Let's get this out of the way, first: $7.99 for 96 pages of story isn't all that bad! These days, when books are coming in at 20 pages and under for four bucks a pop, I'm more than happy to fork over this amount of dough. Especially considering the story was excellent.
In essence, what Marvel gives us with Fantasic Four #600 is a "mini-event," as it is basically five issues in one.
The issue also wasn't one big advertisement like the post Fear Itself "." issues, as well as the recent Marvel Point One, all of which were pretty bad.
I know the internet chatter is all about the price of the book, but the issue is definitely worth the high price. So please don't let that dissuade you from picking up one cosmic kick ass story.
Speaking of, now let's get to it!
Class, raise your hands if you thought Johnny Storm was dead in Fantastic Four #587.
Now, let's see a round of hands if you thought the Human Torch was not coming back in #600?
How, about a showing of hands if you thought Storm was coming back in this way?
That's more like it.
A mere ten months after the death of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch is back! And back like you never would have imagined!
The issue is divided into five chapters, all written by Hickman, but with different artists. The style of art is similar enough where the difference is not that noticeable (except for the last chapter), yet noticeable enough to divide the stories.
The issue opens with the Kree attacking the Earth, and the Fantastic Four and Avengers side by side attempting to repel the invading fleet. We are given a bit of background on different settings, each which will be played out further into the issue. Ronan learns from the reborn Supreme Intelligence that the Accusers of old destroyed their failed experiment, the Inhumans; however, five remained alive. Of course, if you have been reading FF, the five would be the five different species of Universal Inhumans. Furthermore, the Supreme Intelligence informs Ronan that the real reason the fleet is there -- is to exterminate the Universal Inhumans.
The forces of Annihilus are attempting to open the Negative Zone Portal found in the Baxter Building, with the children of the Future Foundation left to fend for themselves. Not without their own powers and capabilities, they manage to escape. The Amazing Spider-Man is sent to check on the kids and discovers the infestation. A battle ensues, but Spidey cannot stop the Portal door from opening. As it opens, Johnny Storm stands revealed.
From there, the issue flashes back to the death of Johnny Storm. We see Ben and Johnny on the opposite sides -- and then we are witness to the Human Torch going nova! However, as the Torch attempts to go nova a second time, we see he is no match for Annihilus who has the cosmic control rod in hand. Annihilus has captured Johnny and wishes him to open the portal. Of course, the reason for Storm going into the Negative Zone was so that would never happen. With that, Annihilus raises his staff, with an embedded cosmic control rod, and finishes off Johnny Storm!
The young Annihilus is then shown confronting Reed Richards who threatens the bug with the Utimate Nullifier. Annihilus wants him to do just that! Open the gate, and mutters something about - endless resurrection! Reed does not do that.
The order is then given to "bring him back."
We see Johnny Storm on a table opened up covered by worms! The worms are bringing Storm back to life, repairing him.
Later, Storm who is fully recovered encounters a group of Universal Inhumans that have been captured. They are all to be used in Annihilus' arena (think Gladiator or Planet Hulk). However, as they are in the Negative Zone, they cannot die; each time they do, Annihilus has them brought back to life via the regenerating worms for more of his amusement.
Storm has to fight for his life, and we get mention of Xandar and the Worldmind with one of the combatants -- Tok'R! Johnny flames on and extinguishes the life of Tok'R! He then confronts Annihilus, but again, with the cosmic control rod in hand, the Human Torch is no match against the leader of the Negative Zone! Storm is brought to life again and asked about opening the Portal. Johnny tells him they made sure that would never happen. However, Annihilus has another means of opening the door - one of the alternate universe Reed Richards! The other Reed needs to get into the Negative Zone to get back to his own world, and in exchange agrees to help Annihilus open the portal - "Open For Annihilation!"
Storm can't let this happen and recruits the Universal Inhumans to assist him in escaping their prison cells -- to stop Annihilus and his Annihiltion Wave! The wave has gathered near the Baxter Building Portal, awaiting for its opening! However, Johnny and his new found friends attack, with Annihilus losing the cosmic control rod in the process, and the Human Torch getting a hold!
Johnny then gives the order to open the gate (this is where Spidey first sees the Human Torch as mentioned above).
From there, the story takes us to Attilan with a not too happy Medusa speaking with the King of the Inhumans, Black Bolt. The Queen is upset that she now has to share her husband with other wives, as Black Bolt has taken on consorts from the various species of Universal Inhumans. They "talk" within Medusa's mind where Black Bolt tells her he has become somthing new (as a result of his return from War of Kings/Cancerverse? Or the influence of the Supreme Intelligence?) and that she must accept him. With that, Medusa then orders the Inhumans to Earth.
Galactus is shown talking with Reed and Sue Richards. As seen in recent events that took place in Fraction's The Mighty Thor, the Asgardians have a "Galactus Seed" set within the Tree of Life. This seed threatens to birth a new "Galactus!" A "Galactus" that will lack the restraints of the current World Devourer, as this new version will be totally new. Big G gives Reed an "arc," something which will summon Galactus when the time is right. Then Galactus asks Reed if he is aware of what his son has been doing lately!
The last story sees Franklin at his birthday party. Remember what took place there? An adult future version of Franklin Richards came back and told the young son of Reed something. From there, we are shown Franklin creating a universe for his enjoyment, with Leech along side for the ride. However, the adult future version of Franklin confronts his younger self showing him he has the power of a god, that he can do things to make everything better.
TO BE CONTINUED!
FF 12 hits November 30th, with Fantastic Four #610 on-sale December 21st!