Across the multiverse, the story of the Fantastic Four has been drastically altered by the fact that they have the same powers instead of four unique abilities.
The crash landing of Reed Richards’ spaceship and the subsequent birth of the Fantastic Four is one of the founding moments of the Marvel Universe – transforming the world and introducing it to four distinct heroes. But there are certain realities in the Marvel Multiverse where the team had a much different experience upon returning to Earth.
In What if…? # 11 by Jim Valentino, Phil Felix and Tom Vincent, Uatu looks across the multiverse and sees four unique worlds – each where the Fantastic Four have all gained the same power instead of each gaining a separate set of powers.
IF EVERYBODY WERE FANTASTIC SIR
In a world where cosmic ray exposure imbued Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben with the same stretching abilities as Mister Fantastic, the Fantastic Four never really saw the light of day. Although Johnny immediately takes his powers and Reed thinks they could do the world some good with their powers, Sue and Ben are both immediately put off by the ability. The two quickly leave Reed’s side and find their own happiness together, leading quiet, unpretentious lives while hiding their powers in a happy marriage.
During this time, Reed used his powers for little more than helping him in the lab. In fact, Johnny Storm is the only member of the group to fully embrace his powers. He doesn’t become a superhero, instead using his natural looks and charm – now paired with his incredible powers – to become a beloved celebrity known as Mister Fantastic.
IF EVERYBODY WERE INVISIBLE WOMEN
In this world, the Fantastic Four have returned to Earth, each with the ability to become invisible and create force fields. Quickly discovered by Nick Fury, the director of this world’s all-new SHIELD saw great potential in their sudden aptitude for spy missions. Fury recruited them all, giving them roles in SHIELD. Reed became head of R&D, Sue took over communications, Johnny became head of vehicle maintenance and design, and Ben became a rookie trainer and pilot.
In this world, their place in SHIELD gave them more authority than in most realities and allowed their first battle against Doctor Doom. During the fight, they revealed that Thing had gained great control over his force fields, while Johnny had perfected a way to become intangible with his powers. It ended with Doom’s arrest for violating international law. Notably, of the four worlds shown, this is the only one where Reed and Sue have ever found themselves in a romantic relationship.
IF EVERYBODY WERE HUMAN TORCH
In a world, the four members of the future Fantastic Four have acquired the ability to ignite their bodies and control the fire. In this reality, the four became superheroes and faced many early threats like Mole Man and Skulls just like they did on Earth-616. But due to the innate excessive destruction caused by their powers, it doesn’t take long before a woman loses her only daughter in a fire caused by one of their battles. The team quickly breaks up out of guilt. Sue Storm repents by becoming a nun and Reed Richards fully embarks on his work as a scientist.
Meanwhile, Johnny Storm becomes a popular racing car driver, while Ben Grimm remains a superhero, officially taking the mantle of Human Torch. Notably, he becomes a major avenger of this reality. In this timeline, the Fantastic Four never awoke Namor’s memories, meaning Captain America has remained frozen and undiscovered by people today.
IF EVERYBODY WERE THE THING
In the most tragic of the realities presented in What if…? # 11, the four band members are transformed into monstrous shapes like the Thing. Each of them is quickly consumed with rage and grief – Reed and Ben finding themselves in a massive brawl while Sue loses the ability to communicate thanks to her new form. The transformation also begins to greatly affect Reed and Sue’s minds, quickly reducing their intelligence.
Having no other option after sowing terror in New York City with their appearances, Reed finally convinces them to use his experimental flying vehicle – a prototype of what might have been the Fantastic-Car – to take them somewhere. part where they can be accepted: Monster Island. Uatu confirms that the Four’s self-imposed exile on the island never ended and all four lived their days in darkness.
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