Secret Wars is finally at an end, and we’ve finally gotten an answer to a question that’s plagued Marvel readers ever since the “All-New, All-Different” universe began: What the hell happened to Reed Richards and Sue Storm, half of the Fantastic Four? Turns out, Marvel’s First Family is doing some pretty crazy stuff.
There are of course spoilers ahead for this week’s Secret Wars #9, by Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic, Ive Svorcina, and Clayton Cowles.
On a micro level, Secret Wars has been about Dr Doom stealing Reed Richards’ life. Doom took Reed’s children Valeria and Franklin, his wife Sue, and made a fantasy world where they loved him—a man who had spent his life alone—while they didn’t even know who Reed Richards was.
So naturally, when the final fight in Secret Wars happens, it comes down to Reed and Doom. Not only does Reed make Sue, Valeria, and Franklin all remember their past lives as his family, he convinces Molecule Man—who Doom has been using as a giant power-battery to keep the bits of Battleworld glued together and grant him nigh-omnipotent power—that he can use his powers for something better than supporting Doom’s fantasy. So Reed and Doom duke it out, mano-a-mano, on a relatively even playing field.
During that scuffle, Reed gets an enraged Doom to admit that Reed would have done a better job of saving reality (kind of a dick move, considering the New Avengers failed to save the old one!). Upon hearing that, Molecule Man rips apart Battleworld, using the vast energy to basically create a new Marvel universe... you know, that one we’ve been reading about for like, nearly four months now.
But in the wake of that creation, we finally get to learn what really happened to Reed, Sue, and their kids. We’ve seen the Thing as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy, while the Human Torch hangs with the Inhumans, but the whereabouts othe Richards family has been unknown since their own monthly series came to an end.
Basically? Reed Richards and his family remade the Marvel multiverse.
After Molecule Man destroyed Battleworld to remake the new Earth that Marvel’s comics currently take place on, Sue, Valeria, and Franklin all remembered who Reed was, and everyone was happily reunited. Using Molecule Man’s unlimited reserves of power, and Franklin Richard’s ability to craft universes—oh yeah, Franklin is ridiculously overpowered and can make his own universes, let’s not forget that madness—they team up to basically make up alternate realities, give them the spark of life through Molecule Man slicing off a little part of himself to power it, and then fling it into space to be born. Reed then goes with his family and the braniacs of the Future Foundation to go science the shit out of those new universes, The Martian-style.
It’s a bit weird that Marvel wiped its multiverse clean, only to re-establish it pretty much instantaneously with the end of Secret Wars. But at the same time, this offers a perfect explanation for Sue and Reed’s absence, one that totally works for the Fantastic Four:
They’re taking a break from being superheroes to be the scientists that they always were—and help the entirety of reality in a way they couldn’t just as a superhero team. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Sue and Reed make their way to the pages of the “All-New, All-Different” Marvel universe, but at least they’re in a a happy place right now.