Fantastic Four (1st series) #544

Issue Date: 
May 2007
Story Title: 
Reconstruction: Chapter 1 - From the Ridiculous to the Sublime (but not necessarily in that order)

Dwayne McDuffie (Writer), Paul Pelletier (Pencilier), Rick Magyar (Inkers), Paul Mounts (Colorist), VC’s Rus Wooton (Letterer), Molly Lazer (Assistant Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Out in space a being senses another’s approach and quickly hides itself in the middle of its plan. The being that arrives is Stardust, sensing the first creature’s disappearance; she contacts another asking for help in finding this being.
On Earth, the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic inform the Human Torch and the Thing that Storm and the Black Panther will be taking their places on the team for a while as they want to work on their marriage. The conversation turns to the fact that while looking at the rubble that once was the Wakandan Embassy, they found a series of bombs. Tony Stark asked Reed Richards to convince T’Challa to return home, but Reed refused, instead offering Storm and T’Challa to stay in the Baxter Building.
The Fantastic Four address the public and inform them that Storm and the Black Panther will be temporarily replacing the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic. T’Challa quickly moves in and finds that he already has a guest in Michael Collins, who was formerly Deathlok.
The group sets out to the grave of Gravity at Michael’s request and find that the body has been stolen and the area around completely deformed. They decide to find the Watcher and ask him what could have done all of this. On the moon, the Watcher allows the new Fantastic Four access into the Watcher’s records. With that, they find the coordinates of who took the body.
They find Epoch, who begs them not to interfere. The heroes demand the return of Gravity’s body and she is forced to attack them. As her fear grows, a familiar voice calls out saying that she had a right to be fearful. Especially since the Silver Surfer has found her.

Full Summary: 

Deep in space something stirs within an event horizon. Energies whip and churn as the being realizes that they will not soon be alone. They leave the chrysalis that they have just found and hid, waiting until they have the strength to face the enemy. Stardust emerges and is confused having sensed a presence there just a moment ago. She searches and wonders if there is a power there that can mask her senses. Telepathically, she calls out to another and asks for assistance. He agrees that the being she is searching for has cloaked his location and informs her that he is on his way.

At the Baxter Building Reed and Sue Richards explain to Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm that Storm and the Black Panther will be staying with them for a while, especially as Reed and Sue will be taking some time off to go on a second honeymoon.

T’Challa and Ororo explain that the Wakandan Embassy was destroyed when Storm had a disagreement with the clone of Thor. Reed apologizes and explains that what they found in the rubble of the embassy was the problem. T’Challa informs them that the building was full of bombs that were set to detonate only three hours after the battle inadvertently revealed their presence.

Reed and T’Challa continue explaining what happened previously. The Black Panther insists that his security can take care of the problem. Reed merely wonders if T’Challa means the same security that allowed all of the bombs through in the first place. Tony Stark, now dressed as SHIELD’s Director, joins the two and states that they will find who is responsible. T’Challa quickly informs Iron Man that if the US government or SHIELD had anything to do with it, there will be consequences. Tony asks the King of Wakanda not to make threats in the heat of the moment, then wishes to speak with Reed alone.
Tony wants to know if he and Reed are alright, since they haven’t talked since Captain America turned himself in. Reed informs Tony that it isn’t a priority for him, since he’s going to be leaving with Sue. Iron Man tells him that that’s great, but asks for one favor. He asks that Reed talk to T’Challa and convince him to return to Wakanda since he’s causing so much trouble on the world stage.
Reed informs Tony that he doesn’t believe that’s a good idea. He agrees with T’Challa’s thoughts against the militarization of superbeings and because he believes that the Black Panther put a transmitter on Tony and is listening to their conversation.


Reed and T’Challa finish the story. T’Challa explains that he doesn’t believe that Stark was responsible for the bombs. Storm, however, believes that Tony isn’t above using them to his advantage. T’Challa admits he would do the same. Susan reminds them all that if someone is trying to kill the Black Panther and Storm they’ll need a safe place to stay.

Later at a press conference, the Black Panther explains that the Richards family agreed to allow the Baxter Building to be used as the embassy for the time being. One reporter asks why T’Challa is spending so much time in the states when he has his own country. The Black Panther explains that the United States’ Registration Act is destabilizing the balance of power across the world. He best serves his country in the US currently. Reed and Sue respond to the question of if they are quitting the Fantastic Four by say that they are taking some time off since the year has been so stressful for them.
They are then asked if the Black Panther and Storm are officially joining the team. T’Challa responds that the Fantastic Four are a family not a team, and the Thing explains that it never hurts to color-coordinate your costumes. Storm explains that they are guests of the Fantastic Four, so if a problem arises, it would be rude not to help.

