Lee & Kirby & Ortolani: The Last Fantastic Four Story, Part Three

This is the third installment of Italian creator Leonardo Ortolani’s fan-created wrap-up of the FANTASTIC FOUR mythos created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This chapter was published in the fanzine MADE IN USA #9 in 1993. We’re getting to the meat of Leo’s Alan Moore-style reinterpretation of the events of the series here.

As with the previous chapters, all of the translation here is being done by me using software, so it’s possible and even probable that some errors have crept in.

BURST: The true origin of the Fantastic Four!

DOOM: Susan Storm, come back to me…or die!

TITLE: MORE THAN HATRED…

CAPTION: A TERRIBLE FATE AWAITS THE F.F.!

TITLE: MORE THAN HATRED…

CAPTION: On the moon, within the “blue” area…in an amazing home unequaled in all the universe, we observe…The Watcher!

WATCHER: Doom calls for a love that no longer belongs to him…

WATCHER: After so long…the fatal mechanism that created the Fantastic Four and their story comes back to the forces that generated it!

WATCHER: …and when the beginning and the end come together…the result will be total annihilation!

CREDITS: Stan Lee writes. Jack Kirby draws. Joe Sinnott inks. Leo lies.

WATCHER: The world knows how cosmic rays transformed four astronauts into super heroes…

WATCHER: But that, mistakenly considered the beginning of everything, is really the second chapter of a story known only to…the Watcher!

WATCHER: Follow me through space and time…follow me and discover the true story of the Fantastic Four…

WATCHER: …and their evil alter-ego, Doom!

REED: I will write to you every month…no, every week!

REED: Susan, I…

SUE: Don’t make any false promises, Richards! You know that when you’re on campus, you’ll forget all about Glenville and its inhabitants!

JOHNNY: Hi, Reed!

REED: Hi, hothead!

JOHNNY: Sure, Mom wants you home! You know that she and Dad have that Doctors’ dinner tonight!

SUE: Tell Mom that I’ll be there right away…

REED: “SUB-MARINER”!

JOHNNY: What power, huh? I wish I were like him…or like the Human Torch! I can’t decide! Too much responsibility for a 13-year-old! I will let time choose for me!

SUE: Thanks for the show, Jo…you can go…now!

JOHNNY: Good luck at college, Reed!

REED: Thanks, Johnny! Take care!

REED: How crazy, your brother…

SUE: Yeah…

SUE: Take care, Reed…

CAPTION: That night, Susan’s parents had a car accident…

FRANKLIN: Mary! Mary! Oh no! Not you!

CAPTION: Her mother died, despite a desperate attempt to save her by her husband, a well-known surgeon…

DOCTOR: You did your best, Franklin, but no one could have saved her!

FRANKLIN: I’ve saved so many people…but now…my wife…

CAPTION: Sick from remorse, Storm destroyed his life with gambling.

CAPTION: The children were given in foster care to distant relatives, and Susan never got the letters from Reed Richards…

CAPTION: State University…it is the first day for new arrivals…

PROFESSOR1: Who is that young man? Why are you here in the laboratory, instead of choosing a room like the others?

PROFESSOR2: That’s Victor Von Doom, a discovery of the Dean…comes from Latveria, a tiny kingdom in the Balkans…

PROFESSOR2: If a good day starts in the morning, I believe you will have a good pupil!

PROFESSOR1: Two good pupils…look!

REED: Fascinating equipment, isn’t it? My name’s Richards, and you?

DOOM: I don’t.

REED: That accent…you must be Von Doom…since we’re both fellows, how about sharing a room?

DOOM: I think I’ll do better on my own, “Richards”…I don’t want to be disturbed!

BEN: Funny as a toothache, that guy!

REED: You must be Ben Grimm, right?

BEN: You have a new roommate, Richards: Me! If you don’t mind the thing!

REED: I don’t mind a thing at all, Ben!

WATCHER CAPTION: As the years passed, Richards and Doom easily learned every secret of the known sciences…

CAPTION: …which the young Gypsy man used to get closer to the hidden ones!

