Friday, February 19, 2016

Fanfiction Friday: Fantastic Four and the Age of Apocalypse

Did he do it?  -Wolverine #90
Travel back in time to the year 1996. Marvel did the unthinkable. They canceled all their X-titles, even the best selling titles. Excalibur, Generation X, X-Force/Factor/Men (even Uncanny and Unlimited) were no more. Wolverine’s solo title was also cancelled, as was Cable’s. That's right, the time traveling mutant from the future, but born in the present (which is our past now) was also no longer in existence. The X-universe crystallized and shattered out of reality. This occurrence destroyed the known Marvel Universe, yet was only isolated to the mutant sector. All the other titles continued as normal and were unaffected by this mutant debacle.

Ad from Wizard magazine
However, this was not the end of mutantkind. There was a new beginning, a new age, an Age of Apocalypse. Quick recap: Legion (Professor X’s son) traveled back in time to kill Magneto, but killed Xavier instead. This triggered the rise of Apocalypse and he conquered the Earth. Mutants ruled and only few humans remained. There were no mightiest heroes, no sorcerer supremes, no fantastic heroes, no incredible Hulks, no captains, no Canadian heroes, no blind lawyers, and no humans with Inhuman qualities. All that remained was twisted, alternate versions of mutants.

Age of Apocalypse was a huge undertaking from a storytelling perspective and is considered one of the best crossovers in Marvel history. Four months later, everything was back to normal, for the most part. During this story I had many questions, especially about the Richards’ family and friends. This led me to ask the all important question…. "What if the Fantastic Four formed during the Age of Apocalypse?" What you are about to read answers that question as well as a few more that might have been floating around your mind. ( I actually submitted this story to the What If editor at the time, Bobbie Chase I think.)

“Come on, Reed. Hurry up before they come back.”
“Calm down, Johnny. Tinkerer and I are almost done. Tinkerer is your part ready?”
“Yes, Mr Richards, it is.” said Tinkerer.
“This should work.” said Reed.
“Well it better, cuz we gotta find Sue.” replied young Johnny Storm.
Click! The door opened.
“Come on let's go!” Johnny said eagerly.
“Slow down, boy. We don't want to be caught.” said Tinkerer.
Then all of a sudden the wall across from them explodes. Six individuals, calling themselves X-Flight burst in.
“There he is!” yelled their leader, Guardian.
“Reed Richards, come with us. We need your help.” said Maverick. “Hurry! Your questions will be answered later.”
“Wait! My friends must come with.” demanded Reed.
“No, I cannot go with you, Mr Richards. I am old and will only slow you down, but I'll help you with your escape.” explained Tinkerer as he pulled a weapon out that he had made.
“I'll go my friend.”
“Let's get outta here people, the Dark Riders are on their way!” commanded Guardian. “Timebomb, leave the Dark Riders a present.”
Young Timebomb creates one of her biggest bombs and tossed it in the middle of the building.
“Puck, clear the path!” The acrobatic Puck runs and dives into the mutant guards just like a cannonball. Clearing a path to escape.

X-Flight brings Reed Richards and Johnny Storm to the underground HQ, Department H. There Reed and Johnny were officially introduced to the members of X-Flight: the Canadian mystic Shaman, his adopted daughter the shapeshifting Snowbird, the dwarfish Puck, and two mutants, Maverick, a mystery in himself and Timebomb, who has the ability to create explosive energy, “timebombs”.
“Greetings, Dr. Richards. I am James Hudson, aka Guardian. This is my girlfriend, Heather McNeil and my close friend, Dr. Walter Langkowski.
“Why have you brought me here?” questioned  Reed.
“You see a couple months ago we received this transmission from our satellite.” James turns on the screen. On the screen appears a Watcher.
“Greetings people of Earth. I am Uatu, the watcher assigned to observe your solar system. Even though I have taken an oath never to interfere with other races, I decided I must. I have decided to leave and have hopes to be reassigned to another system. If I were you I would also leave. Unfortunately, there is little you can go, except to the blue area of your Moon. That is where I am now. Also here is the alien race known as the Inhumans. Fear not for the blue area has breathable air. Go see the Inhumans, for they should be able to help. I dare not say anymore. Farewell.”

