Secret Wars 9 was possibly the last Fantastic Four comic that we’ll see. Marvel is on longer producing the FF comic. Rumor has it that it was a decree from Disney, since Disney does not own the movie rights for that particular franchise. To make matters stranger, Reed and Susan Richards are missing in the current Marvel line. The Thing is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Human Torch is part of the Inhumans. It isn’t known how long it will be until Marvel prints another Fantastic Four issue. So this comic is the closest we’ll have to a final Fantastic Four comic, for the time being.
This comic was seven years in the making, beginning with Jonathan Hickman’s legendary run of the Fantastic Four through his absolutely masterful build-up throughout the Avengers…. it all led up to this.
Dr Doom did the one thing that Reed could not do. He killed the all-powerful Beyonders (after they killed off all the Celestial beings, wiped out nearly all of the multiverse, and were on the verge of destroying existence) and saved the remainder of the multiverse by creating a patchwork world he dubbed ‘War World.’ He ruled over the world as a God, which he was. He somehow possessed the power of the Beyonders, able to change reality with a whim.
But something was wrong. Dr Doom seemed to be wracked with self-doubt. He refused to act, despite his world falling apart. Enemies from the old reality appeared, attacking Doom. Civil war broke out all throughout Doom’s world. It was all going to chaos. It was then that Reed Richards appeared.
It is at this point that the issue begins. Reed’s plan was simple. At least simple for Reed. He had Black Panther and Namor distract Dr Doom using the Infinite Gauntlet. Reed knew the omnipotent power of the Gauntlet wouldn’t come close to matching Doom, but it did not have to. Reed discovered that Dr Doom did not actually possess the power of the Beyonders. He was actually storing it within a being called Owen Reece (the Molecule Man). Reed was making his way to Owen to convince him to help restore the destroyed existence.
The genius of this issue is that Hickman set up the Dr Doom vs Reed Richards battle as a conflict between two men who wanted to do the right thing, but had differing perspectives on how to do it. Hickman always presented Doom as a man who wanted to do the right thing, but was driven by his unquenchable drive for power. Reed, on the other hand, was driven by the love of his family and the desire to do the right thing.
This was not the battle of good versus evil. It was far more than that. Through the battle, you could see how every hard decision that Dr Doom made haunted him. He was close to his breaking point….
That is why this fight mattered so much. Doom had all the power he desired, if not more, but he could not do the right thing. No matter what he did, things kept on going wrong. He did everything he could to hold onto the shattered remains of existence, preserving what remained. It was clear that Doom was a good man who could not figure out how to fix what was broken. Yes, he defeated the Beyonders. But he could not save existence.
After that, Owen agreed to help Reed. And yes, Reed saved the day. He, with his wife and children, recreates the multiverse…. one universe at a time. It’s an ongoing process. It’s not known how many universes are created…. infinite or finite. Either way, Reed and his family will enjoy exploring it.
And that’s how we say goodbye to the Fantastic Four. Not with some huge battle of good versus evil. It was about a man who loved his family…. who wanted to do the right thing…. and then saved everyone.
Even Victor Von Doom.
This is the end of the Fantastic Four, for now. It ended with Reed and Dr Doom battling. Reed won. Doom found peace. Existence was saved, yet again.
A fitting end for the Fantastic Four.