Fantastic Four (1st series) #546

Issue Date: 
July 2007
Story Title: 
Reconstruction: Chapter 3 Aw, That’s Just Crude

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

Brief Description: 

The Black Panther and Michael Collins flee the fight with Galactus and his heralds, heading back toward Earth. They contact Wakanda so that they can prepare a special contingency plan. Meanwhile the rest of the Fantastic Four and the new Protector of the Universe, Gravity, must face the Silver Surfer and Stardust.
As the fight rages on they realize Gravity was restored to life by Epoch. They band together to stop Galactus from feeding on Epoch. They begin their fight against the heralds, matching them at best.
In Wakanda, T’Challa takes a crate that is the weapon against Galactus and King Solomon’s Frogs, which will allow them to return to the fight in space immediately. As they return, the find that the fight is still raging. The Black Panther puts on a suit and joins the fray. The suit drains the Silver Surfer of his power, and the Johnny, with the suit, drains Stardust. With both Heralds out of the way, Gravity takes on Galactus.
Using all of his power, he drains himself into Galactus, feeding him. Satiated, Galactus thanks Gravity, and promises not to harm Epoch. Gravity explains to Epoch he doesn’t want to be the Protector of the Universe, he just wants to be himself. The Fantastic Four, Gravity, and Michael Collins then use King Solomon’s Frogs to return to the Baxter Building.
Elsewhere, Reed and Sue Richards take a stroll along the beach of Titan, a moon of Saturn. They discuss Reed’s new plan since he left Tony Stark. Reed promises that whatever happens, he’ll consult everyone and if they’re not in agreement, then nothing will move forward. As they talk they’re interrupted by a hologram, informing them of an unidentified object heading toward Earth. Sue says that Reed can investigate, but she’s coming too.

Full Summary: 

As the Black Panther and Michael Collins move through Foldspace, Michael continues to express his displeasure at abandoning the fight with the Heralds and Galactus. As he explains that he’s not one to run from a fight, T’Challa tells him that he is not one for losing a fight. The Black Panther contacts Wakanda and tells them to prepare the materials for the Galactus Contingency Plan.

The Black Panther then tells Taku, to prepare the frogs. As Taku attempts to dissuade his king, T’Challa tells him that he will be there shortly. Michael wonders about just what the Black Panther has up his sleeve, and then asks how they’ll get back in time. The Black Panther informs him that he’s allowed for that contingency as well.

Out in space, the remaining members of the Fantastic Four and Gravity fight the Silver Surfer and Stardust. Gravity challenges the two heralds as Ben and Johnny wonder how the boy is alive again, since it was his body they came all the way out here to retrieve.
The Surfer asks if this is indeed the corpse they came to retrieve. Storm tries damage control and asks Gravity if he is really Greg Willis. Storm explains their presence and Gravity informs them that he was in a cosmic chrysalis. Johnny tries to wrap his head around it saying that Greg was dead, but got better.

Stardust grows annoyed and the Surfer, having given them time to find Gravity’s corpse before Galactus feasts on Epoch, decides that the Fantastic Four’s mission has been accomplished and tells them to leave while they can. Gravity tells the Surfer that he’s agreed to be Protector of the Universe, to which the Surfer merely tells him to have Ben tell him stories of Gravity’s predecessors. Gravity flies toward Epoch and explains that she was the one who hired him for the job, so he can’t just let her get eaten. Stardust stops him and demands that Galactus not be disturbed.

She blasts Gravity with her Power Cosmic. It tears through him and sends him flying away. Stardust stands triumphant, but Storm, thinking Gravity dead once more attacks with a barrage of lightning. Meanwhile the Thing digs Gravity out and finds that he’s unhurt. Storm confronts the Surfer and warns him to stand aside. As Stardust reconfigures herself, the Surfer merely tells Storm that he is not her immediate concern.

On Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, Reed and Sue Richards walk along a bright red beach. Sue marvels at how beautiful it all is, but Reed simply talks about them not really experiencing it due to their life-support field and how not everything is quite what it seems to be. Sue is concerned, but she doesn’t let it get to her.

She changes the subject and asks Reed what the rest of his plan was. She explains that he did his equations and saved the world for the time being, but since he won and reset the table, she wonders what happens next. As Reed starts to walk away, troubled by his decisions and the problems they caused, Sue tells him that Reed left Tony to his own devices, so whatever Reed is thinking, he doesn’t need Iron Man anymore.

