by Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Back when the Future Foundation rode off into the sunset at the end of Secret Wars, ready to recreate and explore the multiverse, many fans (myself included) saw it as the perfect farewell to the characters. This leaves Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli with the unenviable task of bringing this “ending” to an end, of justifying more adventures for characters who had already received their happily ever after. Interestingly, Slott and Pichelli do so by demonizing the very idea of “endings,” by making “the end” the very villain that brings the Fantastic Four back together.
Slott and Pichelli devote the first third or so of Fantastic Four 2 to exploring the Foundation’s life post-Secret Wars, and it’s everything readers could have imagined it to be. Their adventures drive home that this was, indeed, the perfect retirement for the Richards family.
The problem, of course, is that “happily ever after” really only exists in stories, as another way of saying “the end.” In real life, the stories and struggles of our lives continue on until our death, and the fact that the Richards family weren’t appearing in stories for close to three years was indeed a form of death for them.
Or, at least, that’s what Slott and Pichelli propose by introducing “The Griever at the End of All Things.”
The Griever is quite literally endings incarnate, and all she brings is death and destruction. Specifically, she destroys the universes Franklin has been creating, the stories he’s been spinning, because the only way for a story to truly die is for it to end, to no longer exist.
Even the visuals of Griever chasing the Future Foundation drive this point home.
As Griver pursues the Foundation, they move across the page from left-to-right. Since this is the direction we read in, that American comics progress in, she’s essentially chasing them further and further towards the end of the issue, where she’ll win.
Fortunately, the Future Foundation exists in one of the only mediums where stories needn’t end. Sure, series are rebooted, creative teams come and go, storylines stop and start, but in comics, icons like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and yes, the Fantastic Four, can live forever, their stories continuing on in perpetuity. The threat of the Griever is one they’ll never truly be in danger of as long as fans continue to read their stories, as long as creators continue to tell their stories, as long as Marvel continues to publish them. Entropy, destruction, and death can only be combatted by “more” — more life, more adventures, more stories. In that sense, by reuniting the Fantastic Four, Slott and Pichelli are rescuing them from an untimely demise by giving them the gift of more life.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?