“Whoa, a real life alien.” Johnny said excitingly.
“You see Dr. Richard, we are building a ship to fly to the moon to see the Inhumans and ever since we received this transmission we have searched for you, because we need your scientific knowledge to help us complete this ship. Once the ship is complete we will send up a crew of four to the moon.” explained James.
“He doesn't have time to work for your stupid ship. We have to go find my sister.” said Johnny.
“Cool it, hothead!” yelled Maverick.
“Leave him alone Mav. He's only worried about his sister.” Timebomb said sympathetically.
“Quit sticking up for the for the lousy human, Tabitha.” said Maverick.
“Both you knock it off.” exclaimed Puck.  “Well whatta ya say Richards?”
“I will help you, but you must also help me find my girlfriend Susan Storm and my friend Ben Grimm. Is that agreed?” said Reed.
“I will have X-Flight begin the search immediately.” said Guardian.
“How about it, Johnny?  That good enough for you. I'll try my hardest to find your sister.” said Tabitha.
“Ok, it's fine by me, Timebomb.” said Johnny.
“Please just call me Tabitha.”
So Reed helped James build a spaceship, while Johnny grew more attracted to Timebomb. And Timebomb grew more attracted to Johnny. Of course Maverick did not like this at all, for he also liked Timebomb.

Meanwhile back at the pens where Reed and Johnny escaped from, Apocalypse met with the Dark Riders.
“Bring the human forth, my Dark Riders.” demanded Apocalypse.
“Apocalypse, I'm so glad you've come sir. The ones that escaped were Reed Richards and Johnny Storm. Reed Richards is a genius and I feel you should search for him, or he will cause you some trouble.” said Tinkerer.
“How could a puny human trouble me?”
“You see sir, with his scientific knowledge, he could ruin you. He has the capability of creating a weapon that could destroy you.”
“That is very interesting, Tinkerer. How would you go about finding this Richards?”
“Find his girlfriend, Susan Storm, for that is who he will be looking for. Find her and you will find him.”
“What about that group of individuals that freed them?” said Apocalypse.
“I believe they were the infamous X-men.” answered Tinkerer.
“If they are X-men, they are new to me. Thank you, Tinkerer you have served me well. You are dismissed.”
“Thank you sir. I will never fail you.”
“I know. Too bad though. Lifeforce dispose of him.”
“Yes, highlord.” said Lifeforce.
“No, please, no! No!” screamed Tinkerer.
“Excellent. Now my Dark Riders, find me the human Susan Storm and find out about this new group of heroes. Now be gone!”

A few days later, back at Department H, the ship is almost complete. Johnny and Tabitha have grown closer and closer. X-Flight has been trying to contact Tony Stark, but with no luck.
“Almost complete, James.” said Reed.
“Good. When the ship is done, I would like you and Johnny to join Heather and Walter into space.” said James.
“Have you found Susan yet?” asked Reed.
“Not yet, but we think she might be with Tony Stark.”
“Will you find her before we return?”
“Will try our hardest to find them.” said James.
“Okay. Why won't you be joining us?”
“Because Apocalypse will be monitoring the sky and if he spots you he will attack and if he does X-Flight will be there to help you leave.” said James.
“I understand, but -”
“There, it's done!!” exclaimed Walter.
“I'll tell Heather and you go tell Johnny.” said James.
“Johnny! Johnny! The ship is done and they want us to be part of the crew. Oh! I'm sorry, I should have knocked.” Reed said as he walked in on Johnny and Tabitha kissin.
“No, Reed. It's okay, we were, uh,  just talking.”  explained Johnny.
“ I'd better go.” said Tabitha.
“See you, Tabitha. Now what did you say about the ship.”
“The ship is done and we're going to accompany Heather and Walter to the moon.” said Reed.
“Really, wow, we're actually going to the moon. When are we leaving? Have they located Sue yet?” said Johnny.
“We're leaving as soon as we get ready. Unfortunately they have not found her yet, but are still looking.
So the crew packed up their stuff and got ready for their flight.
“I wish you guys all the luck in the world and please come back alive.” said James.
“Don't worry, James, we will.  Just make sure Sue and Ben are here when we get back.” said Reed.
“Don't worry they’'ll be here.” said James.
The crew climbs aboard the ship, checks all the equipment.
“Are all systems ready?” asked Reed.
“Yes they are.” replied Walter.
“Let's get this baby moving!” exclaimed Johnny.
The ship takes off into the air. X-Flight stands by and watches them disappear into the sky.
“Alright people let's find Sue and Ben. Shaman and Maverick stay here in case anything goes wrong.” said James.
“Why do I have to stay behind?” said Maverick.
“I need you here, that's why.” said James.
Guardian, Snowbird, Timebomb, and Puck take off in their jet to go look for Tony Stark. Seconds after they leave Shaman gets a transmission from Tony Stark.

