Thunderbolts: The Devil You Know Doc Fantastic and his Five For the Future, from FF 47

"The Devil You Know Fantastic Four 2001 (October 2000)
"It’s Too Late to Stop Now!" Fantastic Four 46 (October 2000)
"Just Imagine..." Fantastic Four 47 (November 2000)
"Worlds Apart" Fantastic Four 48 (December 2000)
"Dark Victory" Fantastic Four 49 (January 2001)

Reader Rating: Average; Thunderbolts Interest: Low

Summary: The skull of Galactus crash-lands in Time Square, a harbinger that Abraxas, the destructive counterpart to Eternity, is coming to Earth to destroy all the Multiverse. The fabulous Fantastic Four journey to alternate realities to locate the one weapon that might stop Abraxas: the Ultimate Nullifier.

The FF are The Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, and The Thing.  An alternate universe’s Nova (Frankie Raye) plays a pivotal role, as do Franklin Richards and Valeria Von Doom.  With significant appearances from Namorita, the Watcher, and a pair of goddesses called Roma and Saturnyne. Captain Marvel (Genis), Moondragon, Quasar, and Tony Stark appear briefly. The Silver Surfer dies, but gets better.

Other alternate universe appearances: The Law Enforcement Squad (Battling Jack [Daredevil], Captain Universe, Buck Barnes [Bucky], Dr. Druid, Hulk, Living Lightning, Namora, Red Raven, The Shroud, The Whizzer); Doc Spectrum; The Destroyer; Namor the Sub-Mariner; Thor; Captain Mar-Vell; The Vision; Dr. Doom and The Challengers of Doom; and Five For the Future (Hank McCoy [Beast] as Mr. Feral, Foggy Nelson as Mr. Mist, Dr. Strange as Mr. Strange, and P. Norbert Ebersol [Fixer] as Mr. Fixit).

Continuity: Bert is finally important enough to be noticed in another dimension. As “Mr. Fixit”, he is a member of Doc Fantastic and his Five For the Future (FFF, get it?), a riff on Doc Savage and his Amazing Five.

Comments: A Galactus skull in New York is one of the all-time great story hooks, and the mile-a-minute plotting and amusing alternate realities make this a diversion worth breezing through. But, doggone it, there just isn’t enough text to explain what’s going on. Perhaps the godlike creatures Abraxas, Roma and Saturnyne have been more satisfactorily introduced elsewhere, but they sure aren’t given much background here. If Reed Richards had taken a second to ask why Abraxas was coming to Earth, of all inhabited worlds, the final chapter might have played out differently. And Valeria Von Who? 

Small nit: Why is Doc Fantastic’s band called Five For the Future when, including Johnny Storm, there were apparently six members?  Oh, well. If you can manage not to sweat the details, you’ll have a good time.

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This page was revised on November 8, 2001

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