Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Tom Raney (penciler), Andrew Pepoy & Walden Wong (inks), Gina Going (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters)
Summary: The Six aid the Fantastic Four against aspiring inter-dimensional tyrant, Moot. When Moot possesses Reed Richards’ body, he’s rescued by Havok. Richards listens to Havok’s story of slipping in-between dimensions and examines him. Finally, he offers a solution -- psychiatric help from Dr. Leonard Samson.
“That’s Crazy Because They’re Different”: In this reality the Fantastic Four were apparently never exposed to cosmic rays and instead wear cybernetic armor. I assume they also eschew code names, since Reed Richards doesn’t recognize the name “Mr. Fantastic.” Ben Grimm is much larger with what appears to be a glowing skull head, which may or may not be a part of his suit.
Continuity Notes: This reality’s Havok had a fling with Sue Storm, and Reed Richards is still angry about it. Madelyne makes him promise that there’s nothing going on between him and Sue anymore.
Better Than X-Factor?: Yes. Placing Havok in Namor’s role in the classic FF love triangle is an unexpected twist, and it leads the story in some interesting directions. Does Reed genuinely think Havok has brain damage, or is he setting up his former rival to be institutionalized out of spite? I like the fact that Mackie isn’t forcing Havok to keep the truth a secret for an unnatural period time, also. Havok might briefly play along while he’s still trying to figure out what happened, but it’s hard to believe that he would unnecessarily lie to his teammates after he’s confirmed that he really is in an alternate reality. The catch is, no one on this Earth has even heard of alternate realities (except for Moot, who doesn’t know how to access them but knows he wants to rule them), so instead they just assume he’s insane. Using an altered version of the Fantastic Four also opens up the question of when exactly this timeline diverged from the main Marvel Universe, which introduces numerous possibilities. The first issue just showed an alternate history for the X-Men, but now we see much larger implications for this new world. All of this is more intriguing than any of the byzantine “mysteries” that never amounted to anything in X-Factor.