Hi folks. This is the final part of the SHACK HOUSE’s “Countdown to X-Men: Days of Future Past”. To make it all come full circle, this week’s edition concerns the “Days of Future Present” storyline from 1990. It was a four part storyline taking place in Fantastic Four Annual #23, X-Factor Annual #5, New Mutants Annual #6 and Uncanny X-Men Annual #14. It’s a spin-off/sequel to the Days of Future Past storyline, it’s basically about a ghost who does whatever he can to keep from realizing he’s dead.
PLOT: The Fantastic Four return to their headquarters after a picnic, only to find that it altered into the old Baxter Building. They enter and are encountered by past versions of themselves. It turns out that this is all the doing of an adult version of Franklin Richards from Earth-811. The adult Franklin is using his vast reality-altering power to transform the present day into how he remembers it from his childhood. His father, Mr. Fantastic, goads him into letting them go which results in Franklin’s violent departure. Once he vanishes, the old Fantastic Four disappears and the Baxter Building reverts back into the present-day Four Freedoms Plaza. Ahab, an underling for the Earth-811 Sentinels, senses Franklin’s manifestation and appears in the present day to destroy him. Meanwhile, Franklin’s energy signature alerts and weakens Rachel Summers, who flies from England to New York City to find the source of the drainage. Later, the adult Franklin encounters the X-Men Forge and Banshee. Initially delighted to see them (since they were his mentors in his timeline), he suddenly realizes that they died in his future and departs again. The Fantastic Four are trapped in their building by a force field created by the adult Franklin when Ahab attacks them with missiles. Making short work of the attack, they are soon joined by Forge and Banshee. Trading stories of their encounter with the adult Franklin, they make modifications on their machinery and seek him out. Realizing that this adult Franklin is desperate to relive his childhood, they find him at the home of the Power Pack. Telepathically nudging the Power family into believing that he’s actually the younger present-day Franklin, that illusion is broken upon arrival of the Fantastic Four & company. They convince him to leave with them. But while travelling, he notices X-Factor’s Ship headquarters and vanishes again, convinced that Ship shouldn’t exist.
Adult-Franklin causes Ship to vanish, leaving X-Factor to fall several stories until they’re saved by the Marvel Girl’s telekinesis. Detecting the adult-Franklin’s energy signature, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men team up with X-Factor to find him. Meanwhile, Rachel Summers arrives in New York and begins to attack adult-Franklin who’s been siphoning her energy. After being defeated, Rachel meets the present-day Jean Grey and announces that she’s her and Cyclops’ daughter from the future. Jean rebuffs Rachel when Ahab appears and attacks them all. They destroy Ahab’s weapons and his equipment, forcing him to retreat. Adult-Franklin appears again and tells Cyclops that his son, Nathan will grow up to be a very powerful mutant. But he also tells him that he shouldn’t have been born (he wasn’t Scott and Jean’s child in Franklin’s future, Rachel was) and uses his power to make him vanish.
At the rubble and ruins of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, adult-Franklin uses his powers to restore the mansion to how it was in his timeline, complete with his teammates as he remembers them. The present-day New Mutants are in a training sequence when Franklin and his team begin to attack. After a brief battle, the New Mutants realize that the adult-Franklin is behind everything, forcing him to break his hold and return the mansion back to its present state. The Fantastic Four, X-Men and X-Factor arrive and convince Cable and his team to join them. While at the American Museum of Natural History, Franklin alters reality into one of his memories. Ahab has the Sentinels and Hounds attack Franklin, but he’s too occupied with his memory-fantasy to notice. Once they break his concentration, he uses his powers to destroy them all. The present-day younger Franklin witnesses this event and is frightened by his older self. The two combine to permanently lock down his powers, which results in the younger Franklin falling unconscious and into a coma.
