What I would do with 12 issues of UFF...

Nas-T!

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These are just some ideas I came up with on the spur of the moment really for what I would do if I had 12 issues on Ultimate Fantastic Four as well as an annual. So I figured, since I don't know what will happen in Mark Millar's run, I decided to just superimpose my ideas over his run.
In other words, instead of hiring story-weaving, money-making extraordinaire Mark Millar, Marvel hired some nobody, dumb-bum named "Nas-T!" instead!8)

So...um...I won't put it up all at once, but I'll just sorta put up whatever idea I get for whenever I get it.
I'm thinking about a bit of time-travel of a different kind, about a villain with all of the FF's powers, about Thing's biggest fight, an origin for Man-Thing, Reed taking Sue home to his parents, Dr Storm getting fired, General Ross' secret underground activities, Ben's first date since he went all rocky, Johnny and Spidey attempting to team up and my own version of the Inhumans!! Sound fun? It does for me!!

Let's start this one off, shall we?

#21: 'Close Encounters: Part 1'
The issue opens with Reed sitting in his lab. He's talking to someone, but we can't see who it is. They talk about how Reed and his friends are coping with being public figures now since they made a big splash in Vegas not too long ago. The person that Reed is talking to sounds wise as he offers Reed a lot of advice on being a hero and a scientist in the public eye. It is quite evident that this person is a scientist and there is a hint that it's Dr Storm. Reed wonders aloud about Rhona "Mad-Thinker" Burchill and where she could be. He wants to be prepared for her next time she strikes. The other person tells Reed not to worry about her as he is smarter than her and that is what she can't deal with.
Reed gets a call from Dr Storm to come up and meet him in one of the labs immediately. They have something important on the agenda. Reed gets up, apologizes to the person he was talking to and then leaves the room.
We, the readers, now get a glimpse of the person Reed is speaking to. He is a much older version of Reed (the one that contacted him in #20) but his face is only on a screen in Reed's lab. He's quite obviously stressed out about something.

Reed goes to the lab that he was called to and finds Dr Storm, Sue, Ben and Johnny all waiting, along with General Ross. Ross explains that he's called this meeting to discuss a couple of things, reminding them all that he's the boss. Firstly he informs Reed and the others that they're going to have to full-on public very soon and that he's gonna have to dress it up real nice so that the public will swallow it.
He also says that he wants them to be very successful when they're "out there" because he doesn't want casualties from his damn department. That and he wants to show "that bald [email protected]^* Fury that my super-people are better than his!"
He then informs them that he needs help with the 'death-ray' Reed handed over to him as the guys he's got working on it aren't doing so well. Most of them have blown off their own faces with the thing while taking it apart. There's also some...other things he needs to show them that he thinks Reed will be impressed with.

Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben all go with Ross to the New Mexico Desert to Area 51. He informs them that, since "that bald [email protected]^* Fury" can't watch everyone on Earth, Ross is the one who gets to keep his own little piece of heaven stocked up with weirdos and monsters. His particular space is all about holding aliens.
It is a base many miles under the desert surface where Ross stores Kree, Chitauri and any other corpses and living alien beings he can. Among them he has Nihil and his little Jawa-esque underlings.
When Reed and the gang pass by Nihil's cell he jumps at them and starts yelling curses to Reed. Reed says that he's still not using a translator and that he can't understand a thing he was saying. He offers Ross some of the translation software he was working on after they visited the N-Zone.
Other things that are stored here are alien weapons (like the ones from Ultimate Secret) and even Bruce Banner's fecal matter (the ones that contained Kleiser's remains). There's even a guy who is trying to harness the Chitauri's "Chameleonic Hold" abilities to turn humans into shape-shifters on some level. A colleague of his informs him that what he's doing is "impossible, man!"

Ross shows them the death ray, which has been taken apart and is lying on a workbench. Ross tells them that none of the scientists can get the damn thing to work. Reed begins to examine it, babbling away to himself about how it works.
Since Reed is doing that, Ross decides to show the kids his other big project. He tells them that the Chitauri have gotta be the easiest aliens to take apart according to his science guys. And since he has footage of all the FF's battles (well, not the one with Victor, or the one in the N-Zone, but some footage) he has become interested in their abilities. He talks about his respect for the Chitauri because they had a plan that they actually had the stones to follow through on, and as a military man, he can respect that. He then explains what he's on about by telling the FF that they were able to synthesize some of their abilities and, using the genetic engineering technology they had, they were able to build Ross' dream soldier.
He unveils a humanoid Chitauri warrior with rock-like (but still green) skin.

To Be Continued...

Nas

#22 - 'Close Encounters: Part 2'

General Ross continues to explain the new Chitauri Super-Soldier he's created and how he's received the very best in tactical training and that he's developed the use of his superpowers beyond what Ross has seen the FF do. But they're stealing reeling from the shock of what they're seeing.
Sue is the first to speak up, yelling that Ross has no right to take their DNA and create his own super-soldiers, and that, of all the things he could've used in his experiment, he used a member of a species that tried to annihilate the human race.
Ross defends himself by saying that the Chitauri they're dealing with had defected to their side like "that Marvel guy you went into space with" and that he can do whatever he wants with their DNA and their powers because they work for him.
They're just about to continue the argument when a warning alarm comes on. Apparently, there's some kind of super-terrorist attack in San Francisco. Ross orders Reed and his "pals" to tag along with his super-soldier and find out how a real warrior does battle.
Sue is surprised at the thought that Ross has let the Chitauri warrior out of the base before, since they don't have any proof of his defection. Ross just smiles and then kicks them all out.

