Next week, an unprecedented event will happen: one of the members of the Fantastic Four will die. Forever. Never to be brought back. It’s a monumental occurrence in the Marvel Universe, especially as it’s only happened a half dozen or so times prior to this. So before we send one member of Marvel’s first family sailing into the long, dark night, here’s a look back at some of the other times they died:
While fighting an alien called Hunger, Doctor Doom was seriously injured, or so it seemed. Not wanting to die before he had taken care of his greatest enemy, Doom reached out his armored hand for Reed Richards, seemingly asking for his help. Instead, Doom zapped the both of them, reducing them to piles of ash. Unable to accept that Reed was dead, The Invisible Woman led the team through numerous dangers, until they finally did find Reed. Hyperstorm, the evil alternate universe child of Franklin Richards and Rachel Summers had actually sucked him into the past – because in the Marvel Universe, your children are always evil. Fun fact!
The Invisible Woman
In 2008, Mark Millar launched a storyline in Fantastic Four titled, “The Death of the Invisible Woman.” And it turned out to be completely accurate – though also a little misleading. Reed and Sue hire a nanny named Tabitha Deneuve, who turns out to be Susan Storm from five hundred years in the future. She’s returned to the past to save the future… Honestly, it doesn’t matter. During the course of the story, Doctor Doom is captured, and later released. Future Sue goes to apologize to him, and he’s electrocuted to death. Main thing I want to emphasize here? It’s been less than three years since Marvel announced a big death in the Fantastic Four. Take from that what you will.
In case it isn’t clear by now, if you’re going to kill off a member of the Fantastic Four, it must be by Doctor Doom’s hands. In Mark Waid’s massively underappreciated run on the title, he pitted the Four against their archenemy in a battle quite literally to the death. Doom is jumping his mind from body to body, virtually unstoppable. In The Thing’s form, Doom picks up The Human Torch, and is about to rip him in half. So Mr. Fantastic is faced with a choice: kill The Thing and stop Doom, or allow Johnny to die. He ends up killing his best friend – and for a time, Doom. The Four won’t stop at anything to rescue Ben Grimm, though, and end up traveling all the way to Heaven, to convince God (who looks an awful lot like Jack Kirby) to let him live again.
The Whole Damn Team
During the Onslaught crossover, the Fantastic Four were among the many heroes who sacrificed their lives to stop an evil being created by the melding of Professor X and Magneto (see what I mean about kids?). The entire world mourned their passing, but as they died, Franklin created a pocket universe to protect them. The FF lived on there, along with other heroes, reliving their previous adventures in a situation we like to call, “Dry run for the Ultimate Universe.”
So there you have it! The Fantastic Four are no strangers to the cold embrace of Death, but each time, they escape relatively unscathed. And they’ve all died, except for The Human Torch. Hm, that’s weird… Probably doesn’t mean anything, though, right? Sure. Probably not. Cough.
Well, whoever is kicking the bucket, expect Doctor Doom to be part of it… And also expect the character to probably return in a little over a year, as FF celebrates its 600th issue next February. Not to be totally cynical about it – but we will be.
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