The Truth About the Fantastic Four

Review of the Fantastic Four Episode "Behold the Negative Zone"

Published September 4th, 199X

NEW YORK CITY—The Fantastic Four's popularity is at an all time low amid damning accusations that their famed battles against supervillains have been staged for financial gain.

Since the publication of their book, Fan 4: How We Keep Saving the Day and Why You Should Be Thankful, there has been a noticeable shift in hostility towards the team. An ever-increasing amount of sceptics have been carefully studying their adventures, and a shocking revelation has been discovered that could shake the superhero community to the core.

It all began when the group were called in to action after two alien warlords supposedly arrived through a portal in Doctor Reed Richards' lab.

The alleged extra-terrestrials escaped in to the city, where one ascended to the top of Chrysler Building and attacked both a police and news helicopter that were on the scene. Pedestrians watching from below were left fearing for their life as metal fell from the sky, though were saved at the last moment by the Fantastic Four.

"It was terrifying. Usually I'd be thankful if a superhero saved my life, but there was something odd about it. They knew exactly when to arrive, how many helicopters were going to be there and where they were going to land. I don't know—something didn't add up," said local resident Emmett Watchowski who was in attendance that day.

A brief skirmish then took place between the two space men at a nuclear power plant, threatening the safety of the surrounding area. The Fantastic Four would soon appear at the scene to break it up yet allowed the pair to retreat with little resistance.

Shortly after the incident, President Jack Tunney of the local wrestling promotion made an announcement at a press conference that a rematch between the pair, identified as Blastaar and Annhilus, had been signed. They would fight in two-out-of-three falls contest under Negative Zone rules on top of the World Trade Centers. The winner would be allowed to conquer Earth and enslave the human race.

It was this encounter which raised suspicion that something was not quite right.

Sam Hennessy, the security guard on duty, claimed to have witnessed the battle.

"I was doing my afternoon floor walk and I stumbled across the two of them fighting on the roof. I told them 'hey, you two! You can't be up here, it's dangerous and if you fall off the side, you're gonna hurt yourself!' but they ignored me and started tumbling around. And that's when I saw it—the one that looked like a werewolf. There was a zip on the back of his head!

"Then the Fantastic Four arrived in their big ship. The Human Torch and the orange guy jumped down and started throwing some of the fakest punches I'd ever seen. They were telling each other what move they were about to make!"

It has since been revealed that both alien invaders were in fact actors in costumes.

The identity of one of the men is Chester Prestwick, a stuntman and actor who has mostly appeared in television movies and low budget direct-to-video films. The actor confirmed his participation, saying this was in fact the second time he had appeared as a foil to the group.

Prestwick recalled his first meeting with Reed Richards a few months ago, "he told me had a fantastic opportunity for me, the roles were fantastic and it'd give me a fantastic boost to my career. He kept saying fantastic a lot, it was kind of annoying, but I wasn't going to argue—the money was fantastic. Oh God, now he's got me saying it."

This revelation comes out at the same time as the release of their latest moneymaking scheme, a home video called Fantastic Four: It's Clobberin' Time.

Reviews of the video have been extremely negative, with eagle-eyed viewers spotting numerous occasions where fights appear choreographed, wires are spotted and during two different battles, the villains appear to be reminded of their lines by a frustrated-looking Sue Storm.

Many supporters of the group have turned against them. The author of one prominent fanzine claims to have printed more copies of his magazine than the group have sold of their book since renaming it to The Fantastic Frauds. "People don't just feel betrayed, they feel angry. We looked up to them and we trusted them. The next time they go up against Doctor Doom, you can bet a lot of people will be cheering on him instead."

Since the latest allegations, the group have seemingly fled the city and went in to hiding.

Then two nights ago, fire-fighters attended the Baxter Building where a blaze had ripped through the penthouse once occupied by the foursome. Several witnesses described a man-shaped flame shooting away in to the night sky, leaving behind the smouldering wreckage of scripts, videos and a bridge between the fantastic and their fans that some say, has been burned forever.