They get to Frisco, but the Chitauri puts them all to shame using their own powers. He then crushes his communications device and tells them that he wants to prove to them his superiority.
Reed thinks that he's being ridiculous, but he proves that he means business by knocking Sue away with a single punch. Johnny is, of course, ticked off by this but he gets trapped in one of the Chitauri's forcefields. Flaming on from the inside uses up his oxygen supply quickly and he faints.
The Chitauri then puts little forcefields in Reed's lungs and expands them, not allowing him to breathe. Reed collapses as the warrior places more forcefields in his other air passages.
Ben takes a swing at him, but having nearly the equivalent of Ben's strength and being more tactically adept, his knocks him out, too. He stands over them declaring himself their master. Then Sue arrives, saying that she's the one who's going to beat him.

To Be Continued...
 

Nas-T!

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I forgot to add something in here. And that is the Chitauri's other reasoning for suddenly schooling the FF in the art of war. Can't believe I forgot his motivations!
The reason is that he did not defect to the human race, that was just a claim he made as part of one of the Chitauri's plan prior to their own demise. He was going to infiltrate the US military as a Chitauri agent providing them with false information that would eventually have led to their own end.

Now he wants revenge against The Ultimates and the government so he plans to go to The Triskelion and school The Ultimates, too! That's why he destroys the communicator device in #2. Anyways, so the FF try and defeat him before he makes his move. Not doing so well so far.

Nas

#23 - 'Close Encounters: Part 3'

Sue and the Chitauri (who I'm just gonna call Super Skrull from now on, since you know who he's supposed to be!) face off classic Anime style. Both of them pushing their powers to try and find ways around the other's defenses.
Super Skrull is crafty and gets the better of Sue at times, but eventually she wins out by causing several small forcefields to expand within his skull. He appears to be in a coma.
Just as the Area 51 flunkies arrive to clear up the mess they've made, Sue collapses from exhaustion.

Later on, once everyone has recovered, Doctor Storm gives the FF an earful for their behavior and risking their lives trying to stop Super Skrull when The Ultimates would’ve easily been able to deal with him once he reached The Triskelion. Reed tries to justify it by saying that the Skrull would’ve hurt innocent civilians on his way to The Triskelion because of his disdain for the human race (which he found out about from Sue).

Back at Area 51, the Super Skrull is being placed in a specially developed holding cell. As he lies there, he starts to realize his true calling. His race has been annihilated because of their own stupidity and not because of The Ultimates, thus he can no longer be true to a species which was stupid enough to fall the way they did. He concludes that he is a new breed of Chitauri, and prefers the name of Skrull because at the very least, it was given to his species by a race far superior to humans. But most of all, he realizes that what he wants now more than anything is revenge on the FF for humiliating him, for he is their superior. He sees a member of the cleaning staff and a security guard entering his cell and he smiles.

The FF receive another message from General Ross, this time he has heard of possible Hulk sightings since Bruce Banner’s execution and he wishes to capture and kill the man who has left his only daughter so distraught. But he can't confirm that it is Banner without entering Canada, so he wants a full status report from the FF based on what they can find.
The FF are reluctant to get into a fight with someone, anyone, who may be The Hulk, since that monster nearly defeated The Ultimates single-handedly, but the government pays the bills and so they’re forced into it. After the kids have left the room, Doctor Storm exchanges angry words with Ross for using the kids to his own ends.

Back at Area 51, a truck arrives to pick up the night cleaning staff. As they board the truck the janitor who had to clean Super Skrull’s cell looks back at the facility and smiles.
“Happy to get out of that s#*$hole, huh, buddy?” asks one of the other cleaning staff.
“Uh…yeah,” says the janitor, “Happier than you know.”
Back in the Super Skrull’s cell, the security guard laysin a pool of his own blood. Dead.

Next: Thing vs Hulk!!!

Nas

#24 – ‘Thing vs. Hulk!’
The FF have tracked down the man they believe to be Doctor Robert Bruce Banner to the Canadian wilderness. Based on what General Ross suspected, Banner had been sighted a few times in the area, but that that had led to Canada dispatching some of their own government muscle to watch over the area. The FF could easily get away with just "being there" on a friendly science expedition, as opposed to any US military personnel.
They get out of the Fantasti-Car (kitted out just like the one Land designed for #21) and decide to search the area on foot. Reed, Sue and Johnny profess to being freezing cold, but Ben says he can barely feel the change in temperature, except when he breathes in. Johnny 'flames on' and keeps them warm.

Eventually the four arrive at an abandoned base of some kind, which they decide to investigate for traces of Bruce Banner.
Inside they find Bruce Banner huddled in front of a fire. There are some amusing comments between Ben and Johnny as they try to figure out exactly what Banner smells like, but Sue shuts them up.
Banner wakes up and Reed tries to explain that they don’t mean any harm, but that they have to take him in. Banner does not want to end up unconscious on an exploding aircraft carrier again, or worse, and so he starts to run deeper into the base. The whole team gives chase, but Johnny flies after him faster than any of the others could run. He manages to corner Banner in a darkened room. Banner is gripped with fear and the will to live overcomes him. His eyes glow green.
The other three FFers are outside the room and approaching it swiftly, when Johnny is suddenly tossed from inside it. The other three stare into the room and see The Hulk advancing on them!!!!

