Appearing in "Beginnings and Endings"
- Julie D'Angelo
- Doctor Strange
- Walter Collins
- Franklin Richards
- H.U.B.E.R.T. (Destroyed)
- NYPD Officer
- Terrax (Only in flashback)
- Dr. Doom (?)
- Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd) (Mentioned)
- Captain America's Shield
- Iron Man Armor MK V
- Eye of Agamotto
- Cloak of Levitation
- Terrax's Axe (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Beginnings and Endings"
Julie Angel is exercising in the apartment she shares with Frankie Raye when there is suddenly a knock at the door. Answering it she finds the Human Torch just barely standing there. Absolutely exhausted, he tells her that Frankie is gone before collapsing in her arms. Julie brings Johnny to the couch and then makes an emergency call to the rest of the Fantastic Four. Not long after, both Reed and Sue arrive at Julie's apartment and she learns that Johnny went missing five days previously after what happened to Frankie. Reed tells Julie that what he is about to tell her is incredible....
Galactus has fallen in battle against the Fantastic Four and the Avengers and is on the very brink of death. However, Reed Richards is unwilling to let anyone -- even the devourer of worlds -- die. After explaining the series of events leading up to this battle to the Avengers, Reed insists that they must save Galactus. While they all discuss the ethics of deciding if Galactus should live or die, they all eventually agree that they need to save him. Reed then sends Iron Man to collect equipment from Stark International that he will need in order to complete this herculean task. Soon Reed builds a massive device around Galactus that will re-energize him. He then commands Thor to unleash the full fury of his hammer Mjolnir. But Galactus is greedy and begins absorbing more and more energy, threatening to drain Mjolnir of all its power. Quickly thinking, Captain America tosses his shield at the device, damaging it enough to sufficiently to stop the flow of energy. Emerging from the ruins of the device is Galactus.
Galactus tells the gathered heroes that he must still consume the planet Earth if he is to live. Reed offers another solution and they all head back to the Baxter Building. There, Reed uses his computers to find the location of six worlds that contain the energies that Galactus needs to survive, but without any life existing on them. Galactus notes this, but insists that there is no way to be sure unless the worlds are visited and Galactus cannot do this at his current energy level, not without a herald and so Earth still must be destroyed. Before Galactus can say anything further, Frankie Raye enters the room and offers to be the new herald of Galactus. When Galactus mentions that he has not the energy to expend to grant her powers, Frankie shows that she already has some by flaming on. Galactus finds this acceptable and agrees to make her his herald. When Johnny tries to stop her, the rest of the Fantastic Four holds him back as Frankie is transformed into a being capable of travelling through the depths of space unaided. Johnny calls out to Frankie, who embraces this new form for the freedom it brings and flies off into space. In a panic, Johnny flames on and tries to fly after her, but she flies to high up and the lack of oxygen causes his flame to snuff out and fall out of the sky. When Reed chastises Galactus for choosing the girl, Galactus tells him that she chose her own fate. He then thanks the Fantastic Four for saving his life, having now considered the closest thing to friends that a behind such as himself can get....
... With the story done, Angel is completely floored by it. Reed and Sue then convince Johnny to come back home with them and thank Julie for her help, leaving her to think over what she has been told.
Construction has begun in earnest to rebuild the five floors of the Baxter Building that were destroyed in the Fantastic Four's battle with Terrax, with Reed and Tony Stark overseeing the operation. Arriving by helicopter is Walter Collins, the Fantastic Four's long time landlord. He is furious over the recent damage done to his building and begins making demands. Finally having had enough of Collins' constant threats, Reed decides to take advantage of a clause in their rental contract and buys the entire Baxter Building outright. After seeing the amount on the cheque, Collins walks out without another word. Meeting up with his wife Sue, Reed then places a call to the Latverian embassy to see if they can send the inert body of their former leader Doctor Doom. The Latverian ambassador tells Reed that the FF can bring him on Thursday. However as the ambassador hangs up the phone, Doctor Doom -- or at least someone posing as him -- commends the ambassador for following orders and vows that he will destroy the Fantastic Four.
Reed and Sue are going out for the night and leaving Franklin in the care of Ben and his robot H.U.B.E.R.T. After Franklin's parents leave, Ben begins trying to solve a Rubik's Cube that was sent to him by his longtime tormentors the Yancy Street Gang. Giving up on the toy, Ban hands it over to Franklin to solve. The boy tries his best, but cannot solve the puzzle. Becoming incredibly frustrated, Franklin's powers flare up, solving the puzzle, but also causing H.U.B.E.R.T. to explode as well....
- Iron Man mentions also being stuck in the ethical issues of saving or killing a villain when they dealt with the Molecule Man in Avengers #215–216. In that story they convince Owen Reece to go into therapy instead of killing him.