DOOM: This percentage of sulfuric acid should…

DOOM: Ah! Here he comes!

DOOM: Ogam…Dolet…Vires…Rui…I call upon you otherworldly powers!

CAPTION: For a moment, the light seems to dim…

CAPTION: …then a gap opens between the Earth and Hell…

DOOM: So much power…waiting for me to reach out my hand and grab it

DOOM: But…something approaches!

DOOM: Come to claim my soul!

DOOM: Get back! Get back!

CAPTION: A few gestures traced in the air, and the portal closes…

DOOM: Escaping is humiliating…

DOOM: But soon I will have the equipment to dominate what lies ahead of me!

WATCHER: As as Doom leaves his room, we observe how the invisible plots of fate intertwine in the most unthinkable ways…

GIRL1: Bye, Suzie!

GIRL2: Susan, are you coming to “Frankie’s”?

SUE: Another time, girls…now I’m busy!

GIRL1: I wouldn’t want to have a guy like hers…so serious..so full of himself…

GILR2: He gives me the creeps!

REED: I hope I’m not late…

SUE: Oh!

REED: Oops! Excuse me, I was…

SUE: Reed! Reed Richards!

REED: Susan?

REED: But where…how…I was away for some studies on propellants…the thesis…I couldn’t find you…and you didn’t write…

SUE: …a chemical engineering course…I’ve been here for two months…it lasts three…you too…never received…

REED: I’m holding a conference for the second year electronic engineering students…later we could…

SUE: I’ll think about it…

REED: All these years…

SUE: Now…I’m waiting for someone.

REED: Uh…sure…I’ll leave you…sure…

REED: What a fool…

SUE: No…there’s no problem…really!

DOOM: Susan?

SUE: Hello, Victor…

DOOM: Who was that guy? It looked like Richards…

SUE: Yes…we’ve known each other for a long time…

DOOM: So he’s returned from his course on propellants…

DOOM: Come, my dear, I need to talk to you about something extremely fascinating! I…

SUE: Me too…I have to talk to you too, Victor…it’s important…

SUE: I love you very much, Victor…

SUE: …but that’s not enough.

BEN: Reed! Old buddy! You’re back!

REED: Ben!

REED: Something fantastic has happened! She’s here, Ben! She’s on campus!

BEN: ?

BEN: Are you talking about the new centrifuge for serological tests?

REED: Ben!

BEN: Reed!

REED: Ben!

BEN; Reed!

REED: Susan!

BEN: R-Reed?

REED: Susan is here on campus for a course! It’s fantastic! Fantastic!

BEN: Listen, “Mr. Fantastic”, are you talking about that Susan? The Susan you haven’t seen in three years?

BEN: Your legendary “invisible girl”?

REED: I wonder if her feelings towards me have changed?

SUE: My feelings towards you have changed…

SUE: In these two months we have known each other better…we can be friends…I know it’s painful now…

DOOM: Pain? Doom does not know the meaning of the word…if this is your decision, girl, then go!

DOOM: I don’t need your compassion!

SUE: Vic…I…

DOOM: There’s someone else, isn’t there? Someone dares to compete with me…that is the reason!

SUE: Victor! You’re hurting me!

DOOM: Maybe it’s that little shit, Richards! Yes! It’s Reed Richards!

SUE: You’re wrong, Doom…the only reason I’m leaving you is you! You don’t know tenderness…compassion…forgiveness…

SUE: …you won’t even know love…

SUE: You will be alone with your pride…

SUE: …forever!

DOOM: No one speaks that way to Doom, woman! No one! Listen to my curse now…a day will come when you too will be alone…

DOOM: ..and on that day you will seek me out, crawling!

CAPTION: We can only imagine what clicked in the mind of Doom…perhaps he was wounded in the presumption of being the best in every field…

CAPTION: …maybe it goes back to grieving at the loss of a woman’s love…as happened when his mother died when he was still a child…

CAPTION: …or maybe…in his own way…he really loved Susan.