The four try to go at him as they would usually, but The Hulk proves too much for them, so Reed says he has an idea and tells Ben to hold Hulk off.
“Sure,” says Ben, “I’ll just use my amazing ‘getting tossed around like a ragdoll’ ability!”

Hulk and Thing begin to fight. Hulk knocks Thing around, and Ben feels it. Ben returns the favor, and Hulk kinda seems like he might be feeling it. But Hulk is clearly stronger and is getting angrier.
Meanwhile, Reed calls General Ross and asks him to get over there with a Hulkbuster unit or whatever because he thinks they've found his monster. Ross yells for them to just keep Banner busy till he shows up.
In the back of the Fantasti-Car, Reed shows Sue exactly what Ross gave him to combat The Hulk: the cure devised by Bruce Banner and Eamon Brankin. It has been altered slightly so that it almost immediately shuts down Hulk’s brain, rendering his mind paralyzed. Reed says that it’s cooled down a lot because of the ambient temperature, but that Johnny can heat it up and then get it close enough to Hulk to inject it into him if Sue protects him with a forcefield.

Back with Ben, Hulk rips a tree out of the ground and swings it at Ben. It hits Ben dead in the chest but, instead of knocking him away, the tree snaps in half around him! Ben then grabs the two broken halves of the tree and uses them to smack Hulk on either side of the head.
Hulk gets really pissed off and swats Ben away in a rage. Ben decides to take the old football approach and charges Hulk.

Johnny gets close enough to Hulk and injects him before being swatted away himself. Hulk’s brain shuts down, but instead of just rendering Hulk a vegetable, it gives way to Bruce Banner’s personality. Bruce looks at his hands and body and realizes that he’s still The Hulk with his own mind functioning, then sees Ben charging him and faints.
Ben stops right in front of the unconscious form of Hulk who then reverts to Bruce Banner, thinking that it was him (Ben) that eventually wore out The Hulk, and not realizing Johnny, Reed and Sue’s involvement. They all smirk and decide not to tell him what they did.
Bruce begs them for mercy. He tells them what it's like to be locked up in a cell, or to know that all your friends have been sent to murder you. He says that there's no worse feeling than not being able to cure himself or explain his actions. He just lies there in fear, eventually falling asleep or unconscious at their feet.
Ross comes online over the communicator. He's getting close and he wants a status report. Reed looks at Banner on the ground and then up at the team. He turns on his communicator and tells Ross that they lost the monster, and they’re not even sure it was Bruce Banner/Hulk. Ross starts yelling and going crazy over the com, but Reed puts it off and looks at everyone else.

Bruce wakes up in bed, stands up, looks around. He’s in a small, moderately furnished room. He walks up to the door, tries the handle, it opens. He goes outside and walks down a hallway to another door. He opens it and goes outside and we see a close-up on his face in total surprise as he says, “Oh my God!”
The next two pages are a massive spread of a ship sailing along the ocean and Bruce is standing on deck.

Next: Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1!!!
 

Nas-T!

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#25 – ‘Susan Through The Looking Glass’
Reed and Sue have been toying around with the idea of a time machine for the past few weeks, but they are still in the early stages of their project. However, a sudden breakthrough using Reed’s teleporter helps them to leap from Phase Three of their project (Harnessing and Controlling Chronal Energies) to Phase Four (Using Chronal Energies to View the Fourth Dimension).
Reed and Sue have created what they call a ‘Time Window’, which they demonstrate to the scientists at the Baxter Building by showing them events from earlier on in the decade. The window allows them to view events throughout the timeline, but not actually enter those moments.
Reed demonstrates the window’s ability to see into the future by showing them the image of one of the scientists who is drinking a soda dropping his can. The can hits the floor in the vision from the future, but with Reed now knowing what will happen and when, he simply catches the can as it falls. He says that he has proof that the timeline can be altered, and that he has just created what is possibly the most dangerous device on the face of the Earth.
The scientists all stand and clap. Eventually, they all leave. Reed tells Sue that he’s going to take a break and he’ll see her in a while.
Before he leaves, she asks him if he wants to see their future, but he says that there’s no use in seeing it since it is fluid and not as predestined as what the machine suggests. He tells her that he’s shown her over and over how he can alter the timeline and how his minor actions can cause large-scale ripple effects throughout the time stream, citing the example of catching the soda can. He says to her that he’d checked that scenario a few times and, if he had not caught the can, that scientist would have gone out to get another at the machine, slipped, fell and ended up with a blue eye, which would in turn set up a number of other chain reactions that he’s just prevented. He says that the machine is just a computer that can access four-dimensional space through the N-Zone. It just picks up on the tiny ripples through time and calculates the most probable theory based on that information. Nothing is set in stone.
Sue acknowledges what Reed says and he leaves.

