The Fantastic Four Become the World's Greatest... Villains?

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Fantastic Four #15, by Dan Slott, Paco Medina, Bob Quinn and Jesus Aburtov, on sale now.

The return of the Fantastic Four has seen the team intent on completing the original mission that accidentally led to cosmic rays mutating them and giving them superpowers. As big as that event was in both the Marvel Universe and comic books in general, even the Fantastic Four didn't realize the impact their first misadventure had on other worlds. For the world of Spyre, in particular, the birth of the First Family was instead a source of great dread. Thus, their return unwittingly casts the World's Greatest Heroes as the ultimate prophetic villains.

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The world of Spyre was once potentially breached on the maiden voyage of the then pre-Fantastic Four's rocket ship, the Marvel-1. Though the failed shielding, which exposed the team of adventurers to cosmic rays, sent them back to Earth, the event had a traumatic effect on the society of Spyre. Within Spyre, a group called The Unparalleled, led by the patriarchal Overseer, protect and defend the citizenry with an array of superpowers of their own. These include the giant Citadel, the weather witch Elementa and Sidearm, who can apparently transmute his arm into a variety of elements and weapons. They also face off against threats such as King Skrum, who, along with his reptilian assistant, have mutated, inhuman appearances. Given how futuristic the the world of Spyre seems to be, it's unknown how much of this technology, or the powers and appearances of its denizens is the result of potential cosmic radiation that Spyre comes into contact with.

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The greatest threat that the Unparalleled have prepared for, however, is the return of the Four-Told. These same "alien invaders" were the ones who, in their invasion craft, nearly breached the surface of the planet years ago. The Overseer's super-vision alerts him to the returning threat of the Four-Told, fulfilling a prophecy of their enemies' return. The Unparalleled prepare to draw first blood against the conquering horde, not realizing that the Four-Told is in fact the Fantastic Four!

The Fantastic Four, whose dialogue is initially written as being unintelligibly alien in the world of Spyre, are ambushed upon their arrival. The Marvel-2 ship is damaged, leading The Human Torch to fly out and encounter the flying hero Sky. The heroes already know much of the Fantastic Four, referring to The Thing as the Monster Made of Rock of legend. Their knowledge of Reed Richards highlights his extreme intelligence and versatility. They're even aware of Sue Storm's extreme power, something made more prominent in recent issues. Unfortunately for the FF, The Unparalleled's knowledge of the fabled invaders allows them to easily trounce the team. Citadel removes The Thing from the battlefield, while Elementa, Kor and Kaylo uses their opposing powers to defeat Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and the Human Torch.

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After incarcerating three of the battered quartet, The Overseer and The Unparalleled realize that they are no threat, and that their prophecies portraying them as invading villains may have been inaccurate. Instead, they welcome the Fantastic Four as citizens of Spyre, which, unfortunately for the First Family, is a permanent status.

Fantastic Four #16 releases November 6.

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