Five mini series years later. While we don't know the exact point at which the history of the Main Marvel Universe Fantastic Four stops being the same as that of the MC2 Fantastic Four/Five, we do know a few things about the teams past history. At some point, the Skrull called Lyja joined the Fantastic Four and married Johnny Storm (Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #1). Reed and Susan's own son Franklin Richards would also join the team afterwards, despite the group still officially being known as the Fantastic Four (Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #1, #4). While it's unclear exactly when, Ben Grimm and Sharon Ventura married and had twins Alyce and Jacob Grimm (Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #1, #3, #5). Approximately 11-12 years prior to the dawn of the second generation of heroes (the beginning of the MC2 as seen in J2 #1, A-Next #1 and What If #105) a war broke out between Doctor Doom and Namor the Sub-Mariner. Hearing a war was brewing, Doom's former ward Kristoff Vernard had returned to his native Latveria (A-Next #5). During the war, Latveria was devastated, Atlantis was ravaged and most of Namor's people were slaughtered (A-Next #3, A-Next #5, Fantastic Five Vol. 2 #1). In the war's aftermath, Doctor Doom went missing and was widely believed to have been killed by The Sub-Mariner, Namor himself was branded an international war-criminal and went into exile and Latveria was hotly disputed with various nations vying for control of the secrets and weapons within Castle Doom (A-Next #3, Spider-Girl #3, A-Next #5). S.H.I.E.L.D. is placed in Latveria's capital city Doomstadt by the United Nations (A-Next #5). Unknown to everyone else, Namor held Doom prisoner in a grotto deep under water within the Great Atlantis Trench, returning to torture him once a month as punishment for the destruction of Atlantis and it's people (Fantastic Five Vol. 2 #1). With his intimate knowledge of Doctor Doom's extensive arsenal, and aware that he himself could be exploited by those seeking to gain access to the weaponry, Kristoff went into hiding within the remains of Castle Doom which was now a disputed no-man's land protected by S.H.I.E.L.D. (A-Next #5, Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #5). During a battle with the villainous Terrax, Ben Grimm aka The Thing had the rock-like hide torn from much of the left side of his body by a miniature black hole. Reed Richards created bionic armour to cover the exposed tissue but explained it could take years to regenerate his missing hide. As a side effect of his bionics in situ, it would be impossible for Ben to revert to his human form (Fantastic Five Vol. 2 #1-2). *I think I should point out the slight continuity error in the flashback above: Other flashbacks depicting events occurring after the one above clearly show the team wearing F4 uniforms and operating under the name Fantastic Four. Likely, the F5 uniforms are a simple artistic error* At an unknown point, the long-time F4 foe The Wizard lost the use of both his legs in unrevealed circumstances. Blaming Reed Richards for his disability, The Wingless Wizard went unseen for years while plotting his revenge. To achieve his goal, he began recruiting people for a new team dubbed The Wizard's Warriors (Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #2). Approximately five or so years prior to the events of Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #1, the Fantastic Four prepared to battle Hyperstorm, a cosmically powered warlord from an alternate future who had built a doomsday weapon in the Negative Zone (Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #4, Spider-Girl #87). Lyja was pregnant at this time and did not join the team on their mission (Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #4). Franklin engaged Hyperstorm in a 'mind-war' on every plane of existence which ultimately left Hyperstorm comatose and apparently stripped Franklin of much of his god-like power (Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #4). Unfortunately, the doomsday device had already begun to tear a hole in the fabric of reality. When Reed Richards was forced to overload the device to stop it, Susan Richards attempted to shield him from the radiation with her force field. Caught in the blast radius, half of Reed's body was left in a melted and deformed state. With the rip in reality still widening, Susan used her powers to hold the tear in place, with the strain leaving her in suspended animation. In the wake of the tragedy, The Fantastistation was built in the Negative Zone around the tear in reality. This allowed Reed to keep Sue company while she remained in suspended animation as he worked to slowly repair the hole in the fabric of reality (Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #4, Spider-Girl #87). Over the next few months, while the Fantastic Four remained in seclusion, rumours and speculation spread about the fate of Susan Richards despite the team never releasing details to the public. Reed developed the Big Brain robot to allow him to remain on the team by remotely controlling it from the Negative Zone ( Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #1). The team formally changed their charter, membership and name, finally re-branding themselves as the Fantastic Five, with John Storm aka The Human Torch leading the team of Ms. Fantastic aka his wife Lyja Storm; Ben Grimm aka The Thing; Reed Richards as Big Brain and Franklin Richards now known as Psi-Lord (Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #1, Fantastic Five Vol. 2 #1). Based on various comments throughout both Fantastic Five series and other MC2 titles, we can work out a (very) rough timeline of events. Despite vague comments in A-Next #3 and #5 and Fantastic Five Vol. 1 #5 stating the war between Doctor Doom and Namor occurred 'years ago' or 'a few years ago' it's not until Fantastic Five Vol. 2 that we get a fairly definitive statement regarding when the war took place: 'Almost 12 full years' ago. Given that the MC2 has seemingly had a year elapse (judging by Mayday aging from 15 to 16 years of age) since it began publication, we can place the war at around 11 years prior to the MC2 era. Apart from that, we only get one other fairly definitive statement to pieces together the timeline: it was 'About five or so years ago' that the team lost Reed and Sue Richards fighting Hyperstorm. This last piece of information actually raises a bunch of questions about the age of John and Lyja Storm's son, Torus Storm...but we'll have to address that another day. So, to recap the timeline of events: Doctor Doom and Namor the Sub-Mariner go to war, ultimately causing the destruction of Atlantis in addition to leaving Latveria in political turmoil. Doom is imprisoned by Namor for over a decade. Following the war, Kristoff Vernard goes missing in action, secretly protecting and preventing Doom's arsenal of weapons from falling into the wrong hands. Ben Grimm loses the rock-like hide from most of his left side during a battle with Terrax. Reed Richards provides him with bionic armour for protection. The Wizard blames Reed Richards for the lose of the use of both his lower limbs following an unrevealed event. The Wizard is not heard from for years afterwards as he plans his revenge. Hyperstorm is defeated by the Franklin Richards who loses much of his power. Reed and Susan Richards are permanently incapacitated, with Reed partially melted and Susan in suspended animation holding a tear in reality. The Fantastistation is constructed around Susan Richards in the Negative Zone. Reed Richards chooses to stay with his wife, attempting to repair the tear in reality. The Big Brain robot is built by Reed allow him to continue to aid the team, being controlled remotely from the Negative Zone. The team officially renames themselves the Fantastic Five, with John Storm as their leader. Hopefully this helps straighten out the timeline for the MC2's own Fantastic Four...er….Five? If you feel I've missed something or made a mistake, please feel free to let me know. Until I run out of Fantastic Family Members to count, I remain frogoat

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