By Eric Drumm
Marvel's first family has seen its share of replacement members come in and out of the Baxter Building. Heroes such as She-Hulk, Luke Cage and the Inhumans have all graced its halls. However, none of these secondary line-ups remained for too long, with Thing, Human Torch, Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic reuniting to reform the Fantastic Four proper. After the betrayals of "Civil War," Reed and Sue Richards have taken a leave of absence, leaving newlyweds Black Panther and Storm to take their place.
As one of the biggest supporters of the Superhuman Registration Act, Reed Richards found himself at odds with wife Susan. Sue was in stern opposition of the act after her brother and teammate Johnny, the Human Torch, was attacked by an angry mob. Coupled with Reed's role in the death of Goliath and the Thing relocating to France in order to stay neutral, the Richards' marriage, as well as the future of the Fantastic Four, was in serious trouble. With the rubble still smoldering from the final conflict of CIVIL WAR #7, Reed and Sue began to put their shattered relationship back together and decided that they needed some time off--but not before choosing replacements.
King T'Challa and Queen Ororo of Wakanda, better known as the Black Panther and Storm of the X-Men, were married amidst the chaos of "Civil War." With the Initiative in place, the world is very different, and no one knows this more than Black Panther. Seeing how the state of the rest of the world affects his own country, Black Panther fights for justice at home and abroad. Reed and Sue felt with T'Challa and Ororo's veteran experience and long-standing ties to the FF there was no better choice to fill in.
FANTASTIC FOUR #544 brought about the arrival of the new guests at the Baxter Building. Wasting no time, the new FF dove headfirst into their first case. During "Civil War," Storm had a "disagreement" with the Thor clone that Reed Richards helped create, destroying a Wakandan embassy in their tussle. However, upon closer inspection of the destruction, it was discovered that there were explosives planted in the embassy. Uncovering the terror plot, T'Challa has dedicated himself to finding out who threatened his embassy, even going to far to threaten S.H.I.E.L.D director Tony Stark. With the Richards' departure and the Baxter Building serving as a temporary Wakandan embassy, the Thing and Human Torch find that they must adapt to the changes.
Investigating the desecrated grave of fallen hero Gravity, the new FF have a mystery on their hands. Traveling to the home of the Watcher to ask him about the crime against Gravity, the FF are led into an encounter with none other than the wielder of the Power Cosmic, the Silver Surfer.
With death threats and dangers from space, Black Panther and Storm are engaged in a trial by fire with the Fantastic Four. They must uncover the plot against Wakanda, solve the Gravity mystery and deal with the Silver Surfer. History will tell you that when the Silver Surfer shows up, the planet eating Galactus isn't too far behind! Find out if Black Panther and his bride Storm are up to the task in FANTASTIC FOUR #545 by Dwayne McDuffie and Paul Pelletier, on sale April 25.