Sue wants to investigate her and Reed’s future, so she accesses a jump into a future timeline, where she comes face to face with Reed’s older self. The same older-self Reed has been conversing with for the past few weeks. He is apparently not just a vision that she can see, but someone who can also see her.
The older Reed begins to explain that he and Reed have been conversing for a few weeks now, and decides to tell her about all the details of it all. He says that he is actually an alternate future version of Reed whose world has been ravaged by a horrible plague, which contaminated all their food sources and slowly began killing every species on Earth. He says that most of his own machines were taken apart or sold early on when they could still buy these items from other countries, but now those people are dead too. He then tells her that he decided to use his old Time Window to see if he could somehow find a way to get the things he needs from the past into the future, and maybe save his future.
His Time Window works the same as Reed and Sue’s, accessing various ripples and contacting a possible past version of himself. This time it appears that there is a link between their two timelines through the N-Zone, which older Reed surmises to be the universe located above his.
He and Reed have been working on a means to teleport resources into older Reed’s timeline to help him and the surviving humans there, but young Reed is letting this project steal so much of his time that he hasn’t had much time for anyone else. Sue agrees that Reed gets like that with his work. Older Reed agrees. Sue asks how many survivors there are in Reed’s future, but he says that there are very few as the plague which contaminated their food supply killed many, many people.
Sue then asks him if he really believes his world deserves to survive, but then takes it back as she didn’t mean it. Older Reed isn’t offended by that because his Sue, who died, has said similar things. He says that he can’t just give up. That it means too much to him. Sue says she knows. She says that that is how Reed is. He won’t stop till it works. Older Reed looks sad. He ends the transmission.

Later that day young Reed and old Reed are talking again. Old Reed tells Reed that he lied about the amount of people still alive in his timeline, and that it is miniscule. Young Reed asks why he lied, and he says that it was because he knew Reed would help him no matter what. Young Reed says that it’s true, and that it doesn’t change anything because he still wants to help. Old Reed tells him not to, as there is no one else for him to help anymore. He breaks the connection, leaving young Reed confused and hurt.
In old Reed’s alternate future we see him sitting alone in his lab in front of the Time Window. We see that most of his technology has been torn apart to build other smaller devices across the various workbenches. He looks to another screen that reads: “Global Population Scan Complete: As of today, the global population now consists of…one person”
Old Reed sits back in his seat looking sad. He then stands up and walks over to a coffee machine and pours himself some coffee.

The End?

The UFF Annual #1 – ‘The Nexus’
The issue opens with a flashback to the accident that gave Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben and Victor their strange abilities. In the midst of the portal expanding outwards, the image of Man-Thing becomes visible for a few seconds. The image passes. Then the screen blurs in a rewind and we see Man-Thing again.
General Ross is watching the tape of the teleportation experiment in his office. There are a few other scientists and soldiers present. He wants to know exactly what the plant critter is. One of the scientists brings up Reed Richards’ theory on what happened at the accident site, and that maybe the Man-Thing represents the wood or plant part of the elemental equation in their phase space. Another scientist agrees, wondering if perhaps Richards’ dog is the plant creature.
Ross scoffs at them and tells them that the dog is sitting in Area 51 getting observed and studied everyday “just like Richards and his little ragtag band of super-geeks should be!”.

A few years ago: scientist Ted Sallis is working on a formula that he postulates could hold the key to evolution and perhaps the control of this mutant gene that is running rampant everywhere. His wife asks him if he isn’t worried about presenting something that could “stop mutant births” before the public that seems to love mutants, for the most part.
Magneto concurs, standing in the doorway of Sallis’ laboratory. He asks Doctor Sallis if he is himself a closet mutant, and if that’s why he wants to “cure” them all. Sallis denies it and tells his wife to go call the police or the National Guard or something, and to tell them that they have Magneto, the mutant terrorist, lying in a pool of sweat and urine on their lab floor. She leaves the room.
Magneto compliments Ted’s ability to act scary and wonders if he really thinks that Magneto fears him. Ted says that Magneto should, grabbing the Master of Magnetism by the arm and unleashing a wave of blue and white flame around him. Magneto sees a vision of himself behind bars, which brings a slight look of worry into his eyes. He uses his abilities to move a fork that was lying nearby and stick it in the back of Ted’s neck.
Ted falls to the ground.
Magneto is amused that he was right and that Sallis is a mutant. Sallis confirms it, and says that he just wants to make sure that no one else’s kids are going to end up as freaks like Magneto’s. He says that the formula he’s working on is more like the X-Gene in a test tube, and that its effects if ingested are unknown to him at the moment. Magneto turns to his Brotherhood of Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Mastermind, Blob and Toad and tells them to set the entire house and lab on fire, and to make sure that the entire Sallis family is inside when they do. Toad begins to spread gasoline around the floor while Blob empties out the fridge. Mastermind asks Sallis if whatever he made Magneto see was an illusion or something more real. Quicksilver tells Mastermind to stop conversing with the lowly traitors and pours some of Sallis’ formula over the beaten scientist. Magneto says that he is still interested in the effects of the formula and uses the remainder of it on Sallis, injecting it into the helpless scientist. They then set the place on fire.
As Quicksilver is about to leave the lab, Sallis grabs him by the leg. He sees a vision of his father putting two bullets into his kneecaps. He runs off in shock.
As the place burns to the ground, Ted Sallis drags himself out of it, through his wild garden and, while partly on fire, collapses into a sewer tunnel.

