The X-Men and Fantastic Four crossover has taken a few turns so far. Having the story be based around Franklin Richards status as an Omega-level mutant and his current power problems has provided plenty of drama thus far. On the X-Men side we are seeing what happens when they interact with other Marvel heroes and how those relationships have been altered because of Krakoa’s rise as a nation. For the Fantastic Four we are seeing how problems within Marvel’s First Family are reaching a boiling point, specifically with how Franklin and Valeria view their parents. Now that Doctor Doom has entered the fold there is a wild card in this conflict between the X-Men and Fantastic Four that could make things even worse before they even think of getting better. Let’s find out what happens next with X-Men/Fantastic Four #3.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Terry Dodson
Inker: Rachel Dodson and Ransom Getty
Colorist: Andrew Crossley and Peter Pantazis
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The X-Men chase the Fantastic Four through the sky on their Blackbird. Since they can’t close the distance between the Blackbird and Fantasti-Car Charles Xavier tells Cyclops to shoot it down. Cyclops puts on a special helmet that allows him to focus his optic blast to be fired through the Blackbird’s turrets. Through this system Cyclops is able to nail the Fantasti-Car with several shots.
Invisible Woman quickly creates a bubble that allows the Fantastic Four to escape before the Fantasti-Car blows up. Lucky for them they near the island the coordinates they were following was leading them to.
When the Fantastic Four land on a beach Human Torch is immediately attacked by Wolverine, who was teleported to the island by Nightcrawler. Rogue then quickly lands on the beach as well and sends The Thing flying with a punch.
Mr. Fantastic tries to reason with the X-Men that they are just trying to save their kids. Wolverine doesn’t care and tries to attack Mr. Fantastic but is blocked by a bubble shield Invisible Woman creates.
Suddenly Human Torch appears and it is revealed that Wolverine damaged his helmet, allowing Emma Frost to take over his mind. As Emma Frost is about to get Invisible Woman’s helmet off Doctor Doom appears and tells them that they are all trespassing on Latvarian soil.
The Fantastic Four and X-Men are quick to ask Doctor Doom where their kids and teammates, respectively, are. Kate Pryde appears and tells everyone that her team is okay and she made a deal with Doctor Doom. Doctor Doom reveals that part of their deal is that the X-Men will not take the mutants on his island since it is part of Latvaria sovereignty and in exchange he is working to help Franklin Richards with his power problems.
Sue Richards is pissed and tells Doctor Doom not to touch her kids. Doctor says he is simply doing what Franklin and Valeria’s father couldn’t.
Magneto confronts Kate over the deal she had no authority to make. Kate says she made the call to ensure her crew’s protection and get Franklin the help he needs. Xavier tells Magneto that it is fine because Kate made the correct call.
Reed Richards says that his son is not one of Doctor Doom’s bargaining chips. Doctor Doom states that Franklin is his own man and made the decision himself to seek his help. Doctor Doom then insults Reed for not having the needed intelligence to match his.
Doctor Doom then tells the X-Men and Fantastic Four that they are only allowed to stay on the beach and cannot go into town because his word is law.
In Doctor Doom’s lab Valeria comforts Franklin by telling him that she believes Doctor Doom won’t kill him and she wants to help her brother. Valeria then wonders if their dad cannot help Franklin or simply doesn’t want to.
Reed enters the lab and states that he would not lie to his kids. Valeria calls her dad out by wondering if he used a tracking chip to find them. Reed says they should go home and talk.
Franklin stands up and says he is going to stay with Doctor Doom to receive help. He goes on to say that he is not someone he can order around like a kid or the Thing and Human Torch.
Xavier steps in and says while he doesn’t fully trust Doctor Doom he intends to have Beast watch over the procedures being done to help Franklin in order to ensure it is safe. Reed begrudgingly agrees to assist as well.
Back on the beach Wolverine tells Storm he does not like any of this. Emma Frost reveals that something on the island is causing her powers not to work correctly. Cyclops says they will deal with things once Franklin is helped.
Magneto does not like this and does not want their fellow mutants to be used as expendable pieces. Cyclops says he trusts Xavier to make the right call though both Magneto and Emma Frost continue to disagree with how things are being done. Emma Frost then suggest they recruit Invisible Woman to help them rescue the mutants on the island
As Emma Frost goes to ask Invisible Woman for help Wolverine wonders how they will be able to get into the town without Doctor Doom knowing they are missing from the beach. Storm and Cyclops say they will stay behind in case Doctor Doom checks on them. Magneto says they will do it all quickly and if he finds Doctor Doom is holding mutants against their wills he will make Latveria suffer.
