Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #5

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Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #5 Empty Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #5

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:11 pm

Fantastic Four #5
"For Your Sins You Will Die & Go to Hell or Ernest!"
By Paul E. Schultz

"Sheriff! Sheriff!" Deputy Donaldson burst into the office from outside, nearly taking the old door off of it's hinges. He was by no means a brawny man, quiet the opposite actually. It was his reckless enthusiasm that sometimes made him a danger to himself and others around him. This was one of those times.

Sheriff Andrews looked up from is copy of American Rifleman as his brother-in-law burst into the office. "What is it, Eddy?"

"You're not gonna believe this, Matthew," said the deputy, "but the Fantastic Four just landed over at Floyd's Field!"

The sheriff tossed aside his magazine and stood abruptly, grabbing his hat from the desk. "Well, I was beginning to wonder if they was ever gonna show."


"I'll explain in the car, Eddy. Come on."


"Can I help you, son?"

Rob Takiguchi looked out at the ocean of unfamiliar faces all craning their necks to watch him enter the class room. Even the professor did not look familiar. The young exchange student wondered if he had walked into the wrong room yet again.

"Uh," Rob wondered aloud, not sure what to say. He looked down briefly to make sure he was even dressed, feeling completely naked. Maybe he was having one of those dreams. No such luck. He was fully clothed.

"I think I got the wrong room," said Rob, "again."

The professor chuckled. "Apparently so. Are you new here, son?"

"That's the thing," said Rob, thinking aloud. "I've been going here to ESU all semester, but I can't seem to find my class today."


Floyd's Field was a strip of dust on the outskirts of Ernest, a small town on the southern end of Ohio that was barely a dot on any road map. With a population of just over twelve hundred, no one ever came to Ernest, they simply passed through it or stopped and asked for directions. There was a small hanger on one end of the dust strip that held a single engine crop duster owned by Monte Floyd. Sheriff Andrews pulled off the road and onto the airstrip, spotting the unusual aircraft standing before the hanger. Two equally unusual figures milled about the strange craft, noted the sheriff, apparently engaged in conversation with the portly Monte.

"Look at that!" gasped the deputy, pointing. "The Fantasticar! You know, I once saw it do a fly over at the Fourth of July parade when I was in New York City?"

"When did you ever leave Ernest, Eddy?"

"About ten years ago," said the deputy defensively. "I was visiting that girl I met online, remember?"

"Oh, yeah. I'm trying to forget," said the sheriff. "Looks like there's only two of 'em, though."

"Well, one of 'em can turn all invisible and one can fly, remember? Maybe he just ain't got here yet."

The sheriff made a non-commital noise and sidled the squad car up near the Fantasticar, catching the attention of Monte Floyd, Mister Fantastic and Ben Grimm.

"Jesus, he's a big son-of-a-gun, ain't he, Sheriff?"

"Quiet, Eddy. Bad enough Monte's probably filling their heads with his usual conspiracy mumbo-jumbo. He still thinks the government was behind Stark Tower. Just let me do all the talking."

"Roger that."

Ernest Ohio's entire police force climbed out of the squad car and approached the new arrivals. Sheriff Andrews made the introductions and everyone shook hands, Deputy Donaldson hesitating a moment to shake the massive, three-fingered hand of the Thing.

"Welcome to Ernest," said Andrews at length to Reed Richards.

"Where's the rest of you?"


Mister Fantastic laughed. "It's okay, Sheriff. We get that a lot when we're not all together. Johnny's minding the store as it were and Susan is currently on the moon."

"The moon?" gasped Monte Floyd, nearly dropping his cell phone. He had pulled it out a moment earlier in hopes of getting his picture taken with them. "Why, what's she doing on the moon?"

"Picking up our children," Reed Richards said matter-of-factly.


"What's the matter, Wilbur Wright?" asked Ben Grimm, his voice as course as two boulders grinding together, "I suppose you don't send your kids to daycare on the moon?"

Monte Floyd was speechless, not sure if he had heard Grimm correctly.

"Sheriff," said Richards, "I was supposed to meet an old colleague of mine here. A Professor Gladstein. Do you know where he might be?"

"You mean old Ben Gladstein?" asked the deputy. "He ain't left his place in two years. He's turned into a regular Howard Hughes."


"Nope," said the heavyset woman in cats eye glasses as she typed away at the computer upon her counter. "No Takiguchi on record."

"That's impossible," gasped Rob Takiguchi, leaning over the counter to see for himself, turning the monitor slightly.

"Watch your hands, kid," snapped the woman. "I'll call security."

"I'm sorry," said Rob. "I'm just a bit confused. I was here just two days ago. I've been going here all semester. Something is wrong."

"And I'm telling you there is no Rob Takiguchi on record. There's a Debora Takamoto, but no Rob Takiguchi. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm very busy."

"Yes, of course," Rob said humbly, nodding. He left the bustling administration office, not sure where to go next..

He weaved his way through the crowded corridor, passing a young professor standing with a handful of students and a silver-haired, spectacled janitor leaning on his mob and bucket. The young professor stopped in mid-sentence as Rob brushed against him. He watched curiously as the young Japanese man faded into the crowd.

