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Quote1.png We are undeniably in dire straits. I beg you to keep a cool head until I can calculate some way of alleviating the situation. Quote2.png
Reed Richards

Appearing in "The Annihilation Gambit!"

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Synopsis for "The Annihilation Gambit!"

With their tunnel out of the Negative Zone barrier destroyed, the Fantastic Four have no choice but to navigate their way through the highly destructive distortion field between the Negative Zone and Earth in order to return home. Any miscalculation in their attempt could mean their utter destruction as matter and anti-matter collide. Observing the field from an asteroid moored to the ship they have commandeered, Reed tries to explain the dangerous trek ahead of them. Having constructed a portable range scanner, Reed intends to get as close to the distortion field as possible in order to get a reading that will help them get back home. The rest of the Fantastic Four agree to stay by his side, destroying any asteroids that get too close to their vantage point. Tethering himself out to the edge of the distortion field, Reed takes a scan of Manhattan through the area and is horrified by what he has detected.

Back on Earth, Julie Angel and Sharon Selleck have decided to go pay a visit to the Baxter Building after the disturbing phone call they got when they tried to phone Johnny. Along the way they spot a group of people gathered outside a store and ask them what is going on. There they learn that there is some kind of battle going on between the Avengers involving the Fantastic Four. Before they can learn any more, Julie turns and sees what's going on at the Baxter Building. [1]

Meanwhile, in the Negative Zone, Sue has noticed that a large amount of debris is drifting into Reed's direction. Ben tries to get their leader's attention by tossing a chunk of metal ripped from the ship. Snapped out of his fascination, Reed realizes that sending himself to get the reading could have doomed the rest of the team had he been destroyed, and returns to the others. Back with the rest of the Fantastic Four, Reed explains to them that someone has erected a null-field in New York and plans on expanding a second one in an effort to destroy both Earth and the Negative Zone. He tells them that time is of the essence to get back home and thwart this plan.

While deep in the distant Andromeda galaxy in the positive mater universe, a Skrull ship detects the approach of Nova, the newest herald of Galactus. They try to blast her, but the woman is far too fleet for their weapons. She returns back to the ship carrying her master, and informs Galactus that they are in close range of a suitable world for him to consume: The Skrull homeworld.

Later in the Negative Zone, the Fantastic Four have been busy constructing a dimensional analogue to the Baxter Building that matches their headquarters in shape and size, an important part of Reed's plan to return them home to Earth. With the analogue constructed, Reed has built a device that he hopes will cause the null-fields created on Earth to localize to the Negative Zone in order to allow them to return home. He now waits for the opportune moment to activate the device. On Earth, this moment comes to pass when Captain Marvel of the Avengers manages to breach the null-field placed by Annihilus and gain access to the Baxter Building. This damages the null generator, and when Annihilus leaps to try and repair it, the device blows up in his face, shattering most of the armor that has disguised his decrepit form.

Detecting this action, Reed activates his device, transporting the Fantastic Four back home and sending Annihilus back into the Negative Zone. The ruler of the Zone soon finds himself caught in the pull of the distortion field and is seemingly destroyed when his body slams into it. The Fantastic Four appear in the Baxter Building, with Reed's mind restored to his body. Also as a strange side effect, the FF's uniforms have been inverted -- with the black portions of their uniforms turning white, and the blue portions being changed black. After the Thing introduces them to Captain Marvel, he spots the heavily injured body of Alicia Masters, who is thankfully still alive after the beating she took from Annihilus. Fearing for the safety of their son, Sue rushes off to find Franklin, while Reed and Johnny deal with the fire in the lab.

Just then the rest of the Avengers arrive and fill Reed and Johnny on their battle with Annihilus. The Scarlet Witch explains to Reed how her husband the Vision was deactivated when he tried to phase through the null-barrier. Reed agrees to help try and restore her husband, but quickly drops what he is doing when Sue returns with their injured son. As Reed and Sue rush off to the hospital with their son, leaving the Scarlet Witch to wonder what will happen to her husband.

Solicit Synopsis

A John Byrne production as the FF face their final battle with the lord of the Negative Zone, Annihilus.


Continuity Notes

  • Julie and Sharon were last seen in Fantastic Four #253 when they tried to call Johnny at the Baxter Building, but got ahold of Annihilus instead.
  • The events in this issue happen simultaneously with Avengers #233, in that story the Avengers try to break past the null-field placed by Annihilus. When the Vision was deactivated when he attempted to phase through the null-field, while Captain Marvel was able to penetrate it with her energy form.
  • The inverted white and black costumes are worn by the Fantastic Four hereafter this story. They continue to wear these uniforms, or variations thereof Fantastic Four #414. Although Sue drastically alters her costume twice in Fantastic Four #372 and 387, but maintained the same color scheme.
  • The events following the defeat of Annihilus in this story are also mirrored in Avengers #233. The last two pages of both issues are nearly identical, with both issues written and drawn by Byrne though Joe Sinnott inked Avengers Vol 1 233.
  • The fate of the Vision continues on in Avengers #234238 when the Vision's mind reactivates, although his body remains inert.
  • The Fantastic Four (except Johnny), Alicia and Franklin all appear in Thing #2 where Alicia and Franklin are rushed to the hospital for medical treatment.

Publication Notes

  • This issue features a letters page, Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Wallace Lee Hopkins, Dan H. Eiler, Loon Levy, Alan Vurn, and Dan Granley. The letters page is printed sideways.

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