Today: The FF are watching TV together in a communal room in the Baxter Building. Johnny says that he’s tired of nothing happening since they went public a few weeks ago and that he wants them to find something to do. Reed says that Johnny could always try out his virtual reality construct program, to which Johnny replies that he isn’t in the mood for one of Reed’s excuses to test his powers again.
Then a news broadcast comes on TV that discusses the possibility of a creature roaming the NYC sewer system. Apparently, the strange creature attacked sewer workers and one of them is in a coma now. Reed asks Johnny is that is something he would like to check out. Johnny is bored so he agrees, Sue is interested, Reed is tired of hearing Johnny whine, and Ben is just gonna tag along cos he always does!
The four of them get into the sewers nearby to where the workers were attacked. Reed has a large backpack with him that he’s got equipment inside. Sue, Reed and Ben all have flashlights to see. Reed pulls out a small device, which reads residual radiation or energy signatures, just in case the creature is putting one out. This prompts Ben and Johnny to make several Ghostbusters 2 references, including mentioning that they don’t think that Harold Ramis’ character was in the sewer in that scene, so maybe Reed should get lost.
Jokes aside, Reed’s device picks up some evidence of the creature and they all follow him deeper into the labyrinthine tunnels until they reach a dead-end that appears to be clogged with plant matter and some kind of slime. Reed takes samples. Suddenly, everyone’s flashlights go out, so Johnny lights his arm on fire for some light. Reed gets his last sample, but as Johnny turns around he comes face to face with the grotesque form of the Man-Thing!

Flashback again to a few months ago: The Man-Thing is roaming the sewers trying to form coherent thoughts. It is still Ted Sallis, a mutant scientist with the ability to make others experience horrific visions of fear, and some limited form of teleportation that takes him near to those who experience fear.
When Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben and Victor are caught in the teleporter accident, they experience a great deal of fear, especially Reed, who is worried about what will happen to everyone else because of his experiment. Not to mention Dr Storm’s fear for his kids and the resident soldiers’ fear of the unknown. This area is, for at least a few minutes, a center of fear. It calls to Sallis, who is teleported there and passes through the maelstrom that is taking Reed and his friends. Sallis is particularly focused on Reed’s fears.
He is caught in a swirling mess of light and darkness, and he sees other being surrounding him. They are all being changed and altered. His teleportation drops him back at the scoured remains of his own home. He moves around amongst the large trees and such, but there is nothing for him there. He begins to try and formulate his human thoughts again. He explains to himself that his teleportation takes him through another plane of existence completely, but that once he is there, he cannot remain there. He believes that that plane of existence is where he saw the other beings being changed and warped.
Then he senses horror and fear from across the city. His body burns in the white flame of teleportation and disappears.

Back to the present and Man-Thing is staring at Johnny Storm! The words ‘fear’ and the like seem to echo in the fantastic quartet’s heads. It captures Johnny in its grip and shows him images of himself as a washed up ex-superhero, and of his father and sister’s tombstones. Johnny tries to break free of its grip, but cannot, and his flames don’t seem to work on it. Ben jumps to Johnny’s defense, saying that only he gets to pick on the kid, and pulling at Man-Thing so hard, he snaps off its arm!
Reed tells Sue to get Johnny, who is now unconscious, out of there as he and Ben can handle it. Sue asks what he’s gonna do without any light, which is when several torches shine into the tunnel. General Ross’ crew of grunts has arrived to take in the sewer monster.
Man-Thing raises its hand to them with the words “No Fear” echoing into their consciousness.
They open fire on Man-Thing, not even worrying about the fact that Ben is getting shot. A bullet ricochets off his rocky hide and clips one of the soldiers in the shoulder and they stop their assault.
Man-Thing falls backwards. Reed looks at it, it grabs him by the arm and he sees a vision of his entire family (his father, mother, sister, even Sue) all lying dead on their living room floor with a pair of silvery, metal feet standing by them.
“Richards,” says a voice in the vision.
Reed snaps out of the vision as Man-Thing teleports away in a swash of white flame. Reed is still shocked, but the soldiers are already moving the FF out of the way. As the military men swarm in to where they thought the creature was, Reed reaches around for Man-Thing’s arm (the one that Ben accidentally pulled off). Upon finding it, he discovers that it has become nothing but a lumpy piece of wood covered in moss and vines. He carries it with him anyway.

Epilogue: Reed is sitting and staring at the piece of wood on his desk. Sue comes in and asks him what’s bothering him, as he hasn’t been acting the same since they got back from that mess “with the weird…Man…Thing.” Reed looks at the piece of wood, then at Sue and he smiles, “Nothing,” he says, “I just think…I think it’s time I visited my family again.”

