Ultimate Fantastic Four #22

Issue Date: 
October 2005
Story Title: 
Crossover: part 2

Mark Millar (writer), Greg Land (pencils), Matt Ryan (inks), Jutin Ponsor (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), James Travers (production), John Barber & Nicole Wiley (assistant editors), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Reed Richards has landed into an alternate, infected world. There, something bad has happened, and super heroes became infected by a weird ray from the sky. Ever since, they started killing the people they used to protect, serving as their food source. Reed almost becomes their next victim, but is luckily rescued by none other than… Magneto! After defeating and killing some of the infected former heroes, Magneto brings Reed to his subway headquarters, where he and three other, human rebels are one of the few remaining, uninfected people on this world. After the proper introductions to the rebels, they and Magneto reveal to Reed how this world came to be. Unfortunately, there is one more problem. Now that Reed is on this planet, the infected Fantastic Four of this universe have also found a way to travel to Reed’s planet, and wreak havoc there as well! Meanwhile, on Reed’s homeworld, the left behind Sue, Ben and Johny start to worry about his disappearance. When they enter Reed’s lab at the Baxter Building, they notice a portal opening, and someone comes through it. It’s the infected Fantastic Four, and they are ready for a party!

Full Summary: 

Reed Richards has landed into an alternate universe, much darker than the one he came from. He stares into the darkness, as four people walk towards him.

Infected Reed remembers how it all began. They said it all started with a flash in the sky and a ripple through the clouds. Nobody knows what caused this exactly, but some people think it might have been a punch. Nobody knows if he truly is that strong. Today, Reed still wonders if infection had really made him so determined to get there in search of a brand new food supply.

At the time he first arrived on the planet, Reed would have said no, but after having experienced this hunger firsthand he’s afraid that now, he knows better. Reed recalls how the good citizens of this new world started getting attacked by powerful beams, and started to flee in panic.

The Avengers were the first on the scene. Their faces grave, concerned for all those human casualties. Reed heard Colonel America reassuring everyone that everything would be fine now that the super heroes had arrived. What they didn’t know was that the infection had targeted the super heroes of this dimension and a thousand realities before them. This was how it consumed: by infecting super heroes just like him and sending them out to infect the others. The Sentry was one of the first, and he soon infected the Avengers. Within twenty-four hours, they had consumed the entire planet, including the X-Men. One super hero from an infected universe… that was all it took to finish an entire world.

Young Reed wants to know what all this has to do with him. He wants to know why the infected would go to all that trouble just to lure thim here to this neighboring dimension. Infected Sue laughs at how Reed doesn’t seem to have a clue about what’s going on. Infected Reed stretches his arms and captures young Reed in them. He reveals that they just brought him here because… they had run out of food! Infected Reed continues to stretch his arms so his enemy can’t escape, and orders infected Sue to trap a force field around young Reed, so he can’t escape. But Sue fears that if she does that, she’ll slice off one of infected Reed’s arms. Infected Reeds shouts that it doesn’t matter, and orders her to just do it. But while they argue, young Reed managed to release himself and tries to escape by stretching his body through a sewer opening.

Infected Thing wastes no time and pulls the sewer hatch open, and orders infected Torch to go after Reed and mess him up good. Infected Torch does as told and, in a blaze of fire, follows the young scientist. Reed runs for his life, but soon notices infected Johnny coming after him, and panics. Infected Torch smirks that he heard that Reed had come to this planet to become a super hero. But, he laughs, super heroes don’t run away like frightened, little girls. Super heroes are supposed to be fearless. While Johnny continues to badmouth Reed and continues pursuit, he doesn’t notice that Reed managed to stretch his body into a thin line and is practically unable to be seen with the bare eye. Once Johnny is out of sight, Reed reveals himself and stretches his body back to normal. He goes back up to the surface, and mocks that somebody has been readying way too many comic books.

Reed takes some time to catch his breath. He takes a look in front of him, and is devastated by the destroyed buildings and skulls lying nearby him. Reed calls himself stupid and wonders how he fell into this one. Suddenly, he gets caught in webs! It’s infected Spider-Man! Spidey warns Daredevil that he was right, and this Reed is enhanced, but still clean and uninfected. Within a time of mere seconds, infected Spidey is accompanied by tons of other, former now infected heroes. Infected Thor wonders where Reed came from and how they could have possibly missed him.