CAPTION: In the days that followed, Reed and Susan rediscovered the friendship and affection that had united them when they were younger…

CAPTION: …and something more…

DOOM: I knew it! I knew it! Damn Richards! But he will pay!

DOOM: Everyone will pay for it very soon!

DOOM: Everything is ready for the final experiment!

DOOM: Through this equipment, I can match the forces of evil!

DOOM: Mother…all this was for you…to contact your tormented soul…

DOOM: You will have to wait again…first, I must have my revenge!

DOOM: There is a price to pay…a tribute to the demonic hordes that crowd around that gap hungrily…

DOOM: But I also thought of this…my assistant…an expendable nonentity…

DOOM: One last step…solving these equations on the transmutation of matter will allow me to precisely calibrate my machine…

DOOM: It will take me all night…but I can’t…I don’t want to wait any longer!

CAPTION: Overestimating himself as always, Doom went to work…tired…tormented in soul and mind…as was predictable, he committed small, fatal calculation errors…

REED: I didn’t see Von Doom at the nuclear fuse test this morning…I would be interested in his view on some points…

REED: He is unbearable, but undeniably brilliant!

REED: Hello! Is anyone there?

REED: Wow! He’s experimenting with matter transmutation and dimensional distortions! It’s very advanced stuff!

REED: Oh…hello! Look, friend, you should double check some of those equations! There’s a few decimals out of place, and that could…

DOOM: Give it to me and go! Did you hear me? Get out!

DOOM: Arrogant idiot! He came to make fun of me! But he’ll regret it!

ASSISTANT: I fixed the apparatus like you told me! But I still don’t like it, Von Doom!

ASSISTANT: If the management finds out you are performing forbidden experiments…trying to make contact with the infernal realms…

DOOM: Shut up! Do as I say! Lower the lever!

CAPTION: Once again the light disappears, giving way to a ghostly glimmer…

CAPTION: They can hear whispers…distant cries…while disturbing shadows take on consistency…

ASSISTANT: What is this, Doom? What have we done?

DOOM: Don’t worry, my young friend….you’ll soon find out…

CAPTION: Then, the delicate balance between magic and technology fails abruptly…

DOOM: No! Not now!

GUY1: What happened?

GUY2: It came from the room of Doom!

ASSISTANT: It’s Victor Von Doom…over there…his face…don’t look at his face, for God’s sake!

CAPTION: Doom had stared directly into hell and paid dearly for his rudeness! Any evil feeling that clouded his soul, hatred, envy, at that moment had surfaced on his face, shaping it and deforming it with a gruesome result…no medical science could help him any longer.

DEAN: Von Doom, the Faculty Council has decided to expel you…you will no longer be able to attend this nor any other university! No one will ever call you “Doctor”!

DOOM: Get out! You couldn’t teach me anything I don’t already know!

CAPTION: Doom hid in the world for many years, augmenting his knowledge of his father…subsisting on the mystical arts and his hatred for Richards, waiting only for the moment of revenge…

SIGN: Aerospace Research Center

DOOM: The time has come…

SIGN: Aerospace Research Center

DOOM: I heard about Richards’ project: building a rocket for space travel…

DOOM: …which he shares with that obtuse Grimm…and with Susan…

DOOM: They made their choice…they will fall together…

CAPTION: He easily overcomes every security system…

DOOM: …propulsion…support structures…shielding!

DOOM: What I was looking for!

DOOM: It was Richards who sabotaged my calculations, I’m sure of it! It must have been him!

DOOM: Repaying him with the same coin will be a game…of Fate! (This pun doesn’t work with Doom’s English name.)

CAPTION: After the sabotage has been completed, Doom is about to leave…

DOOM: Susan!

DOOM: Susan…

SUE: Who are you?

SUE: What are you doing in this building?

DOOM: Don’t you remember anymore?

DOOM: She is as beautiful…as she was in the past…no, more beautiful…and equally proud! If she agreed to come back with me…she wouldn’t end up like the others!