And just for some extra fun:
Some of the Baxter Building’s scientists are discussing various theories on the origins of the FF’s abilities. They discuss Reed’s theory (from UFF#7) and wonder how accurate it is. Another, more superstitious scientist suggests that maybe whatever kind of lifeforms live in the N-Zone besides the insect-like ones like Nihil and his crew are like what Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben and Victor have become. The other scientists laugh off his theory, because it equates science with believing in the classic theory from myth about the elements that make up the world and the universe. From what they’ve analyzed, the rock-type that Ben Grimm is made up of, is not the same as the rocky material of that giant Pterodactyl-esque ship of Nihil’s, so they can’t assume anything.
Then one of them wonders aloud why Johnny Storm’s flame responds to the words ‘Flame on!’ and ‘Flame off!’, but he comes to the conclusion that it’s just Johnny’s little delinquent diction manifesting itself in what is really just a telepathic-trigger or a reflex arc or whatever.
Then they wonder what sort of distances Reed’s stretched appendages can reach. They begin to crack jokes about what else he can stretch on his body, and then question whether or not he has some kind of mental control powers so that he can bag Doctor Storm’s daughter as well.
Speaking of Sue, one of them says he doesn’t get why she got the invisibility since she should stay visible ALL the time! Or maybe just her clothes should go invisible! Of course the other scientists tell him to shut up because Doctor Storm is standing in the doorway behind him scowling.

The End
 

Nas-T!

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#26 – ‘Meet The Parents’
All is not cool and calm at the Richards family home. Reed’s mom is fretting over the cooking and whether or not Reed will enjoy it while his father practices saying “Ah, the prodigal son returns,” repeating it over and over. His family is, of course, living in a much better house than back when Reed was a kid. They’ve been getting a nice government check for years now, and, though the amount has decreased since Reed turned 21, they’re still quite happy with everything they’ve got.
The doorbell rings. Reed’s dad, Gary, answers the door, just saying “Ah…” before he catches a look at Ben and stops dead in his tracks!
“Oh, smooth entrance, big guy,” says Johnny to Ben.
Ben just grumbles under his voice.
So they all go inside and the introductions are a neat formality. Reed’s mom tells his dad not to stare at Ben, as he used to be his dream son. Gary tries to break the ice with Ben by discussing sports, but stumbles over his own words. Then Reed’s sister, Enid, shows up. She’s grown up to be, well, gorgeous! Better looking than Sue even! Johnny and Ben definitely take note. Johnny gets shot down almost immediately by Enid, who calls Reed out on not taking her to the N-Zone like he promised. They all have dinner with Reed’s mom bugging Sue and Reed about their relationship and where they think they’re headed.

After dinner, Ben is sitting outside in the back yard when Enid comes to join him. They start to talk about them all being superheroes and whatnot and eventually Enid confesses that she used to have a big crush on Ben back when he was just the big dumb jock that hung out in their garage.
So he asks her what she thinks of him now that he’s just the big dumb pile of rock that’s hanging out in their backyard.
She says that she still has a crush on him, even though he looks like he could be a feature on their lawn. He asks her if she maybe wants to go out some time, and she agrees.

Inside the house, Johnny is making friends with Reed’s mom while helping her in the kitchen. Eventually he tells her to take a load-off, starting up a fire in the fireplace and bringing everyone warm tea and coffee. Reed’s mom is impressed. Hell, even Reed is impressed!
The night ends quite calmly with everyone saying their goodbyes. Reed’s mom says she’d love to have them all over again, and Reed’s dad tells Ben to come around anytime, then sighs as they pull away in their flying Fantasti-Car!
In the car, Sue says that she’s sorry her dad couldn’t come with because it was great. She kisses Reed, receiving the usual comments from Johnny and Ben. When they reach the Baxter Building, they land and go inside. On their way to their rooms they meet Doctor Storm, who is carrying suitcases and being escorted by two heavily armed soldiers. When they ask what’s going on, he tells them that he’s been fired from the Baxter Building!!!

#27 – ‘Puppets’
It’s the next morning and the FF are in Doctor Storm’s former office. Ben is drinking some coffee. Doctor Storm has been fired by General Ross, and replaced by a Doctor Masters who informs the FF that he has big plans for them and the rest of the Baxter Building. He says that first thing the following morning all the old students who have been transferred to the other facility are coming back to the Baxter Building. Doctor Masters says that his daughter, Alicia, is also being transferred to the building as of that afternoon.
Sue and Johnny are unhappy about their father being fired and kicked out of the building and want to go talk to General Ross about it. Reed says that he’ll take them to see Ross and Ben agrees to come with but, at the last moment, Ben decides he’s gonna stay behind at the Baxter Building.

Ben wanders around the Baxter Building like a zombie as if following some kind of signal. Eventually he enters Doctor Masters’ office and the doctor appears to be the one controlling him. Ben becomes Doctor Masters’ personal enforcer, following his orders without question.
Masters’ daughter, who has just entered the building, is blind and Masters makes Ben her guide as well as his own personal bodyguard. Masters is easily able to deter his daughter’s suspicions of him being up to no good, but she takes pity on her quiet protector Ben.
General Ross tells the others that he felt that Doctor Storm wasn’t doing his job at the Baxter Building anymore and that’s why he replaced him with Doctor Masters, a guy who used to work for Ross back in the days when he ran S.H.I.E.L.D. and had his own squad of ‘government-use-only’ Ultimates. He says that he feels that Masters is more than qualified for the position and that the kids shouldn’t take it personally or anything.
It is revealed to readers that Ross is also under Masters’ control, as Masters says “Good-bye, kids” into a headset device, and Ross repeats the same words to Reed and company, who then leave his office.