Infected Hercules smells at the scared Reed, and notices that he may look like their Reed Richards, but the boy is not more than twenty years old. Infected Luke Cage confirms that Reed is a meta-human. He can smell it. He can’t believe they missed such a healthy specimen running around Manhattan. Reed begs for his life but then, suddenly, a loud explosion takes place! All of the infected’s mood changes and seem to be worried.

Infected Hulk attacks! He fights his way through the other infected and shouts that he knows that they are hungry, but Hulk is hungriest of all! Reed begs for his life, but Hulk frees Reed from the webs and tosses the boy on the ground. Hulk wants to eat him, but then a truck falls on him! Reed is startled. The infected freak out, and run for it. They look up, and notice lots of cars hanging above their heads!

The cars fall down, and land on some infected, killing them. Another explosion kills others. A hand reaches out to Reed. The man to which the hand belongs knows that Reed is scared, but confidents that he has nothing to fear from… Magneto! Right now, Magneto is the only hope Reed has.

Meanwhile, back at Reed’s home reality…

Johnny checks on Sue, who’s studying at the lab in the Baxter Building. Johnny asks his sister if she has seen Reed, because their father has been looking for him all morning, but Reed hasn’t been answering his cell phone. Sue explains to her brother that Reed’s cell is always off when he’s working. She mocks to her little brother that people actually work, as it’s what they do with their lives when they aren’t addicted to daytime soaps.

Johnny smiles that a man can learn a lot from daytime soaps. Sue asks him if he tried Reed’s lab. Johnny mentions that the lab was empty, and it looks like Reed didn’t sleep in his bed last night either. Sue is surprised to hear that. Johnny jokes that he told their dad to check Sue’s bed first. Sue walks out of the lab and tells Johnny to be quiet, wondering why he always has to be so immature about everything.

Ben notices them, and asks if they have seen Reed around. Sue explains that nobody has seen Reed since last night. She wants to know if the security people have checked the cameras. Johnny heard the front desk saying that Reed never left the building. The lobby and the roof guards confirmed it. Johnny jokes that he is starting to understand why Sue is so dreamy and fascinated by Reed: he’s such an enigma.

Sue asks Johnny to shut up, as this is serious. She knows something bad has happened. She uses an authorized activation code to shut down Reed’s lab defenses, and enters it. Johnny asks Sue if he should go fetch their dad. Sue tells Johnny to definitely not do that. She explains that Reed is in enough trouble with their dad and if he sees this he’ll go absolutely nuts, and she fears he might even fire Reed. They enter the lab and notice a device in the middle of the room. Ben asks what is. Sue isn’t sure, but it looks like some kind of teleporter.

Back on infected Earth…

Magneto has magnetically lifted himself and Reed up, and travels back to his headquarters. They are above a destroyed train station. A scared Reed asks Magneto how much further they have to go. Magneto mentions it’s just another few hundred yards.

Reed asks Magneto if he’s truly the last person in this world who hasn’t been infected. Magneto denies that, and mentions that there are others at the headquarters. But, Magneto corrects, he does is the last one with any special gifts, that is, at least, until Reed came along. They arrive in front of a tunnel and land. Magneto reveals he fashioned this refuge out of a railway tunnel. It’s not perfect by any means, but there’s lighting and toilet facilities and a place where they can store their food.

Reed is surprised that the infected don’t know about this place. Magneto is glad for that, but corrects that at least the infected don’t know it for the time being. He knows they will find it out sometime, sooner or later. He explains that the last time the infected found them, they almost murdered almost half of his little group. The remaining few are really quite resolute that they won’t end up in the bellies of a super hero like their missing friends and loved ones.

They enter the tunnel, and Magneto leads the way. Reed asks how long they have been living like this, and when this actually happened. Magneto thinks it happened around two days ago, or maybe three. It’s hard to remember, he confesses, but he believes the first to be infected was three days ago. Reed is astonished to hear that. They arrive at the headquarters, which is nothing more than a former subway stop. Magneto alarms the other rebels not to be afraid, as it’s only him with a friend.

The rebels call Magneto crazy, as they recognize Reed as a super hero and will be infected. Magneto defends that Reed is no more infected than him or any other of the rebels. So, he tells Kelly that she can put away her gun. He reminds her that he has told her a million times a gun is useless against most super people anyway. Reed defends that he’s honestly not infected. He explains to the rebels that a bunch of the infected tried to bite him, but none of them actually broke the skin.

