Review: Just like the last couple of issues, there are three separate storylines going on here, so I'll tackle them one at a time to try to keep this review as coherent as possible. First off we head to the Invisible Woman and Atlantis, where Namor had just killed the king of a rival Atlantian sect. The rival Atlantians are shocked and infuriated by Namor's actions, and as such decide they were going to kill him and his men. Namor seems nonplussed about the situation, which leads Sue to believe that Namor had an ace up his sleeve(if he wore sleeves...), and sure enough, several of Namor's warships prepare to attack the cathedral. Sue erects an enormous invisible barrier, keeping Namor's forces out, while keeping Namor and the angry Atlantians inside. After a day of keeping her shield up, Namor approaches Sue and explains that the rival Atlantians were an ancient sect of Atlantians who had always been hellbent on murdering all that stood in their path, be it fellow Atlantian or surface dweller. Needless to say, Sue is somewhat dubious, but Namor begins to translate some of the words the ancient Atlantians had been using around Sue, which leads to Sue realizing that the rival Atlantians were planning on killing Sue as some kind of sacrifice. Next up we head into space, where Mr. Fantastic was hanging out with Galactus and the Silver Surfer. The Surfer brings some guy named Ted(sorry, I have NO clue as to who he is!)and Alyssa Moy(who is apparently a robot now)on-board for the ride to Nu-World. Upon arriving in Nu-World's orbit, Galactus demands to know why the occupants of Nu-World(a future version of Earth)killed his future self. Reed explains that 500 years in the future, the sun will destabilize, and that the Earth would begin to freeze. Billions of Earthlings die, and the remaining humans decide to head back in time by using Galactus and his massive powers. The future humans succeed in escaping their doomed planet, but in doing so kill Galactus. Upon hearing this story, Galactus asks Reed if he could find a way to make sure that future doesn't come to pass, lest Galactus destroy the Earth immediately to avoid his eventual death. After some thought, Reed tells Galactus that even if he couldn't fix the sun, he would be able to provide the Earth with enough food so that they'd never become desperate enough to try to kill Galactus. Galactus is cool with that, but decides he was going to eat Nu-World, because all that talking had made him hungry... Okay, maybe that's not EXACTLY what happened, but close enough. Reed doesn't want to sit by and watch Galactus eat a few billion people, so he asks Galactus for a few minutes so he could try to teleport as may people from Nu-World as he could before the planet was devoured. Galactus cautions Reed, telling him that he wasn't going to give Reed any time to save the inhabitants of Nu-World, and that if he happens to be on Nu-World when it was eaten, Galactus would go and eat Earth too. Ever being the hero, Reed rushes planet-side to help the denizens of Nu-World. Finally, the Baxter Building comes under attack by forces of Annihilus, who were hiding on Earth. The bugs want to open the portal to the Negative Zone inside the Baxter Building in order for the main army of Annihilus to cross over and destroy the Earth. The Human Torch and Thing(who is still powerless)are tasked with fighting off the invaders as well as protecting all of the children who were going to school there. Unfortunately, this issue ends with the bugs breaching the Negative Zone portal, allowing hundreds of Annihilus' insect forces to come spewing out.
Thoughts: Whew! This was the embodiment of a set-up issue, ladies and gentlemen! Jonathan Hickman is lining up all of his pieces in preparation for next issue's climatic(double-size!)issue. Sue is trapped under the sea with Namor, surrounded by crazed ancient Atlantians, Reed is about to be devoured by the big G, and Johnny and Ben are being over-run by Annihilus' forces... So yeah, this was a pretty good issue, but it WAS a set-up issue, and as such, I never really found myself THAT engrossed in the story, since I knew nothing major was going to happen. We all know something major IS going to happen next issue, so this issue was basically a formality. It had to happen, but nothing COULD really happen... So that's what I thought about this issue. Before next issue, I wanted to throw out my prediction for which member of the FF would be taking the long dirt nap... I'd say the safest member of the team looks to be Reed, since his death would cause Galactus to head back to the Earth to eat it, and that's not going to happen. I can't see Namor allowing any harm to come to Sue, plus it would be REALLY lame if she gets killed off by a bunch of no-name Atlantians! Which leaves us with Ben and Johnny... This entire story seems to be setting up Ben as the fall guy, especially since he doesn't have his powers, and as such is vulnerable for the first time in a long time, but I think that's just TOO obvious... Nope, my pick is Johnny. I can see Ben protecting the kids from Annihilus' forces, and being overrun, only for Johnny to fly in the way of what would have been a fatal blow to Ben and/or the kids. So that's my pick, Johnny sacrifices himself for either Ben or the kids, and then gets to do the whole dramatic good-bye to Ben. With Johnny dead, Ben's powers return and he clobbers Annihilus and his goons. Plus that scenario leaves Ben filled with guilt over the fact that he allowed his powers to be taken away, which in a way, caused Johnny to perish. Of course, Hickman might mix things up and move some of his pieces around the board next issue, messing up all of my predictions, but as is, I say the Matchstick gets snuffed out. But that's my idea, what about the rest of you FFers? Who do you see biting the bullet?
Score: 8 out of 10.Run Reed RUN!