Comics : Ultimate Fantastic Four #32

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This story is part of an Arc: "Frightful"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Johnny Storm is fighting for his life because of an alien parasite that has invaded his body and is slowly killing him from the inside out. Once it is through with him, it'll break free and then destroy all of humanity if only Reed could stop, which he can't. After asking for help from everyone he can think of, the only person left is Victor Van Damme. Dr. Doom agrees to help but only on one condition, Reed must swap bodies with him and not tell anyone.

With Dr. Doom's mind now in the body of Mr. Fantastic, the Fantastic Four, minus the Human Torch, get an emergency beacon from the Baxter Building telling them that the Zombie Fantastic Four have escaped their holding cell but are trapped in the upper floors of the building. Not that big of a deal, only they're trapped in the same location as the teleporter Reed was building to send them back to their zombie infested dimension. The Zombie Reed has other plans for it now. He's going to use it to bring all of the other zombie versions of the Marvel Super Heroes to the Ultimate Universe, to help them get out of the Baxter Building so that they can them consume the entire planet.

In Detail...

Ultimate Fantastic Four #32
Aug 2006 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man from Zombie Universe Appears
Arc: Part 3 of "Frightful"
Writer:  Mark Millar
Pencils:  Greg Land
Inker:  Matt Ryan
Lettering:  Randy Gentile
Colorist:  Justin Ponsor
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Issue
Review

Earlier at Latveria, Richards is still coming to grips with the fact that his brain is now in the body of Victor Van Damme, plus just having Dr. Doom's body is enough to weigh Reed's spirits down.

The three members of the Fantastic Four, Sue, Ben and Reed Richards' body with Victor's brain inside it head back to the Baxter Building in New York. Outside of the Baxter building the Ultimates have been called to help deal with the Zombie Fantastic Four if they manage to escape from their holding cell. Sue and Johnny's father informs Reed (Dr. Doom) that the Zombie Reed is about an hour away from getting his inter-dimensional teleporter working so that he can bring over the rest of the zombie versions of the super heroes to this universe and even though the force field is able to hold the zombie Fantastic Four it won't be able to hold the rest of the zombies back.

Reed (Dr. Doom) tells Dr. Storm that he must focus his attentions on exorcising the parasitic creature from inside Johnny even though it won't hatch out of Johnny's body for weeks. Reed (Dr. Doom) has come up with a plan to deal with the zombies and having Johnny back on his feet is a vital part of his plans.

Meanwhile the zombie Fantastic Four are busy finishing their teleporter. Zombie Reed and Sue believe that they have nothing to worry about. Even though the normal Reed has returned he is spending all his energies helping Johnny with his problem, and even though the zombies are trapped in the Baxter Building by a force field, they are safely separated from everyone on the outside. They can take their sweet time getting the rest of the zombies there with them.

Inside the building Reed (Dr. Doom) prepares Johnny for the spell that will release the parasite and send it back where it came from, while outside S.H.E.I.L.D. has arrived with General Fury, who isn't much too happy that Reed (Dr. Doom) is dealing with the Human Torch's problem before going after the zombies, but Dr. Storm stands by his student saying that if Reed needs Johnny to help him get rid of the zombies than he's inclined to believe him.

Back inside something wrong has happened with the spell. The parasite was supposed to be exorcised and banished to the N-Zone, only not so much with the banishing part. All Reed (Dr. Doom) accomplished was to free it from Johnny so that it could then go out and find an even stronger human host. Reed (Dr. Doom) sends a call to outside telling them they need to get Thor as far away as possible, only the parasite swoops right by the Thunder God, right into the body of Dr. Doom (Reed), who tells them all to lower the shields on the Baxter building so that he can finish this thing.

Inside the zombies decide to ditch their plans of bringing all the other zombies across. With the shields lowered the Zombie Fantastic Four no longer need the help of the others, so why should they share. Thinking they're getting out of there, the zombies come face to face with Dr. Doom, who makes quick work of the Zombie Human Torch by blowing some black smoke out of his mouth that traps him. Turning his attention on the Zombie Thing, Dr. Doom (Reed) pulls one of its arms off and starts beating the Thing with it.

