FANTASTIC FOUR #40-41 (2001)

After reestablishing The Baxter Building, Pacheco announces the triumphant return of the 4 back to their rightful place.  It’s so cool to see a writer take back a comic after a horrible multi-year period that pushed the title down from a top seller to a bottom feeder.

with the mayor

Meanwhile, the bottom feeders in question–The Gideon Trust–have recasat themselves as The Nega Exploreres, and journey into the Negative Zone. Reed finds out, and he goes in to stop them–with Thing and Invisible Woman.

The Nega Explorers end up trapping the team in the Zone, and Johnny–who didn’t go with them–has to find them and save them. But first he thinks they’re dead and cries to his lover, Spider-Man.

But soon after, he finds out they’re stuck in the Negative Zone. His realization that his family is trapped–and that he, the least “science-y” of the team–has to rescue them pays wonderful tribute to John Byrne…


Yes, this was a great splash page….


(Fantastic Four #251)

While in the Zone, the team meets a guy called Hellscout from the Negative Zone “Pilgrims.”

He returns to Earth with them and stays for a few issues.

At the end of this part of the story, Gideon Trust’s gang returns to Earth with materials stolen from the Negative Zone, but they land in the ocean and kill a bunch of fish.

So now Namor is pissed at them. That’ll be the next story.

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