Beau Weaver, Lori Alan, Chuck McCann, Brian Austen Green, Joan Lee, Clyde Kusatsu, Ron Friedman, A really negative zone...God there’s so much negativity
Written by: Ron Friedman
Reed – “I said close your eyes!”
WHAT IS IT? It’s an episode from the first series of the 90s animated Fantastic Four show...you know, the one that was paired up with Iron Man as part of the really dire Marvel Action Hour.What?You didn’t sit through an hour of boring shows?Lucky you.
GOOD IDEA/BAD IDEA: The Fantastic Four are one of Marvel Comic’s greatest creations, and so given the right environment can really shine.Sadly the FF don’t ever seem to get the right break outside of comics and despite having one of the catchiest theme tunes ever, the first season of their 90s animated series was just another example of a creative team just not understanding the source material.
WHAT’S THE STORY?
Science whiz and all round genius Reed Richards is busy looking at fascinating things like black holes, when he accidently opens up a dimensional window to.... The Negative Zone!Unlike the Twilight Zone, which has interesting monsters and tales of morality, The Negative Zone is full of really depressed creatures, who always think the glass is half empty.One of these creatures, the bug like super villain Annihilus, flies in through the dimensional window, and does what any irritating bug would; he circles the light bulb repeatedly.This irritates Reed, but before he can reach for the industrial sized fly swatter and a can of Bug-B-Gone, Annihilus buzzes out the window to bug someone else.
Relieved that he’s gone, Reed goes back to fiddling with his scientific knobs, but suddenly a crazy hobo by the name of Blastaar comes through the dimensional window in search of Annihilus and then goes out the regular window into the city.Once again Reed is annoyed, as he was perfectly happy when he was black hole watching, but now he knows that he’s going to have to clear up the mess that will be caused by these two loonies.This puts him in a really negative mood and he suddenly becomes aware that in this cartoon universe he exists in, The Fantastic Four aren’t that Fantastic, in fact they’re pretty average.
He realises that he mustn’t let this negativity stop him from getting the job done, and so convinces the rest of the FF to join him as he flies around the city in their vehicle, The Fantasticar, so that he can make Annihilus and Blastaar go home.The Thing and Johnny agree to join him, but Sue is not so sure, as she doesn’t think it’s the gruesome twosome that are causing negative feelings, but the fact that the Fantastic Four seem to suck, which is the root of the problem.Reed scratches his head and tells her she might be right, but in the interests of maintaining a healthy marriage, she should just listen to him and help capture the creatures.She agrees and after a bit of a fight they manage to push Annihilus and Blastaar back through the dimensional window, at which point Reed tells her he no longer feels negative about their status as heroes.Sue tells him she feels exactly the same as before, and that she knew it had nothing to do with the Negative Zone; the fact is that in this universe the FF are crap.Reed tells her to get a grip, hands her a concoction of Prozac and sleeping pills, promises her that tomorrow she’ll feel different and then goes back to staring at black holes.
POSITIVE ZONE: *The Comics Code never advises mixing Prozac and sleeping pills, as this will never improve the quality of the 90s Fantastic Four cartoon.However drinking beer or just watching something else other than 90s FF cartoons, will help.
*When the 90s FF toon originally aired it was part of The Marvel Action Hour alongside the TERRIBLE Iron Man cartoon.It has often been wondered, if children watching the full hour of programming had ever considered changing channels, or just switching off the TV and going outside?A study was set up to work this particular head-scratcher out, but the results were inconclusive.
*The Fantastic Four briefly considered changing their name to The Fanta-Tastic Four after being approached by a soft drinks company, but then decided against it.They did however change their name for six months to The Twix Four, after the Thing’s gambling habits almost sent the team bankrupt and they were forced to seek a quick sponsorship deal.