Later, the Human Torch and Storm watch the press conference on TV and he comments that she’s good at the P. R. Storm explains that it is an adjustment. Storm of the X-Men can speak her mind however she pleases, but Queen Ororo has to pick her words. Johnny asks what it’s like to be royalty. Storm explains that it is challenging, but worth it because she is with the man she loves.
Elsewhere in the building T’Challa oversees Wakandan workers moving décor and artifacts into the Baxter Building. The Thing and T’Challa joke around before the Black Panther asks if Reed and Sue have already left. The Thing explains that they’re staying on Titan, on of Saturn’s moons.
As the two continue to talk W’Kabi rushes in and explains that Deathlok has arrived to speak with T’Challa. Inside a lab, W’Kabi scans Michael Collins to make sure it is really him. Michael explains that he isn’t a cyborg anymore, that he has been cured. As T’Challa tries to tell Michael about the results, the former Deathlok interrupts and explains that he has a mystery to solve.

Not long after the new Fantastic Four converge at the grave of the deceased hero known as Gravity. Michael explains that since he made the arrangements for the burial, the funeral director called him. Michael explains that Gravity was new to the hero business and died saving a group of them from the Stranger. The Black Panther pulls out a device and looks at the readings, using large multi-syllabic words, much to the Thing’s chagrin.
T’Challa explains that there was a black hole with an electric charge and that it shouldn’t have been able to exist. The Thing jokes that they should just ask the Watcher when Ororo wonders simply, why don’t they?

Shortly, the Fantastic Four along with Michael Collins take off in one of Reed Richards’s new experimental space ships called a Fold Ship. Once they get into orbit, the ship folds space and they reach their destination nearly instantaneously. T’Challa begins to review exactly what they’re going up against with the Watcher, but is stopped as Ororo explains that she’s met him. Johnny laughs and says that everyone has met him. Shortly they arrive at the Watcher’s home on the moon.
Inside, Michael says that when he had powers he never got to go into space. As they start to wonder how to find the Watcher and get his attention, he appears before them. The Thing starts to joke, but the Watcher merely glares at them.
The Black Panther says that he had hoped Johnny and Ben’s relationship with Uatu would have made things easier, but it doesn’t seem to be going that way. Storm joins them and hands T’Challa a small device. He aims it at the Watcher and tells him it is his last chance to talk. Uatu looks at the device and realizes it is the Ultimate Nullifier. Uatu explains that T’Challa would never use it.
The Ultimate Nullifier would erase the Black Panther from existence and that would interfere with the astonishing destiny of his and Storm’s future children. Storm is surprised at the mention of children, but the Watcher explains that he was at their wedding for a reason. The Thing makes T’Challa lower the device and explains they just want information. Storm asks that they be allowed to access it. Uatu agrees, saying all they had to do was ask.
As he sends their consciousnesses into the records all Watchers keep on the universe, their minds search for the information. As he attempts to usher a warning, Ben proclaims that he’s got it. With that, the five leave the Watcher’s home on their way to the coordinate of the kidnapper of Gravity’s body.

They find Epoch, the daughter of Eon. She calls out and warns them that they are dealing with powerful forces. Michael demands that she return the body of Gravity. She states that what she has done is beyond their comprehension, and has been years in the making. Storm proclaims that it is not negotiable.
She explains that they are at a delicate moment. Shortly their request will not matter, but she must remain hidden until then. T’Challa gives the order to land on her surface and Epoch regretfully must attack. She pleads with them begging that they leave her alone. Her energies can be detected, their trail can be followed. She claims that she cannot be found by the herald because “he” will not be far behind. As Ben and Johnny wonder what is going on, a familiar voice proclaims that Epoch was rightfully afraid.
The Silver Surfer appears and glides toward the cosmic being.

Characters Involved: 

Black Panther, Human Torch, Storm, Thing (All Fantastic Four)

Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic (On Leave-members of the Fantastic Four)

Michael Collins (Deathlok)


Silver Surfer


Uatu, the Watcher



Wakandan Embassy Employees

In Flashback:

Black Panther

Iron Man (Director of SHIELD)

Mr. Fantastic


Story Notes: 

This issue is part of the Initiative crossover dealing with the fallout of Civil War.

The Black Panther and Storm joined the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #543 because Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman decided to take a leave of absence to work on their marriage. Also, in Civil War #7 the Wakandan Embassy, where T’Challa and Ororo had been staying, was destroyed.

Stardust became a Herald of Galactus off panel. Unlike many of Galactus’s heralds Stardust attempts to slaughter those beings who try to escape the planet that Galactus will feed upon.

Gravity died in the 6 issue mini-series Beyond. Deathlok was also present in the series, hence his knowledge of Gravity’s demise and burial.

The Ultimate Nullifer is a device Uatu once gave to Mr. Fantastic in order to stop Galactus from devouring Earth. It destroys the target completely, but also destroys the wielder from existence as if that had never been.

The Watcher, along with most of Marvel’s heroes, attended the royal wedding of the Black Panther and Storm in Black Panther #18.

Epoch is the daughter of Eon, a giant, sentient planet-like creature. He has been around from nearly the creation of the universe.

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