Story Mike Carey
Cover & Pencils Marshall Rogers
Inks Jonathan Glapion & Marshall Rogers
Colors Soto Color
Letters Artmonkey’s Dave Lanphear & Virtual Calligraphy’s Chris Eliopoulos and Rus Wooton
Cover Dated February 2006
What If the Fantastic Four were Cosmonauts?
We are kicking Fantastic Four Month off with this issue!
So in 2006, Marvel tested out an idea of Uatu the Watcher not being the host of What Ifs. The Watcher here is Hector Espejo, who is a super hacker. He found an alternate time line. So there were six oneshots that were released, with the concept of seeing how different this one Alternate Timeline was, instead of looking at six different timelines. This is the only one I read so I am not sure if all of them actually line up or not. They had the foresight of making sure each one took place in a different decade, so they don’t have to really connect, just not conflict with each other.
The six titles / eras are :
Feudal Japan’s Devil Who Dares (get it?)
Civil War’s Captain America (actual civil war)
WWII Namor (so not much different there)
Post-War Fantastic Four (this comic)
Thor being the Herald of Galactus, not sure where that one takes place, but it seems like it is a space opera, so it probably just ends with this timeline ceasing to exist.
The actual concept starts on the third page and naturally it has the Russian foursome’s space ship being bombarded with cosmic rays.
The Fantastic Four here are – Reed Richards, Natasha Romanova, Illyana Rasputin and Piotr Rasputin – not a bad line up!
I remember when the 2006 What Ifs were announced and how excited I was to not only have more What Ifs in our lives but that Marvel had the great idea to put their most famous three Russians into the same comic! Plus, keep Reed Richards and you have a decent Fantastic Four!
Illyana is a Corporal. Natasha is ex-KGB and a Major.
Lieutenant Von Doom,who only appears on these first pages, informs the Premier that the four cosmonauts not only survived but have been changed. Latveria is a member of the Soviet Union.
Doom is going to name them, The Ultimate Federalist Freedom Fighters (UFFF).
Piotr Rasputin is Colossus – the Thing of the team.
Iliana has the power of camouflage – the Invisible Woman of the team.
Rudion Richards can open up discontinuities in his own body – the . . . Reed Richards of the team? I like how Carey found an interesting way to do his power. His limbs still ‘stretch’ distances but instead of it actually doing that, his limbs ‘blast off’ from his body, so it is the same effect, essentially.
Natasha is a lady Electro, called the Widow Maker (get it?) – the Human Torch of the team. A bet of a stretch but it works.
I like them addressing the Rasputin / Romanoff real world connection.
Rud, what a name!, has to explain how he has an American last name. His father got with a local peasant girl and left.
I like that smirk Iliana makes when she is named the team’s KB Liaison, she is so proud of the honor.
Nice homage panel to the Fantastic Four first issue. Not sure if the one on the right is an homage.
Iliana is the Bucky Barnes of the team, but before he was Winter Soldier.
Rud starts not liking their new missions as they seem to be attacking regular people, unarmed people.
We start seeing that Colossus is slowly losing his mind and becoming the big dummy we know him to be.
Ilana and Natasha have no qualms about following orders, no matter what they are. They are good KGB Agents.
The UFFF are officially under the KGB umbrella, due to their own field commander being dead.
Rud mistakenly believes since the guy who gave them orders is dead, they should report back to base. Iliana wastes no time in letting him know how wrong he is. Boy, do I wish Magik and Reed Richards could get this much screen time together!
Natasha has found Rud’s father, who Rud hasn’t spoken to or written to since sending a letter stating his own mother had passed. Rud visits him in jail.
Nice how the Daily Bugle exists on this Earth, of course it would.
The UFFF are sent to fight the Avengers in Cuba. The Avengers are – Giant Man, Wasp, Captain America and Iron Man. So it will be four on four, which is fair.
I’m not sure how this Captain America relates to the Captain America from the Actual Civil War days What If issue that came out along with this one, but that’s a question I have.
Giant Man is the first one to physically approach the UFFF.
Iliana tries to shoot her gun but Captain America throws his mighty shield and stops the bullet.
Colossus gets a mad on for Captain America due to that, which he should.
I’m not wrong in that the panel layout is unusual on that page, right? There is something about how the middle panel with Iron Man is that forces my eyes to adjust to it.
Iron Man absorbs Widow Maker’s electricity, which gives him a boost.
Iliana sets herself up for another kill shot, but Wasp zaps her.
Giant Man gets out of the water, and tries to warn Wasp from attacking Iliana.
Iliana starts shooting wildly to get Wasp to stop with her attack.
Rud quickly realizes they were not prepared for this. Which makes sense as their latest fights have been against unarmed folks, so one gets use to that type of enemy (the kind that don’t fight back) so they are not as battle ready as they should be. I imagine the Avengers are fighting the fights we now they do.
Colossus fights Iron Man, which makes sense as they are Men of Steel.
Rud gets an idea to even the battleground. Giant Man attacks Colossus. Rud notices the device that controls Giant Man’s height.
We get a small taste of what Millar / Hitch also did in Ultimates with how Giant Man’s innards work when he grows. Like there, Giant Man’s heart and lungs can’t support this new height.
For some reason, Iliana really wants to kill the Avengers – maybe she was given special orders. Just like Winter Soldier, who came after this.
Captain America comes over to try to Iliana, as she is just firing blind but rubble is falling towards her. He saves her, Wasp dials the device back, shrinking Giant Man.
Captain America turns his back to Iliana to inform Colossus that his sister is okay.
Rud finally makes his way to Natasha, who has been unconscious for pages now. He feels bad for not taking all of the biology as a factor to the harm Giant Man would have felt. This Richards hasn’t had much time to be a scientist.
Iliana is looking for her gun as the heroes are regrouping.
Giant Man is now just regular size, Wasp is looking over him. Iron Man lands for the assist.
Iliana puts her gun to Captain America, who is also walking over to his fallen ally. She pulls the trigger as Colossus puts his hand in front of the barrel. The gun backfires and kills her. Yet another Colossus, yet another character’s death that I like so much more than him. Alternate Reality Colossuses are the worst!
Either Colossus really doesn’t know or he is becoming that dumb, but he tells Rud that he doesn’t know what happened to his sister.
Rud opens the dimension that he uses to transport his limbs and he teleports the entire team away.
Their commanding officers are dead. Natasha reveals that super humans are appearing more regularly every day. This new group of people will need a leader. Rud wants to just spend time in his lab, so Natasha will be the actual ruler and Rud just the puppet head.
Issue ends with Rud going to try to smarten his friend up and there will be no rulers, everyone will be an equal.
Not a bad issue.
Inside back cover ad is for the excellent game, X-Men Legends II, Rise of Apocalypse.