Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #2

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Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #2

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:39 am

Fantastic Four #2
"Child's Play, Part Two"
By Paul E. Schultz

Detective Turner regarded the middle-aged man standing across the hospital bed from him: Slightly overweight, hair a little thin on top, probably played football in high school, but that was a lifetime ago by the looks of him now. The man held to the rail of the bed as if he might faint or drift out on some violent, unseen tide as he stared down at the pretty, young redhead sleeping soundly.

"They found her a few days ago in Central Park." Detective Turner's voice cracked the heavy silence of the room. "Some joggers, actually. She was unconscious. The doctor's seem to think she's fine, just in some sort of deep sleep. Not a coma, mind you, just a...deep sleep."

The man said nothing, not even a nod.

"Mr. Taylor?" asked Detective Turner.

The man seemed to snap back from somewhere and looked up. "Y--yeah?"

"Are you alright, Mr. Taylor?"

"Please, call me Frank. Is it...is she...is it really her?"

"That's the thing," said the detective, pulling the driver's license from his jacket pocket. "According to this it's her, but..."

"But what?"

"Mr. Taylor...Frank...your wife...Helen Taylor has been missing for nearly twenty years."

Frank Taylor's expression and tone turned to the defensive as he replied, "You don't think I know that? You don't think I relive that day everyday of my life? I almost died that day myself! When I woke up in this same hospital with three gunshot wounds, they told me she was nowhere to be found. They dredged the river for days and...nothing. They told me the current could've taken her too far out to ever find her again, that the Kingpin's guys knew what they were doing. I never dreamed I'd see her again..."

"That's just it, Frank," said Turner. "If this is your wife, according to the doctors, she hasn't aged a day in twenty years!"

"I wear contacts, Detective. But I'm not blind."

"That's not all," said Turner.

Frank Taylor looked his question at the detective. Turner picked the paper bag off of the nightstand table and handed it to Taylor. Hesitant at first, Frank opened the bag, reaching in. His hand froze at the feel of a cool metal dome. He pulled it out.

"What the?" Frank held up the golden helmet. Lights overhead played along its smooth, metallic surface, glistening across the crimson star-like shape mounted between the helmet's twin eye slits. "Is that--?"

"It is," said Detective Taylor. "She was wearing that and the blue and gold get-up that's still in the bag when they found her."

(4)

Captain America rubbed thoughtfully a his lantern-like chin, taking in the four strangers with cautious, calculating eyes. Dressed in their matching blue uniforms, the quartet were certainly the most conservatively-garbed individuals in the conference room. In the few years since he had been found by Giant Man and the others, the "super soldier" had seen and heard a lot of things that, in his day, would have passed for pure fanciful science fiction, but this foursome's story seemed even too much to be believed.

The star-spangled Captain glanced to the man in the wheel chair and asked, "What do you think, Professor?"

"My mutant brain," replied Professor Xavier, "has detected that they believe their words."

"That's because we're telling you like it is!" the Human Torch snapped. "We've somehow been teleported from our time to...to...what year is this, anyway?"

"Sixty-six," said the vizored Cyclops sternly.

"Hush, Johnny!" scolded his sister. "Your temper isn't helping."

"Come on, sis, look at them!" replied Johnny Storm, motioning towards the half dozen costumed figures also gathered in the conference hall. "They look more like cosplayers than the real deal."

"Anytime you wanna go a few rounds in the gym, junior, just say the word!"

"At ease, Hawkeye," warned Captain America.

"The Professor's right," said Jean Grey. "I may not be the telepath he is, but even I sense they believe they're telling the truth."

"That's because it is the truth, sister," replied Ben Grimm. "And I hate to agree with the runt, but he's right. Even the way they talk sounds like something out of a...comic book, Reed."

"What?" growled Hawkeye. "Listen here, Fred Flinstone--"

"Everyone, please!" called Reed Richards. "Let's all just calm down and try to get to the bottom of this."

