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Quote1.png In other words, gang... ...look out, world, the Fantastic Four are back! Quote2.png
Human Torch

Appearing in "Vive la Fantastique!"

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Synopsis for "Vive la Fantastique!"

Miles below the surface of the Earth, the Mole Man is plotting his takeover of the surface world when he receives news that the Fantastic Four have returned after reportedly being dead for quite some time. He decides that perhaps he will postpone his plans, but takes time to toast his greatest adversaries.

In Antarctica Ben Grimm finds himself strapped to Reed Richards’ latest invention: the Electromagnetic Meson Velocirator. The large device is designed to travel at great speeds by using the Earth’s magnetic force, but Ben just wants to get things over with so he can get back inside. As they are counting down to activation, the Human Torch flies by. Unable to resist teasing Ben, Johnny melts the ground below the Thing and sends him hurtling down a cliff. Unfortunately for Ben, the device he's still strapped to activates and sends him flying across the ice field. As Jonny flies up alongside Ben to continue to tease him, Ben grabs the Torch and soon the two are inside of a massive snowball rolling towards the Fantastic Four’s arctic base.

At the base, Reed is excited to the point of distraction as he collects his test data, while Sue and Franklin watch the snowball careen towards them. Before the massive ball of snow can crush her and her son, Sue creates a force field that stops the ball and ejects Ben and Jonny, who are quickly chastised by the Invisible Woman. Naturally Reed is totally oblivious to this. Grabbing Franklin, he heads inside to review his results, leaving the others behind.

Meanwhile in Paris, France, a group of anti-technology protesters have appeared outside of a dig site operated by D.R.C., an American company which has uncovered ancient tunnels deep below Paris. The protestors oppose foreign interests coming in to sift through and monetize French history. Among the protesters are Yvette Diamonde, Laurent Levasseur, and Henry Dubois — the most vocal of the assembled demonstrators. To their surprise D.R.C.'s European councillor, Aaron Starr, personally confronts the group and invites them in to see what D.R.C. has discovered beneath Paris. Descending into the dig, to their shock Starr reveals a doorway covered in ancient scripture which he claims predates human history and language. When Yvette learns they intend to use a laser to bore through the ancient door, she tries to stop them by kicking the equipment aside. While the protestors and D.R.C. technicians clash the door suddenly begins to open, unleashing a strange energy originating from whatever lies on the other side.

Back at the FF's temporary headquarters in Antarctica, the Thing is cooking up some food when Sue asks him if he needs any help. Ben then goes off on a tirade about how their lives were completely upended when they were forced to relive alternate lives in another dimension, and how they returned to find the Thunderbolts now occupying what used to be their headquarters and their home. When he asks what sort of help she can provide coming to terms with all that, Sue remarks that she was asking if he needed any help with the cooking. As she begins preparing a salad, Sue explains that their recent experiences are just another adventure, which is all part of being members of the Fantastic Four. When Ben asks why he would choose to relive a new life as the Thing, Sue points out that no matter where they end up Ben will always be the hero he always has been. Sue is surprised to find Ben beginning to cry at this statement, but he assures her it's merely irritation from the smoke coming off his grill. Sue nevertheless reassures Ben that they love him no matter what he looks like.

In the base's hangar, Reed is working with Johnny and Franklin to refurbish the team's original Fantasti-Car. As they work, Franklin asks his father about a piece of Reed's equipment. Reed explains that it's a Transpatial Breach Early Warning System, which detects when something in one of many pocket dimensions tries to cross over into their world. When Franklin points out that it has started flashing, Reed realizes that there is trouble brewing and tells Johnny to summon the others.

Back in France, the ancient crypt door has burst open and continues to flood the underground tunnel with emanations from an unknown energy source. It begins passing through D.R.C. workers and protesters alike, transforming them into alien beings. Only Yvette remains somehow unaffected. Soon, standing over her are Stem, B'aar and Exalt, three members of an ancient, long-imprisoned race called the Ruined. They explain that they were imprisoned in another dimension as enemies of progress, appealing to Daimonde's anti-technological rhetoric. Seeing her as the chosen one that will allow them to retake the world they have been banished from, they give her a mystical sword that transforms her into their agent.

