This is the last issue of the Fantastic Four I'll be reading for the foreseeable future. Why? Because my subscription runs out with this issue and I think I can find better ways to use the $20 it would take to re-up for a year. Sorry FF. Anyway, this issue is written by Mark Millar and pencilled by Bryan Hitch... Hey, no it's not! The story is Mark's, but the scripting duties have fallen to Joe Ahearne. Not only that, but Bryan isn't on pencils here, Stuart Immonen does the honors. Well, with all that out of the way, onto the story!
-The FF is under attack by FF's from several different dimensions. The Marquis of Death explains to the team that he has agreed not to destroy the Earth's of the attacking FF members if they kill the FF of Earth 616... Yes, this is going to be VERY confusing. Upon learning from Reed that the Marquis is actually a future version of Clyde Wynchem, Ben decides to go and kill Clyde in the present, thus ending the rampage of evil, future Clyde... And nobody on the team lifts a finger to stop him... OOOOK...
-Reed whips up some kind of fancy doohickey(I believe that's the technical term)with the help of his daughter Valerie and Ben arrives at Area 87, which is where Wyncham's younger self is being held. The Marquis Apprentice tries to stop Ben, but Ben simply punches him, knocking him out of the fight... That was easy! Ben arrives at the dream machine, which has been keeping Wyncham sedated and before we learn what he does, we head back to the Baxter Building, where the horde of evil FF members have finally gained entrance. Valerie turns the machine her and Reed where working on and all of the invading FFers are knocked unconscious.
-At that moment, the Thing teleports in with Wyncham, who was told by Ben that his evil future self is running amok. Upon learning of the actions of his evil future self, Clyde decides to help the FF stop the Marquis. The Marquis arrives and battles his younger self through countless dimensions. Eventually experience triumphs over youth and Clyde is defeated by the evil Marquis. The Marquis gloats about his success and Reed tells him that the machine that knocked the invading FF members out also gave all of their powers to him and his three teammates. The FF then attack the Marquis with their powers enhanced to the nth degree, finally putting him down.
-Reed wants to put lock the Marquis away, but the rest of the team wants him to die for all he's done... Wow, Mark's version of the FF is pretty kill happy! Before anybody can do anything, the Apprentice reappears and puts a force field around both himself and the Marquis. The Apprentice then takes the mangled mask of Dr. Doom off of the fallen Marquis' face and reveals that he(the Apprentice)is in fact Doom! Doom explains that it took him millions of years, but that he eventually tricked the Marquis into making him the Apprentice, and that Doom has always been waiting for just the right moment to strike back at the Marquis... Wow, that seems needlessly complicated. Anyway, Doom taunts the FF with his usual lines, such as, "I'm smarter than you Reed" and "I'll deal with all of you at a later time" before killing the Marquis once and for all and leaving.
-With all of that nastiness out of the way, we go to the wedding of the Thing and his fiancee, Debbie Green. Ben never shows up, which causes Reed to fear the worst. Debbie on the other hand figures Ben has just gotten cold feet and she heads to his favorite watering hole, O'Leary's bar. Sure enough, Debbie finds Ben there and Ben explains to her that he can't marry her because of the danger it would inevitably put her in. Reed(along with a mess of super-heroes)finally manages to track Ben down and Debbie tells them the wedding is off, but that her and Ben are still friends... Yeah, sure! This issue ends with Reed buying Ben a drink.
Meh. I never really got into this storyline, probably because I never read the 1985 mini-series Clyde Wyncham was introduced in. I'm glad Doom was able to save some face by killing the Marquis, because to put it in plain English, the Marquis had really made Doom into his own personal bitch during the early part of this storyline. Of course, with a new creative team coming in next issue, everything that has happened during Mark's FF run will probably wind up being completely forgotten. I was really hoping Mark would have been able to breath some new life into Marvel's First Family, but alas, that was not to be, we mainly received the same old, same old. Oh well. For a score, I'll give this comic a 6 1/2 out of 10. If you read and enjoyed 1985, you'll probably like this comic, if not, it would probably be best to steer clear.Anybody who uses the word "Henceforth" is alright by me!