WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Fantastic Four #4, by Dan Slott, Stefano Caselli, Nico Leon, Erick Arciniega and VC’s Chris Eliopoulos, out now.
It’s taken three years, but the Fantastic Four are finally home. Following an opening arc that caught up readers on exactly what both halves of Marvel’s First Family have been up to, before bringing everyone (and more) together to fight the Griever, Issue 4 concludes with the FF finally touching down in their own dimension in the city that has been their home since 1961: New York. Unfortunately, however, it’s not all smooth sailing, as their former home, the Baxter Building, is now occupied by another superhero team, forcing the FF into a new (yet familiar) headquarters.
Since we were reintroduced to Reed Richards, Sue Storm-Richards, their kids Franklin and Valeria and the rest of the Future Foundation, they’ve been hunted by the Griever, who is revealed to be the cosmic embodiment of destruction. Fitting, seeing as she’s been chasing the heroes across dimensions, undoing all the good they’ve done in rebuilding a shattered multiverse. She was so powerful that Reed was forced to send up a multi-dimensional signal flare, shining a giant 4 in the sky above Earth 616 and drawing to him every superhero who’s ever been a member of the Fantastic Four.
The battle was long but successful. Reed and Valeria soon realized that, seeing as the Griever is a being of destruction, if the heroes break almost all of her means to escape, she would have no means of repairing the damage, meaning she could either run away in the one remaining pod or be trapped in this dimension forever. She chose wisely, making her escape while she still could. Valeria then set to work repairing the damage to the remaining escape pods, and the Fantastic Four began to send the heroes back home.
The FF were the last to return, but it wasn’t the grand homecoming they envisioned. There was a crowd of fans waiting, but they weren’t chanting for the Fantastic Four, but rather the Fantastix, a new team of heroes that seemed to be borrowing heavily from the FF’s look. It’s not just their appearance they’ve stolen, either; they’ve set up shop in the Baxter Building, adding a sense of credibility to their shtick, and leaving the First Family of the Marvel Universe homeless in the process.
How was Fantastix able to own the Baxter Building? Well, since the Fantastic Four have been gone, ownership for one of the most iconic buildings in Marvel's New York City has changed hands a couple of times. Following Secret Wars, the Baxter Building lay empty and unused for a while, until it was purchased by Parker Industries, the multibillion-dollar global corporation owned by Peter Parker. When his company went bankrupt due to an international abuse of his technology during the "Secret Empire" and "Clone Conspiracy" events, the building was once again up for sale.
After a brief publicity stunt that involved the Wrecking Crew and a jewelry heist interrupted, it’s revealed that the first adventure of the Fantastix was nothing more than a manipulation of events, landing their management company in hot water. Still, the Fantastix themselves were unaware of the fraud and, seeing as it was them who owned the building and not their management, the Fantastic Four had no legal right to turf them out. Luckily, Ben Grimm had an extremely appropriate "Plan B."
Leading his teammates and family away from the Baxter Building, he brought them to the door of another, smaller building that, it turns out, is entirely owned by the Thing. What’s best of all is the address: Number 4, Yancy Street. Ben Grimm grew up on Yancy Street, and ever since the early days of the comic, the Yancy Street Gang has been a constant thorn in his side. It’s a friendly rivalry, however, and it makes perfect sense that he’d want to buy real estate on the street. And the fact that the address is number 4? Well, that’s just the icing on the cake. We’ll have to wait and see just how the Fantastic Four handle living without the luxuries (not to mention the space) that a prominent skyscraper gave them, but as Mr. Fantastic says at the end of the issue: “The FF aren’t a building ... we’re a family, and that will never change.”