SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Secret Wars” #9.
Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic‘s event series “Secret Wars” drew to a close in issue #9 and finally answered one of the most burning questions of Marvel Comics’ All-New, All-Different relaunch: What happened to the Fantastic Four? Specifically, where are Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman?
As it turns out, they’re off exploring the multiverse — one they’re in the midst of creating, in fact.
In “Secret Wars” #9, Doom goes toe-to-toe with an Infinity Gauntlet-weilding Black Panther. As they clash, Reed Richards and his Ultimate Universe counterpart discover Molecule Man. Shortly thereafter, Doom realizes his battle with Black Panther was actually a distraction to allow Richards the time to find Doom’s power source, the aforementioned Molecule Man. In a panic, Doom teleports himself to Molecule Man’s location.
As soon as he encounters Richards, Doom attempts to destroy him with a snap of his fingers — only to realize his god-like abilities are now defunct. As neither Richards nor Doom brought him something to eat, the ever-ravenous Molecule Man declines to help either of them, resulting in a fair fight between the two. During the struggle, Molecule Man decides to transfer his power to Richards, thereby ending the battle and tearing Battleworld apart.
Together with his family, Richards immediately sets about restructuring the multiverse. Utilizing Franklin Richards’ universe-shaping abilities, Richards has harnessed Molecule Man’s power to spin Franklin’s ideas for each universe into reality. Reed, Sue, Franklin and Valeria Richards head off to explore and catalog the multiverse they’re creating together, along with the Future Foundation.
It’s a fitting end to “Secret Wars” given that it’s also a capstone to this era of Hickman’s time at Marvel. The writer has extensively written both Reed Richards and Doctor Doom, first in his acclaimed “Fantastic Four” run, then his time on the “Avengers” books and ultimately, “Secret Wars” itself.
Fellow Fantastic Four members The Thing and Human Torch have already been accounted for in the post-“Secret Wars” Marvel Universe, with Ben Grimm part of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast, and the Human Torch appearing in both “Uncanny Inhumans” and “Amazing Spider-Man.” Their current roles are acknowledged in a “Secret Wars” #9 exchange between Reed and Sue, with Sue telling her husband, “They can’t be with us. They shouldn’t be. Their act isn’t anywhere close to being finished.”
Finally, “Secret Wars” #9 also provides an answer how Victor Von Doom’s face was revealed to scar-free in the current “Invincible Iron Man” series, suggesting that Reed used his powers to heal his longtime rival’s face — a move which seems to have changed the iconic character’s approach to life from one of villainy to heroicness.
“Secret Wars” #9 is on sale now.