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How Was Mister Fantastic's 'Permanent' Scar Healed?

This is "Never Gonna Be the Same Again," a feature where I look at how bold, seemingly "permanent" changes were ultimately reversed. This is not a criticism, mind you, as obviously things are always going to eventually return to "normal." That's just how superhero comic books work. It's just fun to see how some of these rather major changes are reversed. This is differentiated from "Abandoned Love," which is when a new writer comes in and drops the plot of the previous writer. Here, we're talking about the writer who came up with the idea being the same one who resolved the change. This is also differentiated from "Death is Not the End," which is about how "dead" characters came back to life, since this is about stuff other than death.

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Amusingly enough, the very first one of these that I did was about how the Thing's scar was healed after Wolverine sliced his face up in the early 1990s. Here's how my mind works on these things. A few weeks before I debuted this feature, I did a Drawing Crazy Patterns piece about times that the United States government had turned on the Fantastic Four. One of those times was when Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four took control of Latveria after Doctor Doom was seemingly killed. In that piece, Reed Richards' face was badly scarred. So that inspired me to create this feature. Before I could start it, though, I realized that it probably made more sense to do the one about the Thing first, because his scar was even more famous than Reed's. Then I didn't want to come out with another Fantastic Four scar story directly following the first one, so here we are, a month later and voila!

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Anyhow, in the epic storyline called "Unthinkable," Doctor Doom has remade himself as a magical villain, which puts the very much magical novice Reed Richards at a major disadvantage. Doom even taunts him by surrounding him with magic tomes while Doom tortures Reed's family. The captured Doctor Strange first helps Reed figure out a way to allow Strange's astral form to talk to him in Fantastic Four #500 (by Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo and Karl Kesel)...

Strange gave Reed a crash course in magic and it allowed Reed to be powerful enough to free most of his family, except Franklin, who Doom had banished to hell.

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Reed then used some psychological tricks to force Doom into claiming that he had gotten so powerful all by himself (in reality, he had sacrificed the life of his one true love, Valeria, to gain power from some demons). Reed knew that the demons would show up to drag Doom to hell and when they did, the Fantastic Four would swoop in and save Franklin, which is exactly what they did.

Before they got away, though, Doom used his magic to permanently melt Reed's face...

The next issue (art by Casey Jones) reiterated the permanence of the damage...

In Fantastic Four #504 (by Waid, Howard Porter and Norm Rapmund), Reed then convinced the rest of the team to help him take over Latveria so that they could strip everything from Doom whenever he eventually returned from hell...

This was all a trick, though. Reed's real plan was to create a permanent prison where he and Doom would be trapped together for eternity...

Reed underestimated how much his family cared about him, though, and so they broke IN to his prison to get him out and that, in turn, allowed Doom (who was not really corporeal just yet) to possess the Invisible Woman and wreak havoc until the Thing was accidentally killed in the melee!

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