Johnny thinks that Ross fired his father because of something more personal, and that Reed and Sue should’ve just let him flame on and scare the crap out of Ross. Sue says that there are better ways to figure out why Ross did it than that and that she’s glad Reed and her are always there to think FOR Johnny, otherwise who knows what he’d do without them! Johnny says that he’d do fine without them because he can think for himself.
At the Baxter Building, the kids can’t seem to find Ben anywhere, until they go to Masters to ask him. There they find their friend in a kind of trance. Reed asks what Masters has done to him, but the good doctor sidesteps the question and introduces his daughter, Alicia.
Johnny gets ticked off and flames on, threatening to set Masters’ office on fire, but Thing jumps to Masters’ defense and tries to crush Johnny, with Sue protecting him from the fierce blows of their former friend with a force field.
Reed can’t believe that Ben would ever turn on them and he says that he knows that Ben is under Masters’ control. Masters orders them out, or else he will send Ben to snap Sue and Johnny’s father’s neck and kill all the soldiers in the building. They back down and leave his office.

The following morning the other students return to the Baxter Building. It appears that most of them have some resentment towards Reed and Co. because they are super famous superheroes on the cover of newspapers and magazines worldwide, while the other kids only make it into some science journals every now and then. One of the students says that it wasn’t bad enough that they named a science building after Reed at ESU, he had to go and show off and make himself a superhero, too. Reed tries to explain that he didn’t ask the building to be named after him, all he did was what Dr Storm told him to and design some of the tech they use there. No one wants to hear his excuses and he feels like an outcast all over again.
Sue tells Reed to ignore everyone else and gives him a warm cup of coffee saying that they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them with all the crappy new assignments given to them by Dr Masters.

At the end of the issue Johnny is getting coffee at the canteen when he notices all the other students staring at him strangely, almost expectantly. When he asks what’s going on he doesn’t get a response. Then Reed and Sue show up, they have the same glum look on their faces as everyone else. The two of them seem to be pushing Johnny to drink his coffee, so he puts it down and moves towards the canteen doors. The doors open and Ben comes in, blocking the way. Johnny threatens Ben, who doesn’t move, so he turns around and finds all the other students, including Sue and Reed, surrounding him!

#28 – ‘Strange Tales’
The window of the canteen at the Baxter Building bursts open as Johnny comes flying out. The students are clawing at the windows trying to get at him. One of them falls out of the window and Johnny swoops down and catches her. She in turn tries to bite his arm, so he chucks her back inside the building.
Johnny knows that Doctor Masters has everyone in the building under his control now, so he’s going to need to go elsewhere to get someone smart enough to help him. He goes to his dad’s new Brooklyn apartment, but it’s empty (no furniture, boxes, nothing!). Confused and angry, Johnny says that he told Sue he could do without her and Reed, so he’s gonna prove it, but he’ll still need some help!

So he flies around, creating a huge spider made out of flame in the sky over Queens and lands at the playground where he and Spidey first met (well, sort of, in USM#69). Sure enough, the students of Midtown High get a good look at the fading spider-flame, and Peter Parker swings into action as Spider-Man!
Spidey meets Johnny at the same spot and says, “You know, I always thought superheroes like us could meet somewhere a lot cooler than this. Like, maybe at the Statue of Liberty or something, I don’t know.”
Johnny explains that he needs Spidey’s help because the building where he lives has been taken over by some evil scientist. Spidey makes a comment about him starting to wonder if all scientists are evil, because so far the few he’s met have either tried to steal his DNA and make monsters that try to kill him, or just tried to kill him on their own!
The two young heroes get to the Baxter Building and bust into Doctor Masters’ office, where they find his daughter Alicia all alone. She tells them that her father has gone crazy and that he’s trying to take control of everybody. Masters himself arrives in the office, incapacitating Spidey and Johnny with the help of Ben, Reed, Sue and another student with robots flying around him.

When the two stunned teenagers wake up, they find themselves tied up and rigged to a bomb. Doctor Masters explains that he will detonate the bomb if either of them try and break free, and that the rope-like material he’s tied them up with is highly flammable, so any attempt Johnny makes to burn it off will most likely set his masked friend Spider-Man on fire!
Johnny is about to threaten Masters when Spidey cuts him off and asks Masters why he’s doing this. Johnny grumbles at Spidey, but Spidey explains (in whispers) that that should keep Masters talking while they figure out a way out of their predicament. He tells Johnny to trust him as he’s had experience with idiots like this.

Then, like all villains, Masters begins to explain his plan. He says that he developed little biomechanical worms that burrow their way into a person’s head and attach themselves to the person’s brain. Using the computers in his office, Masters would then be able to communicate with the bug and make the person it was attached to do whatever he ordered, all of it on voice command! He said that once he had taken control of General Ross a few days ago during an interview, he was easily able to make it into the Baxter Building and supplant Doctor Storm, imprisoning him within the Baxter Building itself!
He then fed his little biomechanical worms into the all the milk that came through in the last shipment to the building and waited for everyone to slowly join his network. He said that it would be remarkably easy to get General Ross near to Nick Fury next, and through him he could get to The Ultimates and the President.
“In the end, I would control the entire country! No, the entire world!” says Masters, “Then, I would no longer be someone else’s puppet. No, no, no. Then, I would be the Puppet Master!”
After declaring himself the puppet master, Masters is knocked out by a heavy book wielded by his daughter, Alicia. She apologizes to Johnny for taking so long, but says that she had to listen carefully and make sure she knew where her father was standing. But now everyone is still under the control of what Spider-Man calls “the mindworms” and so he decides to see what he can do. The two of them now manage to escape the bomb with the detonator out of Masters’ hands.
Then the ‘puppet’ Reed, Sue and Ben show up to fight. Johnny has to hold them off with flames while Spidey tries to sort out the mindworms. It’s not working and Johnny is getting beaten.
Being the little techno-whiz he is, Spidey discovers the simplicity of the program Masters was using to control everyone and deactivates the mindworms, which then fall out of everyone in the buildings’ noses.
Reed, Sue and Ben snap out of their funk and try to figure out why they have nosebleeds and throbbing headaches. Alicia seems excited and she moves towards the four with her arms open wide. Johnny expects a hug, but she feels her way around him and hugs Ben instead!

