Susan Storm (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 5 13 cover
Invisible Woman
So what's the number? How few people do you need before you can change the world?
Conversation Tail
Reed Richards (Earth-616) from Avengers Vol 5 43 cover
Mr. Fantastic
Conversation Tail

Appearing in "Epilogue Chapter 3: The End"

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Synopsis for "Epilogue Chapter 3: The End"

Originally it was believed that time flowed like a river from the past to the future always in one direction. However, with the invention of time travel, it was believed that one could travel at any point in history. But, as early time travellers soon discovered, travelling into the past to try and change it only created a divergent timeline. It's postulated that per Kang's Third Law of Time is that if one tries to create a time paradox (such as killing their grandfather before they were born) it actually creates an alternate reality due to the Conservation of Causality. While considering all of this, Reed Richards finds it perplexing that a Doctor Doom from 75 years in the future has come to try and change the past, and why the Fantastic Four from that era have come to stop him. However, taken under consideration, Reed recalls how Kang the Conqueror is a notorious liar.

When Reed points this out to the time travellers from the future, Doctor Doom confirms what Reed has suspected: The Kang has lied about his uncontested theories of time travel. When the Thing from the future tries to tell Doom to surrender, he is blasted with energy that causes him to revert back to human form. The present Thing is surprised to see that he will be cured, and the future Sue informs him that he will actually learn to change back and forth at will. However, Mister Fantastic still isn't sold that this won't create a divergent reality. Regardless of the truth, the future Ben Grimm concentrates enough to change back into the Thing. When Doom suggests that the future Fantastic Four have been sent back in time to kill him, the future Mister Fantastic disputes it. However, the rest of the team points out that they are in a period of time when Reed Richards is not very popular among the world. Doom points out that if they kill him now, Richards will rule the future.

The present day human Torch suddenly intervenes and says nobody is killing anybody until they talk things out. The present Mister Fantastic concurs that regardless of the situation and the technology at their disposal they cannot determine who is telling the truth. The future Reed Richards also finds himself in a position where he cannot convince them of the truth thanks to the possible deceptions Doom has enacted to sow confusion. That's when the Invisible Woman chimes in, pointing out that she knows her husband is not determined to be the tyrant that Doom claims he will become because she knows exactly where Reed draws the line. Sue also confirms with her future self that they have known Reed the best since they first met him at twelve years old. Sue also points out that Doom will often create misdirection and engage in deceptions, but he will never outright lie.

When the future Mister Fantastic tells Doom that it's time to leave, Doom refuses to surrender. He then asks the present day Fantastic Four to grant him asylum as he will have his mind reprogrammed in the future. However, while the Thing is ready to fight, Reed tells them that he has to grant Doom his request until they can determine the truth. The rest of the present day Fantastic Four agree to follow Reed's lead. When the future Reed concurs that's the course of action he'd take, the future Thing lets slip that they have to stop Doctor Doom before the timelines get sealed. Shocked that there is some kind of deception going on, there the present fantastic four battle their future counterparts. The present day heroes find themselves at a disadvantage as their future selves have found that their powers have increased over the years.

The future Mister Fantastic tries to explain to his past counterpart that they are attempting to maintain the conservation of causality. When Reed realises what this means, the future Doctor Doom blasts the both Mister Fantastsics. This prompts the present day Invisible Woman is convinced that Doom is in the wrong the whole time and both she and her future self contain Doctor Doom. With Doom contained, the future Fantastic Four confirm what Reed has already figured out: that while alternate realities exist, they are only created by massive disruptions in the timeline in most cases an attempt to change history cause the timeline to correct itself. They explain that Doctor Doom was attempting to create just such a disruption in the timeline to prevent the future he came from. With Doom's plan foiled, they learn that his future is a veritable utopia.

However, both Reeds decide that instead of taking Doom back to the future, they give him the opportunity that he can be as great as Reed Richards, and send him to an alternate timeline where the Hulk killed all the worlds heroes. With the battle over, the future Fantastic Four are convinced that their timeline is confirmed they tell Reed and the others that the future will be bright but won't spoil it. After they leave in the time platform. This leaves the present day team to think about the future. When Sue asks how many people will they need to change the world, Reed provides a simple answer: Four.


Continuity Notes

  • The realisation that time travel created divergent realities was first discovered by Kang in Avengers #267 when he formed the Council of Kangs.
  • The future Thing and Torch point out all the recent events that have made the world distrust Mister Fantastic. They mention the following events:

See Also


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