Back at the lab Reed and Beast look over Doctor Doom’s research and are intrigued by the findings that Franklin’s body is creating a secondary type of energy. Doctor Doom states this isn’t unique to Franklin. He goes on to say that any mutant who expends more energy than they can generate has this secondary energy source flowing through them, which he calls “Von Doom Particles.”
Hearing this Reed says Dr. Rachna Koul has already been working on this power source and has dubbed it “Godpower.” Doctor Doom states it is “Von Doom Particles” and once he can go to the energy source’s dimension it will be Latveria to claim.
Xavier then questions why Doctor Doom hasn’t had Latvaria accepted Krakoa’s deal that includes cures and drugs to extend his people’s life span. Doctor Doom is well aware of the deal and how Xavier wants Krakoa to have diplomatic immunity.
Doctor Doom then talks about how while he has little respect for “diplomats” they at least understand their place in society whereas Xavier is trying to make it so Krakoa’s citizens have free reign to what they want in other countries. Doctor Doom then once again states while Latveria recognize Krakoa as a country they do not share the views mutants are superior to humans like himself who seeks knowledge and culture through hard work. He then calls Xavier out for how Krakoa’s deal is just a pretence for Xavier to exert his believed superiority.
In the town on the island Invisible Woman uses her powers to mask her presence along with Magneto, Emma Frost, and Wolverine. They reach one of the houses where the mutants are living. The mutant kids immediately call Invisible Woman, Magneto, Emma Frost, and Wolverine enemies of Latveria and alert Doctor Doom.
Doctor Doom suddenly bursts in and attacks Invisible Woman, Magneto, Emma Frost, and Wolverine. Doctor Doom immediately grabs Wolverine and flies him somewhere else. Emma Frost chases them and tries to communicate something to Wolverine as she suddenly senses something is off. Wolverine does not get Emma Frost’s message and stabs Doctor Doom with his claws.
Back at the lab Beast finds that the experiment Doctor Doom recommends they do could possibly cause Franklin to burn out his connection to the source of his powers. Reed asks his son if he still wants to go through with this. Franklin says he does.
Back outside Wolverine lands with “Doctor Doom” hard on the ground. Wolverine is shocked to discover that it was not Victor Von Doom but someone else wearing the Doctor Doom armor who he stabbed.
Back at the lab Doctor Doom detects this and tells Kate, Beast and Reed that the X-Men broke the rules he instituted and killed a Latverian. He states this is an unacceptable action and pushes a button.
Back outside The Thing, Human Torch, Cyclops, and Storm are shocked when they see Doctor Doom styled Sentinels appearing from the water. End of issue.
The Good: Chip Zdarksy once again impresses with the story he is presenting in this crossover between the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Like previous issues X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 has the big action you expect from these types of crossovers. But where X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 truly succeeds is the battle of words between all the alpha leaders that are speaking with each other. The chemistry between all the characters involved shines brighter the deeper you get into X-Men/Fantastic Four #3.
Having read X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 multiple times the thing that stands out after each read through is how Zdarsky nails the dialogue for each character in this issue. Zdarsky understands that all these characters bring something unique to the table. Kate Pryde asserting her leadership of the Marauders when she made the decision to make a deal with Doctor Doom to save her teammates is a great example of that. While this new continuity for the X-Men has established that Charles Xavier and Magneto stand at the top of Krakoa’s leaders it does not mean the X-Men aren’t free to make their choices. As a leader Kate made the choice she saw was the best option to ensure her teammates safety and that her friend Franklin Richards would receive help.
Kate standing by her decision when Magneto questions her a tone is set for how the rest of the characters in X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 interact with each other. Zdarsky gives you a clear idea of where everyone stands right now on both the X-Men and Fantastic Four sides. Characters like Cyclops try to trust Xavier as much as possible whereas Magneto and Emma Frost want to be more proactive in taking action. The same goes for the Fantastic Four as we see Sue Richards doing whatever she can to save her kids while Reed Richards tries to reason with their kids directly.
Having all these characters act differently even as they are placed in the same situation provides multiple layers to the story that at its core is about Franklin Richards. Going with this approach allows the reader to see more than one or two sides to the story that are going on. In the process Zdarsky is able to develop the X-Men and Fantastic Four in ways that does not go against who these characters are at their core.
