Cover Date: Aug 2010 Price $4.99
Cover Tagline: "Annual" (how creative!)
Writer/ Artist: Joe Ahearne/ Bryan Hitch
(Editor's Note- This issue came out about a month ago, but it's "current" in the sense that it's this year's annual. Since it's an extra long issue, it's kind of a long review. Apologies to those who share my attention span, but I implore you to take it all in!)
What Happened: This issue opens in dramatic fashion with a young woman looking for the Fantastic Four at the front entrance of their headquarters, and being scared out of her wits by the deadly security measures she encounters. Reed, Sue, and Ben rush to save the woman, and when Mr. Fantastic angrily enquires about how she was able to get into the building, she tells him she was given a clearance card by Johnny Storm. Apparently the young woman, who reveals her name to be Amy Brys, needs to talk to the Human Torch about some a very serious matter. And of course Johnny, being the giant cad he is, has been avoiding Amy's calls. Reed covers for Johnny, saying he must be in the Negative Zone or something, once again proving that having the world's smartest man for your brother-in-law pays off in new and fun ways all the time!
After Amy leaves, Johnny reappears, having been shielded with invisibility the whole time by his sister Sue (man everybody's helping him avoid this chick! Now that's FAMILY). The Invisible Woman begins to chide her brother's womanizing ways, when suddenly an alarm goes off. The alarm goes off because it detects a special kind of energy. Apparently the signal the alarm detected was a "variation" of the cosmic energy that powers the FF. This "variation" is the same energy that almost killed Sue when she was pregnant, meaning someone who was just in the room is pregnant with a cosmically irradiated Fantasti-baby. Since Sue knows it's not her, the Thing had his tubes tied, and Reed and Johnny are hot blooded super studs who are too masculine for pregnancy, it must be someone who recently visited that set off the alarm. It becomes very evident why miss Brys was had such an urgent need to talk to the Human Torch- she's about to be his baby mama. Johnny flies off and finds Amy down the street, looking to discuss the situation (as well as a weekend visitation schedule I assume). But before you can say "shotgun wedding", the two are attacked by machines with robotic tentacles.
The FF break the robots, save Amy's bacon, and fly off with her in the Fantasti-Car. The team takes Amy to the Baxter Building, and place her in an examination room to do an ultra early paternity test. Since Amy was with Johnny only 2 months prior, the only safe and logical course of action is for Sue to shrink down to a molecular level and get a D.N.A sample from the fetus. Look, I'm no doctor, so I won't argue too much, but really?
As Reed and Sue chat with the mom-to-be, Johnny and Ben have a "man-boy to rock-man" discussion in the other room about fatherhood. The only thing is, Johnny swears he didn't even kiss the girl, let alone get freaky deaky (his words, not mine...ok, you got me!). This leads Reed to send Johnny and Ben back to da club where Johnny and Amy met with a chornal scanner (It's like a viewmaster that shows you what happened in the past) to look into back in time and figure out what happened...Ah, comics.
Meanwhile, in a less miraculous place, Johnny and Ben use the Viewmaster of Time to see what the Human Torch and Amy were really doing on the night in question. It turns out that both Amy and Johnny were not in the champagne room getting hot and heavy, but instead getting violently ill. Ben uses the Viewmaster of time to scan the residual images of Amy and Johnny's bodies, and finds out a darkhaired woman used some microscopic bugs to infect the two young clubgoers and then disappeared, most likely inside of Johnny. Man, that chronal viewer can do anything!
Sue, still up in Amy's business, finds out that she's is trapped by some kind of force field. It turns out the same tentacled robots from the street earlier are hanging out inside of Amy too. Sue destroys them, and the team reassembles back in the lab. Reed discovers that the microscopic bugs that affected Johnny and Amy in da club had a very specific mission- 1.) Go into Johnny, get some Man juice 2.) Leave Johnny, go into Amy's nether region 3.) Inseminate Amy with the man juice, making Johnny Jr. We find out that the whole ordeal was a great success and that Johnny is in fact going to be a daddy. Unfortunately this doesn't answer who that lady who disappeared into Johnny was. The team decides to go inside him to find out. Do you kind of get the feeling Reed just likes shrinking people and putting them inside other people?
As Sue and Ben explore the inside of Johnny, Reed remarks how there is something familiar about the design of the tentacled robots that have been plaguing them all day. As Johnny mentions that microscopic androids fit the Psycho Man's M.O. quite well, Ben chimes in over the com link and says they have company inside of Johnny. Apparently he has a visitor in his brain--
That's right, it's the Psycho Woman!
The major problem (besides the fact that there is a Johnny-spawn on its way into the world) is now that the Human Torch can't activate his flame powers, because the intense heat will melt the rest of his teammates inside of him. The Torch and Amy avoid the tentacled monsters, as Reed, Sue and Ben fight against the P-W. Unfortunately the battle inside of Johnny ends up hurting him, and the FF is in a tight spot.The P-W thinks she has the upperhand by inducing the emotions of fear, disgust, and envy in the 3 members she's up against inside the Torch, but Ben quickly overcomes these emotions and clobbers the yellow faced villain. The battle continues and ends up being so rough that it knocks Johnny out the window. As he falls, The Thing knocks out the P-W and finds the heat shield that she was using to stay inside of the Torch. The three inside of Johnny get in a force bubble and Reed tells the freefalling Johnny to flame on, but he doesn't want to incinerate his family. Johnny eventually turns his flame on, and burns the robots that we're following him, and presumably the Psycho Woman.
Johnny thinks he just burned up his whole family, and Amy consoles him. Just then, the three other members of the team enter the room and reveal they were able to get out in time. The question shifts to what to do about the baby, and the team decides to go back in time and stop the Psycho-Woman before she can even impregnate Amy, effectively giving time and space an abortion (Ben calls it a "morning before pill"). Johnny vetoes the idea, but Amy tells him it's too dangerous for him to have a child, due to all his foes. To protect the child, Amy ganks the time remote control from Johnny's hand and jumps in the chronal portal.
Of course the FF could find her somehow, but Sue says that Amy made her choice. The issue ends with the Human Torch reflecting on the fact that she could have gone anywhere in time and given birth, and that his child could be out there somewhere.
What I Thought: After finishing this issue, I felt...discombobulated. Part of the reason I took my sweet time getting this review out to my adoring public is that I had to reread the comic like 4 times to really understand the main story. I'm still not sure I fully understand the Psycho Woman's motivations. She obviously wants revenge for the FF destroying her father, but why does she need to do all the stuff with the baby? Apparently she wants Johnny's tissue to make super warriors, so shouldn't she just knock him out and experiment on him?
Wow. I'll stop here. Like Valentine's Day, I'm glad annuals only come but once a year! Until Johnny stops scammin on hotties in da club, vive la Fantastique!
God Bless America.