Reed explains that now is a time of great opportunity. They don’t need to avert destruction, but can create good. Susan quickly accuses Reed of sounding like Dr. Doom. Reed admits that he hasn’t figured everything out yet, but when he does, he’ll let Sue and the others all know what he’s thinking. Then if any of them don’t agree, no one will move forward, they will decide as a family. As they kiss, he promises no more secrets or deception.
The two are interrupted by a computer system programmed to let the master of the house know of any phenomenon. The robot then informs them that an unidentified object just entered the atmosphere. It is decelerating quickly and heading for Earth. Susan immediately gets angry that they’re interrupted, but when the system asks if Reed will investigate, she says that he can go play, but she’s coming along.

Back on Earth in the Royal Palace of Wakanda, T’Challa and Michael Collins are greeted by Taku. He explains to Michael that the box T’Challa came for is supposed to defeat Galactus, though there are a few elements missing from the plan. T’Challa asks for the frogs, and though Taku protests, T’Challa will hear nothing of it. T’Challa explains that these are King Solomon’s Frogs and they manipulate time and space. By putting them together, they return to the others almost instantaneously.

The two men appear back in space in the middle of the battle. As it rages, T’Challa begins to unpack the box and tells Michael to guard the frogs with his life.
Storm is taken down by the Silver Surfer as T’Challa approaches. He tells her to lead the battle against Stardust, he will handle the Surfer. Together again the Fantastic Four and Gravity battle the two heralds of Galactus. The Black Panther charges at the Silver Surfer wearing a new suit he pulled from the box.

The Surfer pours cosmic energy into the Black Panther, suddenly unable to stop. T’Challa explains that his armor is based on the kind Dr. Doom once used to steal the Power Cosmic. T’Challa calls the Human Torch to him and places the armor on him and tells him to handle Stardust, while T’Challa can now take on the Surfer alone.

The Black Panther easily bests the powerless Silver Surfer. Johnny blasts at Stardust, unable to hold her. Gravity takes his chances and keeps her trapped in between two event horizons, one wrong move and she’ll be halfway across the galaxy. With the heralds down for the count, Gravity makes his move on Galactus. Epoch cries for help as Gravity blasts the planet eater, garnering his attention.
Galactus turns to see Gravity and the Fantastic Four ready to stop him from eating Epoch. Galactus laughs at them, saying he is beyond good and evil. Michael asks if Gravity could hurt him again, to which Gravity happily explains he could crush him like a tin can. As Michael looks on thinking that that doesn’t sound like the man he knew, Gravity takes to the air and blasts at Galactus, telling him to “eat this.”

The blast strikes Galactus square in the chest. As the Thing and Michael worry that he’s killing Galactus, Gravity tells them to lighten up. He’s only feeding him. With that, Gravity collapses. The heralds are revived and return to Galactus who tells them all that it was enough energy to restore him. He thanks them.

Gravity asks that Galactus not hurt Epoch. Galactus swears that she will not be harmed. As he and his ship disappear, Epoch makes her thanks. Gravity explains that he used all of his power feeding Galactus. Epoch explains she will recreate the chrysalis to repower him. Gravity tries to explain that he just wants his old life back. Epoch accepts this and informs them that she will find a new champion.

Using the frogs, the six of them return to the Baxter Building. The Things offers Gravity a ride home, but he says that though his protector powers were used up, he still has his old powers. Now he just can’t wait to see his parents’ faces when they see he’s alive. As the Thing watches him leave, he merely advises that he should call first.

Characters Involved: 

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

Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic (On Leave Fantastic Four)
Michael Collins (Deathlok)


Silver Surfer


Dora Milaje

Mentor’s Robotic Servant

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.

The Black Panther is using one of Reed Richards’s special ships that literally folds space to take them somewhere nearly instantaneously. Hence the name, Foldspace.

Stardust became a Herald of Galactus off panel. Unlike many of Galactus’s heralds Stardust attempts to slaughters 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 involvement.

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

The plan that Sue was talking about was the crossover event Civil War. Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) developed a plan to registar all superhumans so that there was more control over the dealings of the super powered citizens of America.

King Solomon’s frogs are shown to have different abilities in this book than they have previously been shown. Here, one frog manipulates space, the other time. In their previous appearances, one would summon a person from somewhere in time, while the other would send them back.

Special thanks to Monolith.

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