One of the bigger comic books that Marvel was publishing during the first part of the year was X-Men/Fantastic Four. This mini-series crossover between two of Marvel’s biggest franchises has been silently setting up major things for the Marvel Universe. Everything from the relationship between the X-Men and Fantastic Four to where Doctor Doom is currently positioned has been put on display during this series. Now with the final issue of X-Men/Fantastic Four there is sure to be major ramifications for both franchises that will follow however things conclude. Let’s see how everything ends with X-Men/Fantastic Four #4.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Terry Dodson
Inkers: Rachel Dodson and Ranson Getty
Colorist: Laura Martin
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Inside Doom Castle, the X-Men and Fantastic Four are surprised by Doctor Doom releasing his own personal Sentinels, while he is experimenting on Franklin Richards.
As the majority of the X-Men and Fantastic Four do battle with Doom’s Sentinels inside the castle Invisible Woman and Shadowcat attempt to get through Doctor Doom’s force field in order to get to Franklin. Doctor Doom warns the two that he is doing what’s best for Franklin.
Shadowcat is finally able to get through the force field. Seeing this Doctor Doom immediately manipulates Shadowcat’s control of her power to make her extremely heavy and cause her to fall through the floor.
Franklin tells Doctor Doom to stop but Doctor Doom states that Charles Xavier and Krakoa only want to use Franklin’s powers while his family want him to stay a child.
Emma Frost is finally able to communicate with Invisible Woman, but only barely thanks to Doctor Doom’s telepathy dampeners. Emma tells Invisible Woman that Doctor Doom has trapped all the missing mutants inside various Doom armor. Invisible Woman goes to help, leaving Reed Richards to save their son.
Cyclops uses Emma’s telepathic link with Invisible Woman and Nightcrawler to coordinate attacks so that they can rescue all the missing mutants using everyone’s powers in a precise way. With the missing mutants free the X-Men and Fantastic Four continue to do battle with Doom’s Sentinels.
Elsewhere Shadowcat regains control of her powers and becomes even more motivated to save Franklin from falling under Doom’s control.
Meanwhile, Reed and Charles try to get Franklin to stop letting Doom manipulate his powers. Franklin pleads with Doctor Doom to stop but Doom will not.
Shawdowcat appears and phases through Doctor Doom, causing his armor to short circuit. Shadowcat then asks Franklin what he wants. Franklin says he wants to save everyone. Shadowcat then phases Franklin out of the equipment Doctor Doom was using on him.
Franklin thanks Kate and then takes off to destroy all of Doom’s Sentinels with one massive blast of power. Franklin passes out from using to much power and is caught by his dad before he hits the ground.
Doctor Doom shows up and yells at everyone that because Franklin stopped the process early it could’ve caused his boy irreparable damage. Cyclops and Magneto tell Doctor Doom off for creating Sentinels.
Charles is quick to pick up on the fact that Doctor Doom isn’t physically there. Doctor Doom warns everyone, particularly the X-Men, that they broke several laws and murdered a Latvarian mutant. Doctor Doom tells them all to leave before he turns the international community against all of them.
Charles reveals that he already read all the Latvarian mutants’ minds and knows that Doctor Doom tampered with them. He then says the mutants are Krakoans.
Doctor Doom is slightly taken aback by this. After a silent moment Doctor Doom says he hopes the mutants show Krakoa some Latvarian common sense.
Invisible Woman checks on her son. Franklin says he is physically okay but he still feels that his powers are still broken. Franklin admits that he shouldn’t of run away like he did but he wants to learn about the world, including mutants, but feels like his parents are holding him back from what they prepared him to do.
Sue admits that it is tough to not see Franklin as her little boy. She then turns to Charles and apologizes for the way she reacted before. While she doesn’t agree with everything Charles invisions for the world she knows the X-Men are heroes. Charles also apologizes for how they approached the Fantastic Four with the offer to take Franklin to Krakoa as it was more aggressive than they intended. He states that with the Krakoan gates that Franklin will only be steps away so he can visit his family whenever he likes.