SUE: Victor…

SUE: We thought you went back to the Balkans! Your face…

DOOM: It will be as it once was!

DOOM: …in Tibet, they can cure me!

DOOM: Come with me, Susan…I …I’ve never stopped thinking about you…in all these years…

SUE: Victor…but it’s crazy! You secretly enter the Research Center to propose that I come to Tibet…with you!

SUE: I’m working on the rocket project…and then…

SUE: …and then…there is Reed…

SUE: I…

SUE: …Victor?

SUE: The plans are still in place…did he really come to see me?

SUE: I should tell the others…

SUE: …but it is my problem…they would think that I cannot look after myself…and then they would persecute that man…who is already persecuted by his past…

SUE: Yes…it’s the right thing to do…

SUE: But then why don’t I feel calm?

CAPTION: The rest is the story that everyone knows. The shields didn’t work and the cosmic rays hit the four astronauts.

CAPTION: But in a twist of…fate, the radiation didn’t kill them. (Again, a play on Doom’s name that doesn’t work with his English name) Instead, it turned them into the most powerful group of heroes on Earth.

CAPTION: In Tibet, Doom completed his training as a powerful sorcerer, outdoing, in these arts, the same mysterious monks who had welcomed him…

CAPTION: …and who were the first witnesses to the birth of…

DOOM: …Doctor Doom!

DOOM: From this moment on, the world will know me by that name!

CAPTION: Months later, Doctor Doom learned of his first defeat!

DOOM: It’s not possible! It’s not possible!

DOOM: Guards!

HEADLINE: THE WORLD SALUTES THE FANTASTIC FOUR!

DOOM: Take the prisoner to the pentagonal room!

GUARD: Yes, sire!

PRISONER: Free Latveria! Free Latveria!

DOOM: Leave him to me!

GUARD1: Mice…he uses them as experiment mice! Nobody has come out of that room alive!

GUARD2: Be quiet, stupid! If the master hears you, next time he will use you!

PRISONER: What is this room for? Torture? What are these strange signs?

CAPTION: Doom pays no attention to the man, any more than a tiger does with a flea. He knows what he is doing…and he does!

PRISONER: Oh…my god!

DOOM: God, my unfortunate friend, doesn’t enter into it at all…

DOOM: …but I think that you have already learned this…

DEMON: Doom…your constant use of us is…touching…

DEMON: Do you not find the price to contact us high every time?

DOOM: Latveria has plenty of political dissidents…

DEMON: Speak then…we helped you conquer the kingdom of Latveria…we made you powerful…what do you yet seek?

DOOM: The Fantastic Four! I seek their destruction! Now!

DOOM: What is the price?

DEMON: Let us read your heart, Doom…this has the same price as the liberation of your mother’s soul…

DOOM: …and that is MY soul! Curse you, demon! You know I will never accept!

DEMON: Ha! Ha! Ha! “Curse”! Ah, Doom…you flatter me!

DOOM: Ask me for any other soul and it will be yours if you want it…man, woman…child!

DEMON: We’ll see…

DEMON: You are a hellish creature, Doom…what do you want to do…steal my kingdom?

DEMON: HA HA HA HA

DOOM: …And what tells you that one day I won’t do it, demon?

CAPTION: Years of hard fighting followed…

DOOM: It will no longer be possible for you to strike your master!

DOOM: A simple discharge of antimolecular energy will disintegrate you from the face of the Earth!

REED: Only if it hits me, madman!

REED: …and it won’t, so long as I can change my shape at will!

CAPTION: …until the last battle, fought in Latveria itself, and concluded without losers or winners…*

DOOM: The city is destroyed, my people have abandoned me…

ED NOTE: *FF #82-85 (in America, FF #84-87)

DOOM: Abandoned!

DOOM: I can’t stand that word any longer!

DOOM: I have always tried to deprive the Fantastic Four of their powers…and this, the key to my failures!

