Two major members of the Fantastic Four could be doomed to die stopping the Reckoning and everything is according to Mister Fantastic’s plans.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Fantastic Four #40, now on sale from Marvel Comics
The Fantastic Four – and the rest of the Marvel Universe for that matter – are currently facing a potentially apocalyptic event with the War of Judgment. A long-simmering conflict that’s been teased for years, it wouldn’t be surprising to see casualties – with two potential major ones resulting directly from one hero’s decisions.
The Fantastic Four #40 by Dan Slott, Rachael Stott, Jesus Aburtov, and VC’s Joe Caramagna asks Mister Fantastic to send himself and Thing on a mission that just might kill them both – and he did it with candor cold which is truly terrifying.
The Reckoning War has already proven to be a monumental event, with the entire hero community scrambling to deal with the threats posed by the mysterious Reckoning race. Reed Richards was forced to embrace all of the Observer’s knowledge – which left him even brighter but far less empathetic. To deal with the threats, the team eventually bursts across the universe – with Mister Fantastic, the Thing, She-Hulk and Jack of Hearts venturing into Shi’Ar space to help protect the M’ Crystal. Kraan. Upon arrival however, they find the Imperial Guard largely defeated at the hands of the Morani. A deadly race of warriors, they have become even deadlier thanks to Reckoning’s technology.
Among them is the warrior known as Rapture, who bears personally dangerous potential for the Thing. When the Griever forced the team to witness their probable death in Fantastic Four #28, the Thing saw Rapture kill him in battle. While this leaves the usually Loud Thing terrified, Reed reveals a second problem: Due to his decision to absorb the Watcher’s knowledge, his mind is expanding at a rate even his advanced mind cannot sustain. The amount of knowledge actively kills Reed and melts his brain. Due to the power boost, Reed effectively sentenced himself to death within three days. It’s a brutal series of choices from Mister Fantastic, and ones that just might result in the death of Marvel’s first Ultimate Best Friends.
On the one hand, they will at least have the chance to meet their destiny together. But on the other hand, it’s heartbreaking to watch Reed choose the practical yet tragic fate of his partners. Due to his advanced intellect, Reed seems to have become increasingly cold to the emotions of those close to him – enraged Human Torch in battle and ignored his wife’s fears. But seeing the likelihood of his and the Thing’s death – and deciding it was for the greater good – might be his coldest decision yet.
While their battle against Rapture could save all of reality, it could also leave Alicia Masters widowed and their adopted children fatherless. That’s without even considering the risk that Reed is taking himself, seemingly sacrificing himself and his well-being for the good of the universe. There’s still a good chance the heroes will discover something – they’re operating on a truly cosmic scale at this point, and any number of powerful beings might find a way to save or restore the pair even if they die. It wouldn’t even be the first time the two have died in the past two decades. But given that this time it was Reed’s decision to put them directly in the line of fire, the whole situation takes on an even more stark aspect.
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