In NYC, Rachel Summers is enjoying a meal at a diner when the adult-Franklin appears. She leaves the diner frantically and uses the power of the Phoenix to locate him. Finding him hiding behind a cloud in the night sky, she telepathically scans his thoughts and is convinced that she’s found her lover. Arriving together at Four Freedom’s Plaza, the couple tells the Fantastic Four and X-Factor of their plans to start a new life together. When Cyclops protests about Ship and Nathan Summers’ disappearance, Franklin telepathically brainwashes his parents and Rachel’s into taking his word at face-value. Once they leave, the brainwashing effect wears off and Reed Richards realizes that this isn’t over. At the X-Mansion, Storm and Gambit break in to its underground bunker and are met by Cable’s New Mutants and the other X-Men. After a brief skirmish, they team up and plan to deal with the adult-Franklin. Of all of them, Storm knows (via the Rachel and the adult Kate Pryde who appeared in the Days of Future Past storyline) that this version of Franklin was killed in the future from which he hails and wonders what he truly is. Later, Ahab attacks and kidnaps Cyclops and the Invisible Woman and transforms them into Hounds. He has them search for Rachel and the adult-Franklin, who are spending time in the park with Nathan Summers (Franklin caused him to vanish earlier, but brought him back). Scott and Sue Storm attack their children and bring them to Ahab. Soon, the heroes find Ahab and attack him and his minions, including Scott and Sue Storm. Cable fights Ahab head-on. He looks at Ahab’s face and is surprised, to which Ahab asks if he notices someone he knows before knocking Cable away. Ahab then uses his machines to activate an energy field that incapacitates everyone.
The adult-Franklin escapes his prison, manifests a costume for himself that’s an amalgamation of the standard X-Men and Fantastic Four uniforms and erases Ahab’s machines. Ahab then throws a harpoon at Rachel, who’s too weak to stop it on her own. Jean Grey attempts to stop it, but can’t. She then jumps in front of the weapon and takes the hit herself. Ahab senses his defeat and vanishes, but not before giving the ominous warning that they’ll still face him in the days to come. Cyclops and the Invisible Woman remain as hounds, Rachel is considerably weakened and the younger Franklin is in a deep coma. Storm finally confronts the adult-Franklin and gets him to realize that he’s dead. He’s the astral form of the Franklin who died in the future timeline, projected into the past wanting to feel safe. However, he’s been feeding off of the energies of both Rachel and his younger self to sustain his existence. Not wanting to cause anyone further harm, Franklin agrees to discorporate. Upon doing so, the energies he absorbed flow back into their natural bases. The younger Franklin awakens from his coma with his powers in full-force. Rachel is still present, but she’s now in her Hound uniform, leaving her to wonder if her horrific future will still come to pass.
Fantastic Four (Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, Human Torch, Ben Grimm and She-Thing)
X-Factor (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman and Archangel)
New Mutants (Cable, Cannonball, Boom Boom, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Warlock and Rictor)
X-Men (Storm, Forge, Gambit and Banshee)
Phoenix (Rachel Summers)
Franklin Richards (child and his adult self)
Nathan Christopher Summers
1.) This storyline brought the Fantastic Four closer with the X-Teams, allowing them work more closely together in the future.
2.) Though Rachel is initially angrily rebuffed by Jean, she is eventually accepted and loved as Jean and Scott’s daughter.
3.) Although they appear in the same panel, it would be a few years before it was retconned that Cable is the adult-self of the infant Nathan Summers.
4.) Ahab’s taunt towards Cable about his face was a plot-dangler which was thankfully cast-aside about Ahab being a future version of Cable. It was later revealed that scientist Rory Campbell may become Ahab in the future.
5.) Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 technically counts as Gambit’s first appearance. Although his first appearance is generally accepted as occurring in Uncanny X-Men #266, a clerical error caused the Annual to be released a few weeks prior.
6.) In a What If? variation of Earth-811, Franklin Richards doesn’t die and Rachel never traveled back in time. Instead, they both marry and have a child named Jonathan Reed Richards. Their son grew up to become the mutant-cosmic despot and Fantastic Four nemesis named Hyperstorm.
All images appear courtesy of the Marvel Entertainment Group.