"Agreed," added Captain America. "We've have our hands full battling the likes of Mole Man and the Mandarin to start fighting with each other."

From behind his metal mask, Tony Stark cleared his throat and said, "Ever since Doctor Doom launched a full-scale invasion against the Peace Building about a year ago, we've had our work cut out for us fighting every Tom, Dick and Titanium Man to come along."

"Again with the corny dialogue," muttered Johnny.

Ben chuckled.

"And that's another thing," said Reed. "What you call this Peace Building--this very building--we have known to be the Baxter Building and our home, so you'll pardon Johnny's hostility."

"Baxter Building?" muttered Hawkeye, heading for the door. "Never heard of it. This whole thing's giving me a headache. If you old-timers need me, 'Tasha and me got tickets to Ed Sullivan."

"Reed," began Susan, "you don't suspect we're in some alternate reality, do you?"

"Alternate what?" asked Captain America.

"Not again," groaned Ben Grimm.

"I suspected as much at first, darling," said Reed. "I even suspected we had somehow traveled back in time, but something just doesn't seem right this time."

"This time?" asked Iron Man. "You act as if you've done this before."

"At least once a week," said Ben, shrugging. "It's par for the course for the Fantastic Four. Ain't ya heard?"

"Fantastic who?" muttered Iron Man.

"I'll need to review all the facts before I can make any conclusions," added Reed.

"I think it would be best if you remained in the Peace Building in the meantime," ordered Captain America. "We only just recently beat back the hordes of the Sub-Mariner again. The city is still reeling from the attack and the last thing we need is more chaos in the streets."

"Agreed," said Reed.

(4)

"About a year ago," explained Captain America, "Doctor Doom rallied an army of our most fearsome foes and attacked this very building on the day all of the world's leaders had gathered for a peace summit. The others and myself managed to defeat them all, driving them back, but when Sub-Mariner approached us, we naturally assumed he was an ally. After all, Prince Namor had fought alongside the Human Torch and myself during The War. But it was Namor who almost proved our undoing, secretly planting a device in the basement of the Peace Building with which Doctor Doom used to lift the entire building off the ground. Namor came to his senses and was able to reverse the device's effect, lowering us back down to Earth. Doom was lost in space and has never been brought to justice for his crimes. Namor departed shortly after and, only a few weeks ago, attacked New York. Since then, Professor Xavier and his X-Men and we Avengers have made the Peace Building our permanent headquarters. I fear whatever Namor's feelings towards us surface people are, they are sadly misplaced. "

"That sounds like ol' pointy ears all right," retorted Ben. "As flip as he is fancy. And by 'Human Torch,' you mean...?"

The two men sat in a small dining area, sipping coffee, Ben's metal chair straining beneath his weight. The strangeness of the whole situation hung in the air between them like cigarette smoke.

"Professor Horton's android," said Captain America. "Not your hot-headed youngster. The Human Torch I knew was as fine as any red-blooded American I've ever known."

"Well, don't tell the kid this, but he's not all bad either."

"Too late," announced Johnny Storm entering the room suddenly. "You know you love me, big, orange and ugly."

"What is it, lad?" asked Captain America, standing.

"Reed," said Johnny. "He thinks he's figured things out."

"It's about time!" cheered Ben, pulling himself up, his chair squeaking its gratitude. "Took him about four hours! The old guy's slippin'."

The unlikely trio rushed to a small drawing room two flights up. Susan stood by the plate glass windows, taking in the city's view. Reed stood by her, pouring over a clipboard of notes. Iron Man and Professor Xavier rounded out the quartet.

"Okay, high pockets," said Ben, "what's the story? How soon can you get us back home?"

"I'm not sure I can, old friend," replied Reed scratching his head. "At least not anytime soon. I have to determine where we are exactly."

"1966," said Johnny, "like Cyclops said."

"Not exactly," said Reed, drawing puzzled glances all around.

