Life After The Fantastic Four

Reed Richards, the team leader, AKA Mr. Fantastic, had the easiest time adapting. He was always more scientist than superhero, and the most flexible member of the group. He got a job with DARPA doing pure R&D.
12/01/2014 10:56 am ET Updated Jan 31, 2015

Reed Richards, the team leader, AKA Mr. Fantastic, had the easiest time adapting. He was always more scientist than superhero, and the most flexible member of the group. He got a job with DARPA doing pure R&D. He's currently weaponizing Ebola to use against ISIS -- or is that weaponizing ISIS to use against Ebola?

The rest of the World's Greatest Comic Book weren't so fortunate. Sue Storm Richards, his wife, AKA the Invisible Girl, AKA the Invisible Woman, AKA Malice, always suffered from low self-esteem issues--going all the way back to issue one, when she had to be rescued from the giant scaly paw of one of the Mole Man's subterranean monsters. She joined a womyn's [sic] consciousness raising group and filed for divorce; Reed--after ascertaining she wasn't being mentally controlled by the Puppet Master or Psycho-Man--reluctantly agreed. She's currently writing a book: Transparency: Seeing Through The Oppressive, Patriarchal Male Superhero Gaze.

Johnny Storm, her brother, AKA the Human Torch, got a job at construction sites as a spot welder: "Hey, it's living, and it gives me more time for my true love--girl watching." He was recently featured in a viral video shaming cat callers.

Benjamin Jacob Grimm, Reed's best friend from college, AKA the Everlovin' Blue-Eyed Thing, unexpectedly got bitten by the show business bug; maybe it was his Jewish roots. He auditioned for the role of Rocky in the Broadway musical adaptation; he didn't get the part. He's currently working as a greeter at a Las Vegas casino: "Hey, let me tell you about the time I single-handedly clobbered the Hulk...."

If it was bad for the FF, it was worse for their enemies. Without their arch nemeses, their whole raison d'être ceased to exist. Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, went on a hunger strike. Klaw, the Master of Sound, entered a monastery and took a vow of silence. The Mole Man crawled back into his hole and refused to emerge until he saw his shadow.

Plus they needed to get day jobs. Do you know how depressing it is for a supervillain to earn an honest buck? Diablo licensed his name and image to a sirracha manufacturer. Molecule Man became a sous chef for a molecular gastronomist. The Red Ghost opened a Halloween haunted house; due to the seasonal nature of the business, he had to sell his beloved Super Apes to DARPA for experiments. (Something about Ebola.) Annihilus changed the name of the Negative Zone to the Fun Zone and started hosting children's parties. Dr. Doom converted his castle into a B and B: "Come to beautiful Latveria! There is so much to see and do-ooooooooom!"

It was just as bad for their friends and allies. The Watcher locked himself in his dome in the mysterious blue region of the moon and started binge watching Cosmos and eating giant tubs of Haagen-Dazs. The Silver Suffer became an aluminum siding salesman. The Submariner hung up his swim trunks--and was promptly arrested for public nudity. The Black Panther tried to form a political action committee, but was told the name was already taken. Impossible Man realized he was merely highly improbable, and a rip-off of Mr. Mxyzptlk, and discorporated. Luke Cage opened a sandwich franchise--Heroes For Hire. She-Hulk posed for Celebrity Skin magazine. Medusa enrolled in hairdressing school. Wyatt Wingfoot got a gig as a sports mascot for a professional football team. Willie Lumpkin, their beloved letter carrier, went postal and died in a hail of SWAT team bullets: "This is for Irving Forbush!"

The hardest hit, though, were the kids, Franklin and Valeria. Valeria, age three, was a super genius like her father, but couldn't devise any new story arcs. Franklin, age five, was an underutilized powerhouse like his mother, but couldn't undo that licensing deal with 20th Century Fox. The divorce was bad enough; they alternated staying with Reed and Sue, and summered in Latveria with "Uncle Victor."

But it was their future, or lack of it, that hurt the most. They had been promised a grownup life of excitement and adventure, of bravery and derring-do. Sure, superheroing was dangerous--how many of the aforementioned supervillains had almost killed them, destroyed the Earth, blown up the universe, etc.?--but they were secure in the knowledge that the good guys always won in the end. Now all they had to look forward to was years of boredom and normalcy.

It was Valeria, of course, who hit upon the solution. Franklin stood in silent awe as she penned a missive to the Chairman and CEO of Disney/Pixar: "Dear Mr. Iger, about that Incredibles 2 sequel you're working on..."