Warning: SPOILERS for Fantastic Four #14
The Fantastic Four have just been given an updated origin story, which means big things for fans of the team. The good news: the new Fantastic Four origin is perfect for the MCU. But the bad news is that it adds a new wrinkle to Marvel's cosmic mythology... which may make the team responsible for a LOT of suffering.
Every comic fan knows the origins of the Fantastic Four: bombarded by cosmic rays in Earth's orbit, transforming each member into a different kind of superhuman. As some readers may also know, the actual reason the Fantastic Four were in space was never clear. Not until the most recent Fantastic Four #14, which finally revisits the mission, and outlines the goals exactly. It wasn't for some experiment or cutting edge demonstration, but the pursuit of a brighter future for the human race. Or it would have been, if the Fantastic Four hadn't completely abandoned it once they became superheroes.
Keeping the theoretical physics and genius of Reed Richards to a minimum, a flashback sequence retells the events of the days preceding the team's fateful mission. It starts with Reed explaining their objective to Johnny Storm: having detected a habitable planet orbiting a binary star system 44 light-years away, Reed and his crew will use the faster-than-light Marvel-1 rocket to head straight for it. Of course, their shields end up lacking in the face of cosmic radiation, resulting in their disastrous superhuman origin story.
Being sidelined by the accident and the emergence of their powers is understandable. But eventually, all four recovered... and then completely forgot about their original mission, along with the existence of the planet itself. Which means every cosmic disaster that followed in the years since--threats to Earth with no safe haven, every alien race in need of a place to hide, or even a safe homeworld for Mutants or Inhumans--was dealt with in desperation, with the Fantastic Four ignoring the solution intimately involved in their own origin story. Neither Reed Richards nor any of the other Fantastic Three considered returning or mentioning the habitable, Earthlike planet.
It may be further evidence that Mr. Fantastic is the dumbest genius in Marvel's entire Multiverse, but it also means the team should be held responsible for at least some of the damage that such a back-up world could have spared, or at least mitigated. And if anyone would defend the Fantastic family by suggesting some part of the disaster remains a threat, Reed has the risks more than sorted by the end of the issue. It turns out all he really needed to save humanity's future was to be reminded of the good old days.
The story isn't over just yet, which means the next issues could help to explain why Reed Richards, his teammates, the government, his colleagues, and international science community all agreed to forget about a habitable planet within sight of Earth. In fact, Fantastic Four #14 ends with Reed and Johnny reconstructing the rocket (now named Marvel-2) to finish their original mission. With this trip to "The Fantastic Planet" fast approaching in Issue #15, the heroes and readers may find that their botched adventure worked out for the best.
Even so, the heroes couldn't have known they wouldn't be traveling to a paradise, or even habitable new home for humans, Mutants, refugee aliens, you name it. Until the next issue arrives to help clear up this troubling bit of moral inaction, read on below for the full solicitation details and plot synopsis:
- Fantastic Four (2018-) #14
- Written by: Dan Slott
- Art by: Paco Medina
- Cover by: Mike Deodato, Jr.
- POINT OF ORIGIN begins! One of Reed Richards’ biggest regrets leads to a voyage to the one place in the universe the Fantastic Four have never been.A bold new chapter into the heart (and the start) of the Marvel Universe... and it all begins here! Don’t you dare miss this one!
Fantastic Four #14 is available now from your local comic book shop, or direct from Marvel Comics.