"Sure it is," said Captain America, holding up a newspaper that was lying on the coffee table. "Right here--"

"Given all the evidence presented, Captain, I'm sure you all believe it is the year 1966, but there are certain anomalies that would have me believe different. The presence of all of you here is my primary concern. It wasn't until roughly two decades ago, our time, that Captain America was rediscovered frozen in ice since the end of World War Two. In fact, all of you are as displaced in time as we four."

"So, you're saying we're not even supposed to exist?" asked Iron Man.

"It's more than that," assured Reed. "I've checked every record I could and there's no evidence that any of us four are even born yet, which poses another problem. All of us, except Johnny, were born prior to 1966. If we're currently in 1966, then where are we? I propose that we are in some sort of time-warped pocket dimension and the only way the four of us will be able to return 'home' is by finding out exactly where 'here' is."

"A pocket dimension?" asked Captain America. "What on Earth is a--"

"Look out!" shrieked Susan, reeling back from the window as it exploded in a ball of fire and showering glass, her invisible force field shielding the others and herself from the deadly shrapnel.

In a blur of liquid motion, Reed was at his wife's side, helping her to her feet, arms wrapped around her. "Susan? Are you--?"

"I'm fine, Reed!" she tried to assure him, her tone saying different as she pointed towards the shattered window. "Look!"

By this time, Captain America was at the jagged opening, shield held up in defense mode.

Ben Grimm helped Professor Xavier back into his overturned wheel chair.

Supported by twin columns of rocket propulsion emanating from the soles of his metallic boots, the armored figure stood upon the air outside the shattered window, arms folded regally across his chest. His dark emerald hooded cloak rippled and wafted on the breeze. Like two fiery coals, his eyes burned from behind his hideous metal mask.

"Doom!" shouted Captain America.

"Impossible!" gasped Professor Xavier. "My mutant mind should have detected him! He--"

"Your feeble mind cannot possibly comprehend the places I have been or the things I have seen, Xavier!" thundered Doctor Doom as he drifted into the decimated room. "And you vaunted mental abilities are as nothing to me now!"

"What do you want, Doom?"

"What I have always wanted, Captain. Nothing less than the world! But, tell me, who are your new playmates?"

To be continued...
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Paul E. Schultz

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Taylor vs. Turner

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:51 pm

Think i got my names a little switched around in the first scene. Oops! Guess next time I won't have my characters have similar names.
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Re: Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #2

Post  Craig DeBoard on Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:06 am

This is quickly becoming my favorite title of all of the stories we're doing. You've nailed down the personalities of each of the characters perfectly and I would LOVE to see you write Captain America sometime!
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Re: Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #2

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:24 am

I've loved the FF ever since I was a sprout, so their personalities aren't a problem. Their dialogue is a challenge, though. Trying to keep it fresh and traditional is like babysitting two ADD kids. I recently found some old, old OLD mini comics I made when I was probably ten of the FF where I put myself and three friends as Reed, Ben, Johnny & Sue. I was the super genius, of course. I showed them to The Toad and he about died laughing.
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Love the campiness!

Post  AndyWright on Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:12 pm

I love clashing worlds stories, and this one is great! Especially since it's a world clashing with itself...sort of. I dunno, except that it's awesome, especially with how your colorful, full-bodied descriptions enhance the larger-than-life campiness of 60's comics.
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Re: Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #2

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:03 am

Thanks! I do what i can to capture the image I'm trying to convey and hope it doesn't come across cliche or unreadable.
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Re: Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #2

Post  AndyWright on Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:37 am

Oh no, it was super easy to follow. And it was just the right amount of campiness too. The characters were very consistent and authentic in their cheesiness, if that makes sense...

Also...Xavier saying "my mutant brain!" over and over was pretty hilarious.
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Re Fantastic Four 2#

Post  Eric Nyman on Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:01 pm

Paul this is totally awesome. I love the camp dialogue with Professor x and Cap matched with the present day Johnny and Ben. Its like reading Stan Lee and John Byrne dialogue in the same story. Great job

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Re: Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #2

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