Above ground, two punk rocker Americans ask a Belgian protester about what's going on. Once they have been informed about D.R.C.'s activities in the area, they quickly disappear. That "punk couple" was actually the Invisible Woman and Mister Fantastic in disguise. They proceed to use Sue's invisibility powers to evade security and gain access to the tunnels below. Once in the clear, they doff their disguises as Reed's equipment detects a strange transformation that is reverting modern day Paris into an ancient analogue. While his scanner is picking up readings they are suddenly confronted by members of the Ruined.

Elsewhere in Paris, Johnny and Ben are seeing the sights while trying to keep a low profile. However this does not stop Johnny from being recognized by a supermodel named Arlise who wants to thank Johnny for all the times he has saved the world. Seeing that Johnny is picking up another girl, Ben takes this as his cue to leave. Ben begins walking around the streets of Paris reflecting on his thoughts when suddenly he is pelted in the head with a head of lettuce. He is surprised it is a group of children who are lobbing the produce at him. After hurling insults in French and tossing tomatoes the kids take off as Ben loses his temper and gives chase. But when he rounds a corner, Ben has lost sight of the kids and wonders where they could have disappeared to. Abandoning the chase, Ben walks away in confusion, unaware of a nearby sign bearing the street's name: Rue de Yancy.

Meanwhile at the D.R.C. dig site the ground suddenly quakes and splits open, unearthing a massive and impossibly ancient tree made of stone. Also emerging from the fissure: Mister Fantastic's arm, which he stretches into the air to fire off a Fantasti-Flare. Spotting this, both Johnny and Ben take off for the site and are surprised to see a massive palace has taken shape at the dig site. There they find Reed and Sue fighting off members of the Ruined. As Ben joins the fight, he is almost ambushed by Yvette who has been transformed into the Ruined's agent, the Martyr. When Ben comments about being old fashioned when it comes to hitting women, Martyr strikes him so hard he goes crashing into the Notre Dame Cathedral.

As the battle rages on things are going according to Stem's plans. Reed overhears this and realizes that the battle is merely a distraction to allow the Ruined to complete their assimilation of the Paris. His scanners detect energy that is collecting and suddenly a massive portal opens behind Martyr. The rest of the Ruined explain that she is to be sacrificed to allow the Ruined to retake the Earth. Unwilling to sacrifice her life for their insane goals, Yvette tries to appeal to her former friends. The Fantastic Four try to seal the portal but the members of the Ruined fight them at every turn. When Reed realizes that massive glass and steel pyramid outside of the Louvre has not been affected by the transmogrification process, he orders Ben to toss it into the portal. On contact the harmonics of the pyramid disrupt the portal causing it to abruptly close almost everything back to normal. All those who were transformed into the Ruined are missing except Yvette who still wears the costume of the Martyr.

When Reed asks her to accompany him back for study, a D.R.C. employee objects, claiming that her armor and sword are property of his company. When Reed tries to protest this, Yvette responds by saying that she will go with them as she has come to realize that there needs to be balance between heritage and progress. She feels that going with D.R.C. is the best way to accomplish her goals. With the immediate danger over, the Fantastic Four decide to return home. As they depart, the people of Paris praise the Fantastic Four, chanting "Vive la Fantastique!" over and over. As the team wave to the cheering crowd below their Fantasti-Car, Johnny remarks how great it is to be back home.


Continuity Notes

  • The Mole Man was the Fantastic Four's first foe as seen in Fantastic Four #1. Many references are made to this story in this issue.
  • Rue de Yancy Street is similar to that of New York's Yancy Street in that there is a young gang that lives there. As explained in Thing #1 the Yancy Street Gang has had it in for Ben since he quit their gang as a teenager. There is no known connection between the Yancy Street gangs of New York and Paris.
  • Sue mentions how Reed has been out of practice as team leader prior to their being "reborn". She is referencing Fantastic Four #381407 when Reed was seemingly killed and taken prisoner by Hyperstorm.

See Also

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