Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer Cross Paths in Infinite Space

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.

Reader Gibson wrote in with a great one from the period in time when Steve Englehart was writing both the Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer. You might have noticed that Englehart has shown up in this feature a few times. He's particularly well known for doing this sort of thing a lot, which is a lot of fun for the comic book readers.

Okay, let's set the scene first. Reed and Sue Richards have taken a leave of absence from the Fantastic Four and left the leadership of the team in the hands of Ben Grimm, the Thing. Along with Human Torch, the Thing formed a new Fantastic Four with former Fantastic Four member (and former girlfriend of the now-married Human Torch) Crystal and new member, Sharon Ventura (the new Ms. Marvel). Sharon, however, is only known as Ms. Marvel briefly, as she is mutated so that she becomes a female version of the Thing while the Thing himself is further mutated so that he is much stronger than he was before but his rocky hide is a lot more rocky than usual. Thing and Sharon begin to date, while Johnny and Crystal deal with their feelings for each other, as well (Crystal is still technically married to Quicksilver, but they are estranged and he is eeeeeeeevil during Englehart's run on the book). It's very much a soap opera deal.

Anyhow, Crystal took a break from the team following Quicksilver seemingly returning to normal (after we learn he might have been manipulated a bit into becoming so evil). The remaining members were planning a trip into the Negative Zone to look for the Beyonders or perhaps specifically THE Beyonder that the Fantastic Four met during Secret Wars.

Doctor Doom shows up to offer to help in Fantastic Four #318 (by Englehart, Keith Pollard and Joe Sinnott), but the FF are suspicious...

Ultimately he sort of forces his way into their mission. In Fantastic Four #329, there are in the Negative Zone and going through the Crossroads of Infinity to get to the home of the Beyonder...

And sure enough, while they were traveling through these crazy areas, they see...Reed and Sue and the Silver Surfer??!

Then they go on to their mission. Molecule Man and his girlfriend show up, and ultimately the Beyonder and the Molecule Man merge together into a new being and the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom and the Molecule Man's girlfriend are sent back to Earth...

You have to really give Johnny and the Thing some credit. They see Reed and Sue out of nowhere and they return home and are basically thinking, "Eh, I'm sure whatever they were up to, they can handle it." Well, obviously, as you can see, Johnny is mostly thinking about his newlywed wife (which is a lot more than he was thinking about her earlier when he was still stuck on his ex-girlfriend, Crystal). However, you are all curious as to what it was, exactly, that Reed and Sue WERE up to, right? Let's find out!

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