Johnny and Spidey stand together. Their dialogue would be something along the lines of this:
Johnny: “That’s the second time that pile of rubble’s got the girl from under my nose. Will we stay single forever?”
Spidey: “Don’t ask me. I’m dating Kitty Pryde!”
Johnny: “Kitty Pryde from the X-Men? Seriously?”
Spidey: “Oy! I’ve said too much.”
Spidey shoots a webline in preparation to leave.
Johnny: “Hey, you can come by anytime. I mean, I don’t have a lot of friends and stuff, so…”
Spidey: “Whoa!”
Johnny: “What?”
Spidey: “Uh, nothing. Just a weird case of Déjà vu.”
Spidey swings off.
 

Nas-T!

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#29 – ’50 Ton Dates’
Doctor Storm has returned to his position of running the Baxter Building, but he’s decided to keep the other students around nonetheless. Speaking of the other students, they’ve warmed up to Reed and friends a little more since the events with Doctor Masters, especially towards Johnny. Alicia’s left the building to go live with some family of hers outside the city, while her father was taken into custody by The Ultimates.
And speaking of Ultimates, it appears that Doctor Henry ‘Hank’ Pym, who remains unhappy with his current job, has come to the Baxter Building seeking employment. Doctor Storm is worried about him because of his supposedly unstable personality, but feels that he’s more than qualified to work for them. He hires Hank as a senior scientist in charge of research and teaching certain students.
Hank meets the Fantastic Four and admits that they blow him away, and that he’s glad that there are some workable superhero outfits in town. He even asks if there’s space on the Fantastic Four for Ant-Man, to which Johnny replies, “Yeah, maybe if Reed bit it or something!”
A student at the Baxter Building who goes by the name of Scott Lang says that he’s read all of Hank’s papers, and that he’s a big fan. He then asks for Hank’s autograph and wonders aloud if the two of them could ever sit down and talk ‘shop’ sometime, as he’d love to hear more about the technology behind Ant-Man. Pym agrees, saying that he’s sure he’s going to enjoy working there now!

The team finally has some downtime and Ben decides to take the opportunity to take Enid out on that date he promised her. He asks Reed if there’s any chance of him whipping up an impact-suit that actually looks like a real formal suit! Reed tries to act tough and warn Ben about hurting his sister, but Sue simply says, “He’ll see what he can do”!
Later, Ben shows up at the Richards’ house to pick up Enid. He’s dressed in a suit and tie and is carrying a bunch of flowers and a heart-shaped box of chocolates for her. Reed’s mom answers the door and takes the flowers, the stems of which Ben has accidentally crushed in his grip! There’re embarrassing moments as Gary tries to talk to Ben without stuttering again, and then Enid comes downstairs looking absolutely fabulous.
Ben shows her out and into the Fantasti-Car, taking her for one heck of a ride across the NYC skyline.
They have dinner at a very fancy restaurant that Ben has called long beforehand to prep for his specific needs (some concrete seats for him, some larger than normal cutlery, etc). Enid is impressed by Ben on many levels. A member of the paparazzi manages to snap a photograph of them at the table. Ben doesn’t feel too comfortable about it, but this confuses Enid because he’s a celebrity now. He explains that, because of the way he looks, the tabloids will no doubt spin a story with a headline like ‘Beauty & The Beast’ or something. She still doesn’t get it, so he tells her that people don’t like him much because he’s just a big, ugly monster guy.

Of course, some kind of trouble has to strike at a time like this! So, in this case, we have The Rhino on a rampage through the streets of New York while he was being transported between prisons.
Ben and Enid see him run by, smashing cars out of his way as he goes, as they sit in the restaurant. Ben apologizes to Enid, stands up and then rips off his suit in a very Superman-esque style, revealing his regular FF impact-suit underneath it! He goes into action as Thing and defeats Rhino in hand-to-hand combat, receiving cheers from all those present, and thanks from the police officers that let Rhino get loose.
When Enid gets outside, she finds him signing autographs and taking pictures with babies and stuff.
“So much for Mister ‘big, ugly monster’, huh?” she says.
“I guess so,” Ben says, staring into the blue eyes of the baby he’s carrying as it smiles up at him in wonder.
Ben takes Enid home, and she kisses him (on the rocky lips) before going inside.

The following morning he wakes up and goes to the canteen for breakfast, receiving a round of applause. Asking what’s going on, Ben gets the Daily Bugle slapped in front of him with a shot of him holding a little baby with Enid standing next to him and looking at it, and a headline declaring ‘Local Superhero Saves Citizens AND Gets The Girl!’
Ben smiles in wonder.
 

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