Did Fantastic Four Just Covertly Introduce the Team’s Next Big Villain?

SPOILER WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Dan Slott, Sara Pichelli, Simone Bianchi, Skottie Young, Esad Ribic, Sara Pichelli and Michael Allred’s Fantastic Four #1, on sale now.

Fantastic Four #1 might not be the resounding, hopeful reunion that many were hoping for, but the issue might have offered a little more than many realize. While Reed Richards, Sue Storm and their two children, Franklin and Valeria, are still technically adrift out in the multiverse, it’s possible that Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli’s debut issue secretly introduced the next big threat the superhero family will face, the hotly-anticipated villain who goes by the name “The Griever.”

Chances are many comic book fans know The Griever by another name -- Eradikus, which is a misconception we will get to a bit later. First, let’s tackle the theory at hand, which is that the Griever actually appears in Fantastic Four #1 and plays a prominent part in the story. She doesn’t go by The Griever on the page, though. Instead, she goes by another, far less intimidating name -- Astronomica. Astronomica first appears in a story Ben Grimm (aka The Thing) recalls.

RELATED: Fantastic Four #1 Sets Marvel Up to Finally Get [SPOILER] Right

Ben’s story recounts a time when the Fantastic Four, fully assembled and ready to burn rubber across the vast expanse of the Marvel Universe, got lost in said universe. Luckily, they had picked up a passenger along the way, and it just so happened that this passenger, named Astronomica, ended up being their savior. Astronomica was able to use her magical scepter to deliver the Fantastic Four team back safely to Earth, but only if they powered up said scepter by offering up their best singer for a performance. The ensuing scene is actually pretty funny, with Sue Storm being forced to acknowledge that she might not have the best singing voice and Johnny Storm belting out the lyrics to “Danke Schoen.” The crew arrive safely back on Earth and Ben says that Reed was able to help Astronomica get back home.

The story makes for a good laugh. It’s the kind of highflying adventure Fantastic Four fans have been looking for (and, frankly, don’t get in the rest of the issue). The scene’s importance seemingly ends there, except there are some clues hidden within that Astronomica might not be as noble as she appears.

The first major clue is in her appearance. To better explain that, let’s get back to Eradikus for a moment. The name Eradikus originally surfaced back in June, when Sara Pichelli’s rough costume design concept art first surfaced. Included on the design sheet was a fierce-looking villain and one of her minions. Written next to the villain was the word “Eradikus,” which led many comics fans to believe that this was the name of the Fantastic Four’s next big villain. Some time later, Dan Slott issued a statement clarifying that the villain’s name was not Eradikus. The name “The Griever” would not surface until Comic-Con International in San Diego during Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel.

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