As many comic readers know, Marvel is (again) canceling Fantastic Four at the end of April with issue #645. It’s not the first time they’ve done this, most recently was a few years ago when they killed off Johnny Storm, but this time feels different. This time has a heaviness of sadness to it. Not because of it ending as much as why it’s ending and why it shouldn’t have to be like this.
The drama over Fox’s reboot of Fantastic Four is well known, and Marvel has been making their displeasure well-known. Last year, they killed the cast of the movie in the pages of The Punisher, and there are stories that Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter is so upset over the Fantastic Four situation that they’ve removed all FF art from the Marvel offices. Fox has been doing a pretty good job with the mutant properties, so the X-Men haven’t suffered the same fate…yet, but Marvel’s First Family hasn’t been so lucky.
Of course, virtually every Marvel comic is ending next month due to Secret Wars. The difference is that we know the core Avengers books (and anything Marvel owns the film rights to) will return in September. The big question mark is what is going to happen to Fantastic Four and the X-Books. Marvel has dropped hints that the Mutant titles will exist in their own shared universe, so could it be possible that they move the Fantastic Four there as well? So after Secret Wars we’d have the New-616 universe consisting of only characters Disney can use in movies, while there’s a separate “Fox universe” consisting of the characters they don’t care about anymore?
In an ideal world Fox would work with Disney the way Sony has, so then we could have X-Men and the FF interact with the Avengers character after Secret Wars. The only reason (besides him being so popular) that Spider-Man is still included in the rest of the Marvel universe is because Disney benefits from him getting as much exposure as possible. As the only one who benefits from Fantastic Four and X-Men is Fox, it’s not surprising that Marvel is sweeping them under the rug. It’s just sad it had to come to this for some of their most popular, and longest lasting, characters.