Magneto introduces Reed to Danny and Mindy Glidewell. Danny is an insurance salesman Magneto found hiding in his car in the Lincoln Tunnel. His daughter, Mindy, is a diabetic and, unfortunately, she’s running low on insulin at the moment. Mindy greets Reed and asks him how it’s going. Danny asks Magneto if he managed to find anything at the hospital. Unfortunately, Magneto didn’t, as he bumped into Reed on the way to the hospital. But he asks Danny not to worry, as they’ll go back out and get Mindy’s medicine. He promises that everything will be all right. Magneto also introduces Reed to officer Kelly Ridge. She says hi, too.

Reed asks Magneto if he isn’t the leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants on this planet, and doesn’t hate normal people. Magneto corrects that the irony of this situation is not entirely lost upon him. But the end of this world is a great leveler – beggars can’t be choosers when they are down to the last few people alive. Danny asks Reed where he came from. Upstate, maybe? Danny mentions he’s got a brother up in Woodstock, and asks Reed if he might have heard anything about him. Reed apologizes, but he hasn’t a clue about what’s happening up there.

Mindy asks Reed if he’s got anything to do with the Reed Richards or the Fantastic Four from their world. Magneto adds that he has been wondering the same thing. He asks Reed if he’s a relative of their Reed in some kind. Reed denies that, and adds that what he’s about to say might sound a little weird, but he’s this world’s Reed Richards’ counterpart from a parallel reality, and that this world’s Fantastic Four kind of tricked him into coming here.

Kelly can’t believe her ears. She doesn’t even know what it means what Reed is talking about. Magneto asks Kelly to be calm, as this is serious. Magneto asks Reed if he’s saying he opened a gateway from their world to his? That Reed has given the infected a means of reaching a neighboring reality. Reed panics, and realizes that Magneto is right. He reveals that the infected gave him those designs so he could make his own way to this new world, but there’s no reason it couldn’t work the other way too. He wants to go back to the Baxter Building, and stop the infected from using that bridge he opened up.

Magneto apologizes, but tells Reed it’s much too late for that. Reed’s world is already dead.

Back on Reed’s home reality…

A portal opens in Reed’s lab at the Baxter Building. Sue, Ben and Johnny stand back, and notice something is coming through the portal. Sue calls out to Reed, hoping it’s him.

Not exactly… it’s the infected Fantastic Four, and they are ready for a party!

Characters Involved: 

Human Torch, Invisible Girl, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

on the infected, alternate world Reed visits:

Magneto (uninfected rebel)

Danny & Mindy Glidewell, Kelly Ridge (uninfected human rebels)

Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all infected Fantastic Four)

Archangel, Rogue, Wolverine (all infected X-Men)

Colonel America, Hawkeye, Luke Cage, Scarlet Witch, Sentry, Spider-Man, Thor, Warbird, Wasp (all infected Avengers)

Black Cat, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Hellcat, Hercules, Hulk, Iron Fist, Medusa, Nighthawk, Daredevil (other infected former heroes)

Story Notes: 

In previous issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four, young Reed Richards had been handpicked to join the Baxter Building think tank of young geniuses. Before that, Reed had spent his youth developing a teleport system that transported solid matter into a parallel universe called by Reed the N-Zone. Its first full-scale test was witnessed by Reed himself, and fellow think tank members Sue Storm, (Reed’s current girlfriend), Sue’s younger brother Johnny, and Reed’s childhood friend Ben Grimm.

Unfortunately, there was an accident. Victor von Doom, Reed’s former lab partner, had messed with the teleporting device, and something weird had happened. They had all gained special super powers, some better than others. Victor went insane thanks to his change, and became the Fantastic Four’s greatest enemy. After that battle, the Fantastic Four found a way to travel into the N-Zone, where they fought its habitants, and also managed to safe their home world from destruction, and became actual heroes in the end.

But for the past few weeks, Reed has been communicating with an older version of himself from a strangely, yet familiar other dimension. It looked like it was the Reed Richards from the “616” universe, and he even introduced Reed’s possible future son, Franklin, to him. Curious to discover more, the two scientists built a device to travel to the infected world Reed now has landed in. Upon landing, he now realizes it was all a trap. These events cover Ultimate Fantastic Four #1-21.

At the beginning of the story, the events are narrated by the Mr. Fantastic of the infected Fantastic Four.

Captain America is for some unknown reason called “Colonel” America.

First appearance of rebels Danny & Mindy Glidewell and Kelly Ridge. They have no counterparts in the regular Marvel universe.

Issue Information: 
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