- The reason Iron Man is told to get equipment from his employer Tony Stark is because the world at large does not know that Tony Stark and Iron Man are the same man. This does not become public knowledge until Iron Man (Vol. 3) #55. At the time of this story only a handful of those present know Iron Man's double identity: Thor knew it sometime in the past, Captain America learned it in Avengers #219, while Reed and Doctor Strange have known since as early as New Avengers: Illuminati (Vol. 2) #1 due to their involvement in the Illuminati. Reed appears not to know Stark's double identity here, but this is likely a deception on his part as part of the secrecy between members of the Illuminati and the super-hero community at large.
- Both Doctor Strange and Thor make mention of their backgrounds as physicians, here's some facts on that:
- Doctor Strange was a renowned surgeon as first revealed in Strange Tales #115. He ceased practicing after a car accident affected his hands so that he could no longer perform delicate surgeries.
- Thor has been operating under the mortal guise of Donald Blake since his first appearance in the modern age, as first seen in Journey into Mystery #83. Thor doesn't mention this because at the time Thor's double identity is not widely known. The only people present who are aware of Thor's double identities are Iron Man and Captain America, who learned Thor's identity in Avengers #216.
- Following the events of this story, Thor returns to Asgard to visit the Three Norns in Bizarre Adventures #32, while Iron Man, and the Wasp appear in Avengers #219 when the Avengers have to reign in a power mad Moondragon. Captain America's next chronological appearance is in a flashback in the third story of Captain America #600, this appearance is seen on the fourth page and third panel of that story.
- Doctor Strange next appears in Rom #41–42, where Strange assists Rom against the Living Tribunal and the In-Betweener.
- Reed saving the life of Galactus has grave repercussions later on. When Shi'ar magistrix Lilandra Neramani learns that Richards saved the life of Galactus she warns him that he will be held responsible for any planets that are destroyed, as depicted in Uncanny X-Men #167. Later, Galactus destroyed the Skrull homeworld in Fantastic Four #257, which leads to Reed being put on trial in Fantastic Four #262
- Galactus and Nova are next seen in the second story of Marvel Comics Presents #93.
- This is the first time Baxter Building owner Walter Collins has been seen in a while. He was last seen trying to put the Baxter Building up for rent in Fantastic Four #191 when the Fantastic Four briefly split up, but was forced to rent it back to them when they got back together in Fantastic Four #201. Collins has not been seen since Reed purchased the Baxter Building from him.
- Reed glosses over the ownership of the Baxter Building in some minor detail here. The full story is as follows:
- Per Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #4 the building was initially owned by the Baxter Paper Company when it was constructed in 1949 but had since been owned by a number of other corporations.
- Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #38 implies and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #4 confirms that the Baxter Building was originally built and owned by the Baxter brothers, most notably Reed's old college mentor Noah Baxter.
- FF: Fifty Fantastic Years #1 established that the Baxter brothers, Leland and Noah, had jointly owned the building until they sold it to a corporation long before Reed Richards purchased the skyscraper's upper floors from Walter Collins.
- When the Fantastic Four went bankrupt in Fantastic Four #9, Reed was forced to sell the property. This story confirms that Reed sold it to Walter Collins, and when the Fantastic Four earned enough money to resume operations they rented the property from Collins.
- Although Collins was not seen until Fantastic Four #111, he has owned the property since Fantastic Four #9 up until Reed purchased it this issue, although it was briefly purchased by the Maggia in Fantastic Four #101. When the Maggia's plot to destroy the Fantastic Four was foiled, Collins regained ownership, as explained in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #7.
- Reed will retain ownership of the Baxter Building until it is destroyed by Kristoff Vernard in Fantastic Four #278.
- Reed talks to the Latverian embassy about having possession of Doctor Doom's body. The Fantastic Four took possession of Doom's body after the events of Fantastic Four #236 when Doom's mind was trapped in a robot body in Liddleville. The Fantastic Four placed Doom's body in stasis in Fantastic Four #237, while his mind remained active in the robot body and was last seen in Micronauts #41. The "Doctor Doom" seen in this story is actually a Doombot, who restores Doom back to normal next issue.
- Ben mentions the Yancy Street Gang bought him the Rubik's Cube that he is trying to figure out. The Yancy Streeters have been tormenting the Thing since Fantastic Four #6. The reason is because, as revealed in Thing #1, Ben used to be a member of the gang. When he left the group to clean up his life, they took it very personally.
- Franklin's mutant powers have been manifesting as early as Fantastic Four #107 and last went out of control in Fantastic Four #141. His powers went dormant when they were used to stop Ultron in Fantastic Four #150, but they began resurfacing in Fantastic Four #216.
- Cover art: sketch by Hannigan.
- This issue contains a letters page, Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Elizabeth Holden, Dan H. Eiler, Anthony Passanti, Doug Gessell, Verlin J. Curtiss,, Francis Herman, and Eric Hampton.