“Greetings X-Flight. I heard you were looking for me.” said Stark.
“Yes, Mr. Stark, the rest of X-Flight just took off to look for you.” said Shaman. “We wanted to know if you know Susan Storm.”
“Yes, I do. She’s here right now.”
Zap! The transmission just broke.
“What happened?” said Shaman.
“I'll tell you what happened.”  said Maverick, just before he shot him in the head. “There, that's the end of that. Now to summon the Dark Riders.” Maverick goes over to one of the many planes and takes off.
Meanwhile back in space.

“Hold on! We can't make it through the cosmic rays!” screamed Walter. “I have to take it down.”
“Just do it before we die!” screamed Heather.”
“We're going to die!” yelled Johnny.
“No, we are not! We just need to make it back to Earth.” Reed said with courage.
“We're about to re-enter the atmosphere. Hold on!” said Walter.
The ship crashes back on Earth somewhere in the western part of Canada.
“Is everyone okay?” asked Reed.
“I'm still alive, but I don't know if I'm okay.” said Heather.
“Quick, everyone out, control panels on fire!” yelled Walter.
The crew exit the ship and get as far away as they can.
“Reed, I don't feel so good. I feel like I'm changing.” said Heather.
“Oh my god! She's just disappearing!” yelled Johnny.
“What's happening to me?”
“She's visible again.” said Walter.
“Wow! I'm on fire and I can fly!” Johnny said enthusiastically
“Everyone, calm down.” Reed said.
“Calm down! Calm down! How can I calm down I look like this.” said Walter who had just turned into a rock-like monster. Then all the sudden Walter goes crazy and start throwing trees and attacks Reed. Reed stretches out of the way just like a rubber band and wraps his arms around Walter. Reed manages to the calm everyone down and tries to figure out has happened to them.
“Come on people. We have to get our act together and make our way back to Department H.” said Reed.
“How are we supposed to do that? We don't know where we are.” said Walter.
“Listen to me. With these powers, we can help destroy Apocalypse. We are as powerful as mutants. We must stay together and help mankind and mutantkind.” said Reed.
While everyone agrees to stay together, an important event is going on back at Department H.  X-Flight has just returned to Department H, to find the place trashed and Shaman's lifeless body lying on the ground. Snowbird was devastated to see her father’s body.  Of course Maverick was nowhere to be found.  Guardian believes Apocalypse has attacked and kidnapped Maverick. That is until Maverick and the Dark Riders burst in through a wall.
“Surprise flatscans!” Maverick said.
“Maverick, how could you?” Guardian asked.
“Easy.” Maverick makes the first move and shoots Guardian in the arm. The rest of the Dark Riders attack.
“Kill them all, except the mutant.” ordered Maverick.
A great battle starts. The Dark Riders are unmerciful and plan on destroying X-Flight. Puck is a true warrior and fights for his team. Unfortunately he is easily killed by Deadbolt and Gauntlet. Next to fall was Snowbird. No matter what she changed into, Reaper and Wildside still got her. Tusk manages to capture Timebomb and brings her to Maverick.
“Hello. Did you miss me?” said Maverick.
“How could you Maverick? How would you follow Apocalypse? Why did you do all this? asked Timebomb.
“He did it because he’s influenced by Apocalypse.” said Guardian who is losing a lot of blood from his wound.
“Shut up flatscan. Your days are done.” Maverick said and finished Guardian off with a shot to the head. “Hardrive, teleport us out.”
All there is left of the Department H is the bodies of X-Flight. If Reed, Heather, Johnny, and Walter ever make it back to the Department H, they all will be deeply devastated. And while one team was destroyed, another was forming.
“Reed’s right. Let's stay together form a team. I think we’d be a fantastic team. With me being a “human torch”, Heather with her invisibility powers, Walter with his great strength and Reed with those elastic powers.” said Johnny.
“Call me the Invisible Woman.”
“I'm calling myself the Human Torch.”
“And I call myself... Mister Fantastic.
“What about you Walter?” asked Invisible Woman.
“I'm not Walter anymore. Just call me the Thing.”

And so was born the Fantastic Four! And from that moment on, the world would never again be the same!