Franklin tells his parents that he loves them. Reed gives Franklin a long hug.
Three weeks later Franklin is testing his powers with Beast’s help. Franklin and Beast are surprised with how Franklin seems to be able to be able to use his powers for a longer period of time since coming to Krakoa.
Franklin then realizes that it is almost dinner time back in New York City so he wants to go eat with his family. Charles and Erik want to join Franklin as they have some business in New York City.
At the Fantastic Four’s home, Valeria is talking to Doctor Doom through a communicator in her room. Valeria reveals that she took a close look at the suit Doctor Doom created for her brother and discovered that he was syphoning Franklin’s powers for his own use. Valeria asks Doctor Doom what he is planning.
Doctor Doom states that he is ensuring Latveria’s preparedness to embrace the next step in evolution. Valeria wonders if he is talking about mutants. Doctor Doom states that he believes evolution is a response to environment and that their intelligence is the thing that must evolve. He goes on to say that because the environment is not challenging enough that nature gave them mutants to galvanize the human race to become smarter and evolve. Doctor Doom states he intends to be at the front of that evolution. Valeria says that Doctor Doom needs to move to the “acceptance” stage of grief and then hangs up on him.
Over in the dinning room Franklin shows up with Charles and Erik. Charles and Erik tell Sue that they are just stopping by to talk with Reed before going to a meeting.
Charles and Erik enter Reed’s lab. Charles takes off his Cerebro helmet and says he knows all about how Reed’s device can not only cloak the mutant gene but also cut the gene off, denying mutants their abilities. Reed says he would never use the device that way. He then realizes Charles in inside his mind. Charles states that Reed crossed the line. Charles then uses his powers to remove Reed’s ability to recreate the mutant device.
Charles tells Reed he did this because he wants Reed to remember the mercy he was shown because they are not playing games. Erik then destroys the mutant device while warning Reed that he won’t be allowed to go unchecked with whatever technology he creates.
As Charles and Erik leave Reed is left thinking how this is the new world they live in. End of story.
The Good: X-Men/Fantastic Four #4 was more about setting up the future than it was to conclude a story. There is a definitive conclusion when it comes to Franklin Richard’s current living situation. But with everything else, X-Men/Fantastic Four #4, like the rest of this event, laid the foundation for future crossovers between these two franchises along with others like the Avengers.
Keeping the momentum going from the previous issues it was good to see Franklin Richards being kept as the main focus for most of X-Men/Fantastic Four #4. Throughout this series we’ve seen how Franklin’s power problems has been used to show us that he is at a crossroad moment in his life. Does he take that next step in embracing being a mutant or does he continue living under his parents roof as a Fantastic Four member?
To Chip Zdarsky’s credit he is able to answer that question by keeping Franklin true to his character. At no point does Franklin sound like someone else. You could tell he genuinely wants to embrace being a mutant while still being able to see his parents. The connection Franklin has with his family is still a highly important part of who he is. At the same time, Franklin knows that it is time for him to take that next step in his life. And this problem with his powers was a good reason for him to try living on Krakoa and interacting with other mutants like himself, something he has not normally done up to this point.
Through all of this Zdarsky does a good job writing Reed Richards and Sue Storm as concerned parents while making sure they don’t come across as unlikable. Which is usually the case when it comes to stories like this. Zdarsky is careful to pick dialogue to get across how Reed and Sue want the best for their children. But because of that it has become hard for them come to terms with how rapidly Franklin and Valeria have aged to becoming young teenagers, since it technically did happen quickly. Coming to terms with that it is time for Franklin to discover who he is alongside other mutants on Krakoa is a big step forward for Reed and Sue as well.
Kate Pryde’s involvement in all this was also interesting. Zdarsky did a good job playing into the friendship between Franklin and Kate to drive why the latter tried so hard to save her friend. Kate’s determination gave her a character arc that further drove home how there is a connection between her and Franklin. Adding in how Doctor Doom manipulated Kate’s powers to make her suddenly extremely heavy was also an interesting development because of how Kate reacted. It did look as though Kate realized that maybe the next stage of her powers could be about increasing her weight and not just phasing through things. That would be an interesting angle to take Kate’s evolution with her powers, like we’ve seen Iceman and Jean Grey do in the past.
