Who's in this issue?
The first Age of Apocalypse storyline that occurred was a smash hit. Although it did involve the temporary "renaming" of all the major X-titles for about four issues, the fact that all of them had 4-issues, each, to develop a decent storyline was a huge factor in why it succeeded. Based on what I'm seeing so far, this second "Age of Apocalypse" storyline might not be anywhere near as concrete as the first one because this new AOA appears to be like any other crossovers: a story which takes up only one or two issues of a title, but crosses over into other issues to get the complete story. Now, the idea of having the Hulk, Ghost Rider, Spiderman, and Wolverine as the new members of the Fantastic Four is pretty neat, but as of right now, I don't see any development beyond this point if the next issue is going to be featuring a new artist, writer, etc. for the title, and focuses in on Wolverine losing his healing factor.
In general, I think it's a slightly above-average title ... "slightly above-average" because of the idea of having Wolverine as part of the Fantastic Four. But, it doesn't appear that this concept is going to be developed any further ... at least not on this particular title. Artwork is average, though typical of what you usually see during those "transisition" one-timer issues between one story arc and another one. Unless you're collecting the series or want every chapter to this current "Age of Apocalypse" storyline, I'd say it's really up to you whether you think this issue is worth it or not.
(Sidenote: Anyone else getting extremely sick of the middle insert in almost all Marvel comics? That is, those 8-pg. "bonus insert" of an ongoing Spider-Man story? I can understand if you're trying to get non-Spiderman readers interested in the title by advertising, but geesh, you're showing the same storyline over and over again for the last few months, and personally, I'm getting very sick of it! (I would "guess-timate" that the same "bonus insert" has been shown for the last 2-3 months!) I, for one, have skipped the bonus insert section, and I don't plan on reading it any time soon because for me, this section interferes with the book itself since it's been placed right in the middle as a story arc is being told. The only thing that's working for me in the issue? The "Bullpen Bits" by Chris Giarrusso. They change every month, they're nice and compact, and the best thing is: they're actually funny and enjoyable to read! Now if they could just change the story on the "bonus insert" every month, (or maybe even get rid of it ...) maybe more people will start paying some attention to it, but this insert thing is getting old and bothersome ...)
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"Same as it Never Was"
IN THIS ISSUE:
In "the near future", when the Age of Apocalypse occurs, Blastaar and nnihilus attacks the Fantastic Four (which is comprised of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Ghost Rider in the age of Apocalypse) in their headquarter. They had been banished in a portal to the negative zone until the Fantastic Four had wanted to put Bruce Banner's wife, the Harpy, into the Negative Zone. (The Harpy was a threat to the Fantastic Four; Gamma poisoning had transformed her from Bruce Banner's wife into the Harpy). The Hulk is hit with a blast by Blastaar, and turns into the mindless Hulk, who socks Blastaar back through the portal. The Harpy, who had momentarily escaped, is captured by Spider-Man. The mindless Hulk tries to attack Logan because the mindless Hulk remembered how Wolverine had hurt him in the past. Spider-Man hits Hulk with a blast from a Gamma Gun to revert the mindless Hulk back into Bruce Banner. Wolverine battles Annihilus in front of the portal until Spider-Man tosses the Harpy into Annihilus and both falls through the portal. Ghost Rider shuts the portal, locking the three enemies in the negative zone.
The four team members, along with Spider-Man's wife, Mary Jane, and their young son assests the damage. Bruce Banner passes out after changing back to his human form. The four mention how on earth they agreed to replace the original Fantastic Four after the original members sacrificed themselves "...from the threat of the high lord..." After their chat, Bruce Banner and Peter Parker takes off to do some scientific experiments, Logan takes off to a diner, and Ghost Rider takes off on his own.
Ghost Rider takes off on his own, and thinks to himself whether they (the new FF) were indeed doing their best to help a world which was gradually decaying under the age of Apocalypse. He starts having doubts about himself and how he felt like an outsider in the current FF. As he continues his train of thought, his aircraft is taken down by an energy blast.
Meanwhile, Logan is at a diner talking to Stacey, a waitress there and also Logan's love interest. Logan talks to her about feeling out of place with the FF, and how it was his idea to join up with them after he ran out on the X-Men. Looking outside, Stacey sees the "Fantasti-flare", indicating that the members of the FF is needed.
Back at the Fantasitic Four headquarter, Logan is told by Bruce that the president, President Kelly, had been assassinated by Dr. Doom, even though it was believed that Dr. Doom was already dead. Just then, the three are attacked by Doombots. Bruce Banner transforms into the Grey Hulk, and the three battles it out against the Doombots. (Note: Bruce Banner doesn't have any control over which incarnation of the Hulk he transforms into during this time period). The three easily defeats the Doombots. Banner decides that the team should head to Washington D.C. to confront Dr. Doom.
While on their aircraft, Logan mentions how Doom had teamed up with some of Earth's heroes to defeat X-Man, who had defeated Apocalypse and become the new "high lord". It was during this conflict when the original FF, most of the Avengers, and most of the X-Men were also killed. As they approached Washington, their ship is targeted and blown out of the sky. The three survives the fall, only to find themselves facing off against more Doombots. They manage to fight off the Doombots and gain entrance into the White House, where they discover Ghost Rider had been captured, along with Dr. Doom. Wolverine frees Ghost Rider, who was booby-trapped with a timing device. The four members of the Fantastic Four battles off Dr. Doom, while the Hulk launches the bomb out into orbit. Logan gives chase and catches Dr. Doom, only to discover that underneath, it wasn't Dr. Doom, but rather a robot. Arnim Zola, the self-proclaimed Bio-Fanatic, appears, and tells them how he had cloned Dr. Doom, and with Doom as his public face, he could make his move to take over the world. Spider-Man senses that they were in danger, and Arnim Zola tells them that Wolverine, by unmasking the Dr. Doom clone, had set off a self-destruct mechanism within its armor. Wolverine blinds Arnim Zola by damaging his armor, and the four members of the Fantastic Four makes a quick getaway before the self-destruct mechanism explodes.
Once safely away, they see that Graydon Creed was being sworn in as the new president, which left the four members of the Fantastic Four wondering what was going to happen next.