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The Avengers and the Fantastic Four Tackle Both Sides of a Force Field

In "Our Lives Together," I spotlight some of the more interesting examples of shared comic book universes. You know, crossovers that aren't exactly crossovers.

Today, we look at yet another example of good friends John Byrne and Roger Stern coordinating an event during the time that Byrne was the writer (and artist) on Fantastic Four and Stern was the writer on Avengers.

The whole thing started in the pages of the Fantastic Four, in issue #251, when Reed builds a machine that can explore the Negative Zone.

The Fantastic Four head off to explore the mysterious dimension, but they don't realize that as they are entering the Negative Zone, they have switched places with Annihilus, and now Reed and Sue's son, Franklin, and his baby sitter, the blind girlfriend of the Thing, Alicia Masters, are left alone with the evil creature!

So the next few issues mostly told some interesting adventures of the Fantastic Four in the Negative Zone, including the classic landscape issue in Fantastic Four #252...

But we would check in on Annhilus from time to time, as well. In Fantastic Four #254, Annihilus reveals his plan. He is going to release a "null field" that will spread and eventually collide with another field to basically merge our dimension with the Negative Zone, with disastrous implications...

We see the field in action when two members of the Avengers, She-Hulk and Wasp, encounter the field while they are out on the town...

In the following issue, we see Daredevil also slam right into the field, but Byrne does an awesome job showing how quickly Daredevil could use his radar senses to map out a path for where he could land safely...

However, we see that Annihilus is still holding Alicia and Franklin hostage and things don't look good for the good guys...

At the end of the issue, the Fantastic Four have prepared to return home, but are shocked to learn that, well, their pathway home has been destroyed by Annihilus and they might just be stuck in the Negative Zone!!

However, this is a superhero comic book, and superheroes often find a way out of odds even worse than this, so Reed comes up with a plan to get the Fantastic Four out of this mess and it mostly involves him essentially finding a way to sort of find the Baxter Building in the Negative Zone (or, essentially, where it would be located in the Negative Zone) and work out a way to attack the defenses of the Baxter Building from within the Negative Zone. Coincidentally, at the same time, the Baxter Building was being attacked by a powerful blast from the Avenger known as Captain Marvel....

So things are falling apart and the Fantastic Four manage to travel through the Negative Zone back to Earth...

Ben goes for Alicia, of course, and Sue worries about Franklin (he IS injured in the blast that was caused by the attack on Annihilus, but nothing life-threatening or even longlasting)...

You might have noticed that the Fantastic Four's costumes have changed. As it turned out, traveling from the Negative Zone the way that they did ended up turning their costumes into "negatives" of their original costumes. Neat, huh?

While they are talking, the Avengers show up...

Okay, so that's how things happened from the Fantastic Four's perspective. How about the Avengers?

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