Doctor Doom involvement in all of this as the antagonist for X-Men/Fantastic Four was also interesting. Zdarsky does an excellent job writing as both the ultimate nationalist and narcissist. Throughout this story Doctor Doom has made the excuse of using mutants and Franklin Richards as a means to protecting Latvaria. At the same time, Doctor Doom does not hide the fact that his desire to be the one leading what he believes human evolution should be.
In getting Doctor Doom’s point across Zdarsky is able to get you to understand where the character is coming from while still viewing him as a villain. That is a delicate balance because at the end of the day Doctor Doom isn’t someone you are supposed to sympathize or relate to. He is what our heroes are ultimately supposed to unite to fight against as Doctor Doom’s view on the world and evolution for people excludes so many, including mutants. In painting Doctor Doom in this way, Zdarsky sets Doctor Doom up as a villain that works as an antagonist for both the Fantastic Four and X-Men in this comic book and in the future.
Doctor Doom’s portrayal made the way Charles Xavier and Magneto continue to act as the leaders of Krakoa even more fascinating. The more we see of both of them the more it is shown that Xavier and Magneto will do whatever it takes to protect what they’ve built with Krakoa as a nation. Even though they do they win the moral argument with Doctor Doom this time the aggressive way Xavier in particularly acts makes you uneasy.
That unease is pushed further with the meeting Xavier and Magneto have with Reed Richards to conclude X-Men/Fantastic Four #4. Xavier straight up telling Reed that he is not going to erase his memory of the meeting along with the plans for the mutant dampening and cloaking device shows how different he is from the Professor Xavier we’ve known. It is a reminder that all the things Xavier saw when looking at all the continuities he saw from Moira MacTaggert’s mind has made him completely change his approach. He no longer sees erasing minds as a good method. He wants people like Reed to remember what it is like to cross Krakoa and that things like the mutant device that Reed created will not be tolerated.
This along with the back-and-forth Xavier and Magneto have had with the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom throughout this series further shows that at least the leaders of Krakoa are not messing around anymore. Xavier and Magneto especially know that they have to use their mutant powers to their advantage when it comes to playing politics. Simply using their powers as a show of force is not going to get things done. They have to use their powers to amplifying their position in showing the strength of Krakoa as a nation in the world. Which makes Xavier and Magneto come across as two characters that Marvel could use as antagonist and protagonist in any major storyline involving the X-Men.
Bringing up the Xavier and Reed’s time as members of the Illuminati was also a nice touch to provide context in what Marvel continuity still took place in the post-House of X/Powers of X changes to the X-Men. This gives greater connection between not only the X-Men and Fantastic Four but the rest of the Marvel Universe. The Illuminati is something that could be brought into play in the future when the Avengers and others get involved with working with or against the X-Men.
Terry Dodson provided X-Men/Fantastic Four #4 with his best artwork of the entire series. Dodson got over the struggle to get Franklin out of Doctor Doom’s experiments and the power Franklin showed when defeating all the Doom Sentinels. Through all of this Dodson got over all the emotions the X-Men and Fantastic Four showed as they went through a range of things. The final moments with Xavier, Magneto and Reed Richards in particular was effectively put over because of Dodson’s artwork. You could see how much tension was in air by the way all three characters were drawn.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: X-Men/Fantastic Four #4 concluded this crossover event in a satisfying way. Chip Zdarsky and Terry Dodson were able to complete Franklin Richard’s character arc and where Doctor Doom is positioned in the current state of the world in a way that creates a lot of potential for the X-Men and Fantastic Four’s respective futures. If you are currently reading any of the X-Men or Fantastic Four comic books than I highly recommend checking out X-Men/Fantastic Four when the trade is released.
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