Doctor Doom plays the perfect antagonist in all this. Even though Doctor Doom makes it clear he is looking to help Franklin Richards it is not just because of his benevolence. As we learn in X-Men/Fantastic Four #3, on top of these being a chance to assert his superiority over Reed Richards, Doctor Doom views Franklin’s power problems as a step towards accessing the dimension of his self-titled “Von Doom Particles.” Having Reed and Doom go back and forth who discovered this newly discovered energy source from another dimension example of their rivalry.
Additionally, Doctor Doom’s back-and-forth with Xavier works well in further developing why Krakoa’s leader is not having the success in getting deals done with other countries. Doom actually brings up a very good point in the fact that part of Xavier’s motives for getting diplomatic immunity is so the X-Men don’t have issues when doing stuff in other countries. The fact that Xavier didn’t argue Doom’s statement shows that there is a lot of truth in this statement. This puts into question how much longer Xavier can maintain his patience in the lack of success for these diplomatic immunity deals going through.
Which does bring us back to Xavier and Magneto’s roles in how the conflict in X-Men/Fantastic Four is being handled. While Xavier was calm approach we are seeing more signs he is getting ready to be as aggressive as Magneto is. There are a lot of parallels we are seeing between the two, especially with how much Magneto’s influence is getting in Xavier’s way of thinking.
We see the ramifications of how Xavier and Magneto’s ideologies clash with how the X-Men handle things on the Latverian island. While Cyclops briefly objected to what Magneto and Emma Frost wanted to do he didn’t fight that hard. That led to both the X-Men and Fantastic Four being extremely sloppy with how things turned to the point Wolverine accidently killed a Latvarian citizen. This error in judgement by Wolverine because he thought he was killing Doctor Doom is a big example of how the X-Men aren’t as well oiled machines as other X-books make them out to be.
This lapse in judgment on Wolverine’s part makes Doctor Doom’s role as an antagonist for X-Men/Fantastic Four even more intriguing. Because as much as we know Doctor Doom is not to be trusted we get an example like this that shows what Xavier is trying to get with these deals with other countries is not a good thing. This action by Wolverine is exactly the type of thing he would’ve gotten away with if the deal between Krakoa and Latveria was in place. This gives at least an understanding why Doctor Doom was so aggressive in his talk with Xavier.
It’ll be interesting to see what the fallout from this is after X-Men/Fantastic Four. Because as we’ve seen, Doctor Doom has created his own version of the Sentinels based on his image. The Doctor Doom Sentinels design is likely not just cosmetic. Just like his armor being made with Magneto and Emma Frost powers in mind, these Sentinels probably have methods to combat all the X-Men. If that is the case there will now be something else the X-Men have to worry about as new threats rise to match or exceed their current level of power as the nation of Krakoa.
Not to be lost in any of this is Franklin Richards part in X-Men/Fantastic Four #3. With each passing issue we are seeing Franklin come more into his own as a young man. Franklin is no longer the kid who does whatever his parents tell him to do. He is a much more proactive person as a teen. At the same time, as you would expect from a kid his age, all Franklin wants is to get back to the normal he knows with his powers not being in flux. Taking a chance on Doctor Doom’s experiment for his connection to the Godpower/Von Doom Particle is a good example of how Franklin is growing up to make his own choice.
Valeria Richards’ role in Franklin’s decision was also well handled. Zdarsky shows us that there is a strong bond between Franklin and Valeria that not even their parents can come in-between of. Valeria standing up to her dad speaks to that as she does not hesitate to call out her dad in order to protect her big brother. The bond we continue to see between Franklin and Valeria helps ground an otherwise larger than life story.
Terry Dodson’s artwork, along with Rachel Dodson and Ransom Getty inking and Andrew Crossley and Peter Pantazis coloring, was as good as you expect from this art team. While there were obvious points you can tell there were multiple hands working on Dodson’s penciling it did not get in the way of the story. All the artwork was fluid and worked well to enhance the dialogue Zdarsky was writing.
What especially stood out from X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 was the opening. Dodson and company did a great job getting over how chaotic the chase between the Blackbird and Fantasti-Car was. I especially loved seeing how the Blackbird now has a feature that allows Cyclops to use his optic blast to further have greater accuracy as the gunner. It is a great touch that adds a cool role on the field for Cyclops to have on top of being Captain Commander.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 does a great job escalating the conflict between the two teams to their next natural point. Doctor Doom’s role in the story provides an even greater level of intrigue not just to this crossover but the current direction for the X-Men. How that ends up relating to Franklin Richards is all tied together nicely by Chip Zdarsky, who just continues to impress with every comic he writes.
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