Zombie Sue tries to use her force fields on him by to no avail. Dr. Doom (Reed) makes things even more difficult for her by causing her body to further decay. Three down and only Zombie Reed to deal with. Zombie Reed goes in for the killing bite only to be told by Dr. Doom (Reed) that there really isn't anything on his body that could be eaten. Conjuring up maggots in the inside of the zombie Reed's body makes quick, gruesome work of him.

Dr. Storm calls in to ask Dr. Doom (Reed) what his progress is and he tells him, as he starts throwing over the bits and pieces of the zombie Fantastic Four that he has dealt with the zombies and that he's going to transport the parasite over with them. Dr. Storm starts saying how they all misjudged him, but Dr. Doom (Reed) tells him that he isn't really Victor Van Damme.

About to sacrifice himself by leaping into the teleporter with the parasite inside himself, Reed (Dr. Doom) quickly switches brains back to their rightful owner. There was no way that Victor Van Damme was going to sit back and allow Reed Richards to prove himself the hero of humanity by sacrificing himself. Victor switches brains back so that he can now walk through the teleporter to trap the alien parasite in the other dimension.

Through the teleporter we see all of Marvel superheroes consuming the remains of Galactus, including a one-legged Spider-Man himself. Seeing Dr. Doom standing there, they all turn their attention to the "fresh" meat. All Dr. Doom says is how this should be challenging.

It has been revealed in a letter to them, that Victor Van Damme's assistant, Sue and Johnny's very own mother had planned this whole thing herself. You see with Victor gone she inherits all of Latveria, plus all of Victor's research. The Fantastic Four discuss all this from inside a microscopic condo that Reed invented to completely change the real estate market.

In General...

With the zombie's loose in the upper floors of the Baxter Building, Dr. Doom, still in Reed's body, decides that his attentions must be focused on saving Johnny from the alien parasite inside his body first before he can deal with the zombies, saying the Johnny is detrimental to his plans for dealing with the zombies. The only problem is that Dr. Doom screws up and even though he saves Johnny Storm, the alien parasite is loosed upon the physical world now. Dr. Doom believes that it'll now go for the strongest being in the vicinity which he thinks is Thor waiting outside with the other Ultimates. Except for one thing. He didn't think Reed, now in Dr. Doom's body would be there.

The parasite chooses Reed for it's host because Dr. Doom is the strongest being in the world. Reed then goes into the Baxter Building and single-handedly deals with the zombie versions of the Fantastic Four, by ripping Ben apart, causing Sue's body to decay faster and, in the most gruesome way imaginable, manifests maggots inside the Zombie Reed's body to deal with him.

Throwing the remains of the zombies back into their own dimension through the teleporter, Reed makes Dr. Doom tell everyone the truth. As Reed, still in Doom's body makes his way into the teleporter to carry the alien parasite, still inside his body, Dr. Doom quickly causes the two to switch body's back, saying that there is no way that he's going to allow Reed to further sully his name again by being the savior of the human race. As Dr. Doom steps into the teleporter, he tells everyone to make sure they tell everyone it was Dr. Doom that saved everyone. On the other side, we see the zombies making quick work of the remains of Galactus. As the zombies turn their attention to Doom, Victor comments on how this might actually be a challenge.

Overall Rating...

A good solid issue. I was impressed seeing Dr. Doom quickly and easily deal with the zombie versions of the Fantastic Four. I would have liked it even more to see some of the fight Dr. Doom has in store for himself in their dimension but that might be for another time. Reed mentions that after a few days no one will be able to teleport between the Ultimate universe and the zombie universe any longer so it'll be interesting to see how they make Dr. Doom escape his self-imposed exile because there isn't any way they're just going to let Dr. Doom go that easily.

I do wish the zombies had more of a center stage in this issue, but it was more focused on Reed and Dr. Doom switching bodies and then having to deal with the alien parasite inside Johnny's body (that Doom summoned in the first place). But anything with any of the zombie versions of the marvel super heroes is gold in my book.

Footnote...

The zombie Spider-Man appears in only two panels of this issue as Dr. Doom traps himself in their dimension.