The Human Torch just humiliated his worst enemy, and he may have created the Fantastic Four’s next biggest problem in the process.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Fantastic Four #41, available now from Marvel.
The cosmos has long been home to some of Marvel’s most terrifying threats, and the Reckoning has quickly become the worst of them all. In the chaos that followed Reckoning’s return, a host of other cosmic villains have taken the opportunity to launch their own vicious campaigns. Unsurprisingly, the last of them to take advantage of the situation is none other than Annihilus. What’s certainly shocking, however, are Johnny Storm’s efforts to ensure that the Fantastic Four’s longtime foe won’t pose a threat anytime soon.
The planet Spyre has been attacked by a wave of annihilation in the pages of The Fantastic Four #41, by Dan Slott, Rachael Stott, Erick Arciniega and Joe Caramagna of VC. Luckily, Johnny Storm has a very personal connection to this world, and he immediately makes the long journey from Earth. Upon arrival, Johnny spots his former soul mate Sky under direct attack from Annihilus himself, sending the Human Torch into an unusually hot rage. Not only does the Blazing Hero turn the tide of the Annihilation Wave single-handedly, he does so by stripping Annihilus of his greatest asset. It’s a stunning display of Johnny’s power and could prove to be a moment that alters the course of everything to come in the near future. Unfortunately, humiliating his family’s greatest enemy so badly also may have created the Fantastic Four’s next biggest problem once the dust settles.
First introduced in 1968 The Fantastic Four #6 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Annihilus insect evolved from spores of alien life in the Negative Zone, where it quickly accumulated both knowledge and power in an effort to protect itself from any threat. In addition to preemptively destroying or conquering any worlds that could in any way harm him, Annihilus has long employed the use of the Cosmic Control Rod. This ancient artifact not only imbued Annihilus with the means to control cosmic energy, but it also allowed him to extend what would otherwise be an extremely short lifespan. Now that the Human Torch has taken that from him, it’s only a matter of time before Annihilus either succumbs to his insectoid nature or robs him of his former glory.
Considering the stakes when they last met, not to mention the fact that Annihilus had him killed and resurrected multiple times in the Negative Zone, it’s no wonder Johnny Storm has gone as far as he has. made. Yet taking the Cosmic Control Rod from Annihilus and giving it to the heroes of Spyre only prepared them for another attack down the line, if not worse. The Cosmic Control Rod may no longer be within Annihilus’ grasp, but those exposed to it long enough have been known to be reborn through it after they disappear. Even if Annihilus stands no chance of revenge in this lifetime, his current condition could result in him being resurrected under Spyre’s nose before very long, putting him in a prime position to regain control of the power that was formerly his and launch. another invasion from within.
On the other hand, it would all hinge on things going spectacularly for Annihilus under incredibly bad circumstances. It would also force Marvel’s many cosmic heroes to make a host of mistakes along the way. If nothing else, Annihilus is certainly a tough enough foe to desperately try to play power before his time runs out. If successful, the Marvel Universe could be looking at the worst annihilation event yet once the Reckoning is defeated. That is, assuming Reed Richards and his allies can stop it before reality hits because they know it’s completely destroyed.
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