DOOM: If, on the other hand, I increased…the effect of the cosmic rays upon them…they would lose control with deadly results!

DOOM CAPTION: But the manipulation of cosmic rays is still something that eludes my brilliant mind…only pale attempts left without a follow-up…*

BROGIN: A blast from this cosmic ray gun will turn you back into Ben Grimm!

DOOM: Well done, Brogin!

ED. NOTE: *FF #18 (In America, FF #23)

DOOM: Here is the one who will give me the chance to end the war once and for all!

DOOM: …the creature of the Negative Zone named Annihilus!

DOOM: The Cosmic Control Rod that he carries attached to his neck…

DOOM: I must have it!

DOOM: The price to pay will certainly be high…

DOOM: Boris! My faithful servant…

DOOM: …once again render your services to your Lord…

DOOM: …follow me to the pentagonal room…

CAPTION: Then the images of the past fade away…

CAPTION: …and the Watcher is left only with the present…and the future…perhaps.

CAPTION: Manhattan. Now. A gigantic exodus from the island is underway, at the request of the head of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards.

CAPTION: Silent, immense, the ship of Doom hangs over an entire block…sowing fear in the hearts of men.

CAPTION: …a sentiment unknown to the immobile figure on a nearby roof…

CAPTION: In his own way, he watches what happens, waiting for the moment to make his move!

CAPTION: The Baxter Building. Now.

REED: These exo-skeletons, made by adapting the old vibro-electric suit, will prevent my molecules from separating, and will regulate your refraction. Yes, we can still see you!

SUE: Do you want to know why I never told you about it?

REED: Susan, I don’t…

SUE: I spent two months with Victor. I was very lonely…and I didn’t imagine what he would become! Since he didn’t talk about it, neither did I! Would you still have trusted me, knowing that I once had an affair with our deadliest enemy?

SUE CAPTION: Even just my sympathy for Namor made you doubt my loyalty to the group…*

BEN: Hey! You didn’t say what you said just to keep us from fighting, did you?

REED: No! Don’t answer, Sue! I’d rather not know the answer!

ED NOTE: *FF #21 (In America, FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #1)

SUE: I don’t deny that value or greatness in a man has always fascinated me…but if I chose you, Reed, it’s because you don’t know arrogance…you’re sweet, instead…and you look at the world with the wonder and optimism of a child…

SUE: That’s why I love you.

REED: There was no need to say it…

SUE: Yes, there was a need: it could be the last time I have the chance to do it!

CAPTION: The ship of Doom. Now.

DOOM: The population leaves the island.! That means that Susan has decided…there will be battle…

DOOM: But not before the 24 hours that I have granted!

DOOM: I gave my word…

DOOM: The word of a monarch!

DOOM: The dream pursued for so long…the destruction of the Fantastic Four, will be a reality…

DOOM: And yet…

DOOM: At the bottom of the abyss of my soul, I feel a lacerating sadness…

CAPTION: Whisper Hill. Now.

AGATHA: Your parents don’t know what awaits them, my little one…

AGATHA: There are forces at stake that go beyond earthly understanding…

AGATHA: I can do very little for them…but that little will be done!

REED: Ben?

BEN: I’m here.

REED: The ultimatum is about to expire…it’s time for you to drink this preparation…

REED: I was working on it to restore you to normalcy…

REED: …but all it can do now…

REED: …is to bring you back to the primitive form of the Thing…the least crystallized one!

REED: Doom must have the original Cosmic Control Rod! We have to find it…for our lives!

REED: We’ll have these plasma weapons…to keep our power use to a minimum!

REED: …any suggestions?

BEN: Let’s go get him.

CAPTION: NEXT AND LAST: …AND IT ENDS LIKE THIS!

2 thoughts on “Lee & Kirby & Ortolani: The Last Fantastic Four Story, Part Three

  1. I’m really enjoying these–Leo understood the characters better than many of the people that followed Lee and Kirby on the book.

    I imagine the final caption should be translated more loosely as “And So It Ends,” referencing FF #71.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s