Operation: Artificial Powers! For an unexplained reason, the Fantastic Four have lost their powers at the end of the last issue, where they were stranded in the ocean in one of Sue’s invisible shields (which she hadn’t lost).
We don’t know why, and their reactions are not what one would expect. You’d think The Thing would have at least a moment of elation at being human again, that maybe Johnny would be angry, or that the group would take stock of the purpose of their lives – if any of this happened in just a few panels, it would have sold the idea more, but instead, we see them desperately scramble to find ways to imitate their lost powers before their enemies find that they are helpless. It’s not convincing, and the only human aspect of this act is to see Reed almost completely debilitated by fear and overwork, snapping at his team members and nearly on complete collapse.
It is here that the story, thankfully, starts to really pick up and the action raises to a delightfully tense cliffhanger. It begins with Doom’s revelation that he has been hypnotically tricked by the FF in their last encounter. He immediately races to New York in order to attack them. Finding them away from the Baxter Building, he begins using Reed inventions against them and interrupts them as they are consulting with their lawyer Matt Murdock (who they hired in DAREDEVIL Issue Two). There follows a cat-and-mouse chase which serves to allow DD to showcase his powers and rescue the FF from almost certain deaths.
The cliffhanger is very dramatic and well manufactured. It gradually dawns on Doom that they are powerless and he revels at the change in control. The last panels show the various members of the FF making their separate ways back to the Baxter Building, as Daredevil dangles above the city, distracting Doom. The FF are still without their powers but desperate once again to stop a maddened and revengeful Doctor Doom from destroying them and the city. The don’t know how, they only know that they must. EVALUATION: 7/10