"You okay, Professor Parker?" asked the Janitor.

"Yeah," lied Peter Parker, distractedly. The truth was his trusty "Spider Sense" was working overtime. The trouble was he was not sure why.


Ben Grimm sat in the back of Monte Floyd's rusted out pick-up truck, his back to the window of the cab, watching the mesmerized expressions of the deputy and the Floyd himself driving close behind in the squad car. Sheriff Andrews drove the truck down the bumpy patch of Ernest back road with Reed Richards riding shotgun.

"What a revoltin' development," Grimm grumbled, glancing over his shoulder to look at Reed. "If Johnny were here, I'd never hear the end of this. You wanna explain to me again why we're not in New York helpin' the Avengers clean up Stark Tower or trackin' transdimensional temporal whatchakallits?"

"Sorry for the ride," said the sheriff. "I was just afraid you'd play havoc on my cruiser's suspension, Mr. Grimm. Lucky for us, Monte let us borrow his truck."

"Yeah, lucky me."

"Because," said Reed, "if Professor Gladstein's theories are correct, we could all be facing a threat more terrible and destructive than even the Masters of Evil."

"Come again?" asked the sheriff.


"Can I help you?" asked the brown-haired boy not much older than twelve on the other side of the heavy, oaken door.

"Hey, there, Morgan, is the professor in?" asked Sheriff Andrews.

Ben Grimm glanced about from his spot at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to the porch. "What is it with these professor-types and their obsession with spooky real estate?"

"Quiet, Ben," said Reed.

"He's home," said the boy. "He's always home. Just a moment."

The door shut abruptly. The sheriff glanced over to Reed Richards and said, "Morgan Hardy. The professor's ward. Kind of a caustic little cuss, ain't he?"

"You have no idea," said Richards, leaving the sheriff perplexed and unable to respond as the door opened again.

"Come in," said the boy.

"Well, this is where we part ways," said the sheriff. "If you need anything, you can reach me in town."

"Very well, Sheriff," agreed Richards as he and Ben stepped inside the dark foyer.

The boy closed the door behind them as a sudden voice came from the entrance to the drawing room. "Reed Richards! My, it has been a long time!" The voice belonged to Professor Gladstein, an aged, balding man in a wheel chair.

The two men shook and Reed told Ben, "Professor Gladstein was one of my professors back at ESU."

"Thank you, Morgan," said the professor. "Did you finish your studies?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then you may run along."

"Thought I knew all your instructors by now, high-pockets." Ben Grimm shook the old man's hand, watching curiously as the boy darted up the foyer's flight of squeaky stairs. "What's this all about anyway?"

The professor motioned his guests to follow him back into the drawing room, saying, "I must say, I'm a little disappointed that Miss Van Dyne isn't with you, Reed."

"Janet Van Dyne? The Wasp? Reed? You got some 'splainin' to do..."

"I'll explain in a moment, Ben. It's part of why we're here."

"Indeed," added the professor, handing Reed a sheaf of papers from off of the coffee table. Much to Ben's dismay, Reed glanced carefully over the notes, the grandfather clock slowly, agonizingly ticking out the long moments.

"Are you sure of this, Professor?" asked Reed at last.


"Somebody wanna fill me in?"

"Put simply, Ben, if Professor Gladstein's calculations are correct, in the next few days, that young boy, Morgan Hardy, could possibly destroy the world."

"I knew Johnny shoulda came with you on this one, Stretcho."


"Are you Johnny Storm?" asked Rob Takiguchi.

"Who else would I be, pal?" asked Storm, juggling small, flickering balls of fire. "But, the real question is, who are you?"

The two young men stood in the expansive waiting room that lead to the upper levels of the Baxter Building, home and headquarters of the Fantastic Four.

"I don't know how you got this far, but I figure your determination alone is worth my time."

"You...don't know me?" asked Rob, his tone shaking. "You are my last hope, Johnny Storm! I am beginning to think I am going mad. You must know me! I have spent the afternoon being told I do not exist! You simply must know me!"

"Now, hold on, George Bailey," said Johnny, snapping his fingers, making his fireballs suddenly vanish. "Why should I know you?"

"I should hope I am not so easily forgotten," said Rob. "Not after the Fantastic Four and the Avengers helped my grandfather and myself rid New York City of Godzilla a few years ago!"
Paul E. Schultz
Paul E. Schultz

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Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #5 Empty Daaaaaamn yoooouuuu!

Post  Nik Havert on Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:42 am

You beat me to Godzilla.

Granted, I had no ideas for Godzilla yet, but I thought I might get around to him sooner or later. I actually thought your first giant monster would be Devil Dinosaur.

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Fantastic Four, The World's Greatest Online Fan-Fiction Comic Magazine #5 Empty Godzilla!!

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:01 pm

I've actually been sneaking Godzlilla foreshadowing in my issues for awhile now, Nik. Thanks for noticing and sorry. I'd actually considered a Devil Dinosaur & Moon Boy comic, but I can't resist team books.
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