WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Fantastic Four #14 by Dan Slott, Paco Medina, Jesus Aburtov and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
The Fantastic Four have seen it all. They’ve explored the multiverse, traveled to an incredible amount of other worlds, they discovered the Negative Zone, and witnessed the end of time itself. They’ve encountered frightening alien races, cosmic gods, Inhumans and alternate versions of themselves. So ever since Marvel’s First Family got their superpowers in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four #1 in 1961, they’ve been keeping busy.
And yet, for all that they have seen, for all of the cosmic missions and distant adventures they went on, there is still one place they haven’t visited yet: the place they were originally set to visit, all the way back in 1961, before the cosmic rays, the superpowers, and the Marvel Universe as we know it. And that is exactly the place the family of superheroes locks on as its next destination in Fantastic Four #14.
Slott and Medina’s issue starts off with a blast from the past. Now that Reed, Ben, Sue and Ben are all firmly back on Earth, they have donated the rocket ship that sent them on their fateful voyage to cosmic heroism to the Smithsonian as a priceless piece of (Marvel) history. But while this is meant to celebrate the past of the Fantastic Four, it also helps launch them onto their next cosmic voyage.
Upon seeing their old Marvel-1 rocket, Reed dreams of the stars again. More specifically, he dreams of finally going to the binary star system 44 light years away, the one the family was originally set to explore in Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four #1. As we all know, the four explorers would head out into space, but cosmic rays would derail their voyage, send them crashing back to Earth and give them special abilities that would transform them into the world’s greatest superhero family.
Reed now knows where he went wrong, and why his designs failed. With a more highly-developed genius and everything he has learned since and the advancement of technology, he dives back into his lab and, with some help from Johnny, the pair builds a new version of their first rocket: the Marvel-2.
The ship's goal is simple: to take the Fantastic Four to the binary star system 44 light years away they were initially set to visit 58 years ago. It takes a bit of convincing, but eventually the entire team agrees to go on the mission without any children, girlfriends or stowaways. It’s just Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny and the stars.
The only question is what will they find there? In a new story with such a heavy focus on the team’s past, the team will almost certainlyencounter something they aren’t expecting—something they might not have survived were it not for 58 years of history and superpowers that turned them into heroes.