What If... the Fantastic Four All Had the Same Power?

Four members of the team, four possible stories. And they're all here: (a) What if the Fantastic Four All Had the Same Power as the Human Torch? (b) What if the Fantastic Four All Had the Stretching Power of Mister Fantastic? (c) What if the Fantastic Four Had All Become Monsters Like the Thing? (d) What if the Fantastic Four Shared the Powers of the Invisible Woman? Writer-artist Jim Valentino still manages to put some variety in there, often nodding to FF continuity. All the stories are short and slightly insubstantial, but still kind of fun.

What If vol.2 #11 (March 1990)
Based on: Fantastic Four #1
The true history: Hit by cosmic rays in a failed orbital flight, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm came down to Earth each with their own singular power.
Turning point: What if the cosmic rays gave each of the Fantastic Four a similar power? (d) also includes a further twist: What if SHIELD had detected and monitored Reed's launch?
Story type: Multiple choice. (d) is also an Agent of SHIELD story
Watcher's mood: Lush mascara
Altered history: (a) The FF all become Human Torches, with looks ranging from living flame (Johnny with his early FF look) to nova strength (the bright Reed Richards there).
They fight crime as before, but aren't too careful about leaving abandoned buildings on fire. They get to FF #3 (in which they fight Miracle Man) before a little girl who wandered off the reservation gets killed in one of their fires. These sad events lead to the team disbanding. Reed returns to his lab, Sue to a convent, Johnny to fearless race car driving, and Ben to the Avengers. He's the only one to stick with super-heroing. And because Johnny never finds the amnesiac Namor slumming it (FF #4), the Sub-Mariner never throws Captain America's block of ice into the ocean, and Cap is never revived by the Avengers.
(b) The FF get stretching powers, which Reed thinks is fantastic, but Sue thinks is grotesque.
In this timeline, they never become the FF because their powers are just too stupid. Reed uses his only in his lab, while Ben and Sue become a couple (see, because he defended her right there) and never use theirs again. Only Johnny makes use of it, as an entertainer - Mister Fantastic!
(c) The FF are all turned into monsters. Ben becomes a rocky Thing. Johnny a muddy Thing. Reed becomes the Brute, with little hold on his anger. And Sue becomes... the Man-Thing?
Yep, here mind is gone and she's the most grotesque monster of all. Bet she wished she had stretching powers now! They all jump into a Fantasti-car and head for Monster Isle where they won't be a threat or an eyesore to anyone.
(d) This time, it's different. Not only do the FF get different powers from one another, but Nick Fury is waiting for them at the crash site to recruit them for the all-new SHIELD. They each get good jobs and get to go on missions, including those they dealt with in our continuity, such as stopping Doctor Doom (FF #5). Sue can turn invisible, Reed can turn others invisible, Johnny can become intangible (whoops, where'd that come from?) and Ben can throw up forcefields.
They still can't get no respect from Fury though...
Books canceled as a result: Fantastic Four is canceled in all but timeline (d), but even then, might not be called FF. SHIELD's Fantastic Four? Maybe. In my opinion, timeline (c) would also have never published any Man-Thing comics, Giant-Sized or otherwise. As for Sub-Mariner and Captain America comics, it looks like they would have been pulled from all but timeline (d), though perhaps even from that one.
These things happen: In Power Pack, maybe. And even there, it was power shuffling, not homogeneity. The closest to these events I can come up with is when the second Ms. Marvel got turned into a she-Thing (muddy model). There are a lot of little nods to continuity as well, such as the red FF costume which the Human Torch wore in the 70s here worn by the Fiery Four, and using the Brute, which the Reed of Reverse-Earth turned into. Ben Grimm eventually made the Avengers roster on the West Coast team, which also featured a Human Torch (the original) for a while.

Next week: What if the X-Men Had Stayed in Asgard?
My guess: Thor beds Storm on the first night.



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