One flaw in Marvel’s classic time-travel plot has finally been addressed by the Fantastic Four – it’s Reed Richards’ own stupidity.
Warning: Spoiler for Fantastic Four #4
The Fantastic Four finally pinpointed a major flaw in the MCU’s time travel plot – and they fixed it with a tragic scene. Reed Richards may be one of the smartest men on earth, but he’s not the most compassionate, and his behavior time and again proves what he is. Thinking for the best is not always the case. His latest “solution” to the apocalyptic problem tackles the time travel conundrum in the worst possible way.
Fantastic Four #4, Written by Ryan North and illustrated by Iban Coello, it begins with a flashback sequence of an alien invasion of Manhattan, with the epicenter being the Baxter Building. The aliens have resisted nearly all of Reed Richards’ plans so far, so he quickly improvised a dangerous solution: move the entire Baxter building in a year. Eliminate the aliens by throwing them all into space away from Earth’s solar system, while everyone else in the building stays safe; they will be back in a year.
Reed Richards knows every time machine is also a space machine
Reed was able to do this through a little known (and rarely commented on) time travel phenomenon. Most time machines in science fiction (including the Marvel Universe) take visitors to the exact point they left off—but these machines also have to account for the motions of the Earth and solar system in space. Reed’s dialogue hints at this, and Marvel’s first admission that time travel must also transport travelers through space and time.
Unfortunately, in this case, Reid’s approach to winning the game could easily be seen as overkill. During an invasion scene where only aliens are taken care of, Richards decides to take everyone in the building – including his children – for a year. While this tactic is ostensibly saving the planet, it has devastated the families of those in the building, who now have to deal with being without loved ones for a year (or longer, if the calculation is concerned). Reed’s is incorrect). The leader of the Fantastic Four, again, doesn’t understand people.
There are many time travelers in the MCU (Cable, Kang, and even Doctor Doom several times), and they all have teleporters and time travel abilities. Based on the Earth’s motion, Reed Richards has successfully resisted the alien invasion, but his team’s position in Manhattan could be irreparably damaged in the near future. The leader of the Fantastic Four may wish he had traveled back in time to warn himself of the big decision he was about to make.