Surfing the Solicits: Easter Eggs and References In Fantastic Four #10 & 2014 Annual

Ever look at a solicit and wonder if anyone else noticed the characters, plot hints, or Easter [...]

Ever look at a solicit and wonder if anyone else noticed the characters, plot hints, or Easter eggs that you picked up on?

Well, we've done just that for two of September's Fantastic Four releases so join us as we surf the solicits for you lovely comic fans out there.

Minor spoilers ahead, obviously, since we're dealing with the solicitation text for books not due in stores for three months. Also, worth mentioning that Ultimate FF isn't on this list becuase it will end in August, as we learned when the September solicitations didn't include the title.

Fantastic Four #10

So, let's just jump right into fray with this cover image. The solicitation text promises "A savage and strategic attack on REED RICHARDS!" and it looks like that's pretty much what we're seeing here. What that text doesn't tell us is who his attackers are. Fans of the Fantastic Four are likely to notice that Bentley "The Wingless Wizard" Wittman is in the background there. Given his history and modus operandi, that would make the three women actively piling on Reed Richards the members of the latest incarnation of his Frightful Four, his antithetical counterpart to the Fantastic Four. But who are these women?

These unholy harpies are a bit more obscure and harder to place but I'm confident that Wittman has somehow allied himself with the female members of Salem's Seven.

Who are Salem's Seven? Well, shame on you for not reading our article on ideas for a Fantastic Four TV series for Fox. Anyway, Salem's Seven are the seven children of Nicholas Scratch, a wizard and himself the son of Agatha Harkness. Harkness is the elder witch and one-time nanny to Franklin Richards, son of Reed "Mister Fantastic" Richards and Susan "The Invisible Woman" Richards. Generally speaking, the Seven serve as villains for the Fantastic Four and the Scarlet Witch, though some sources suggest that they have occasionally acted as heroes in recent years. All of the Seven have magical powers and can transform into beast-like creatures with super powers.

The specific members here (from left to right) appear to be Reptilla, Gazelle, and Vertigo. Each of these women has a unique power, transformation, and/or ability. Reptilla can transform into a serpent-like creature with one long tail instead of legs and venomous snakes for arms. Gazelle can transform into a cloven-hoofed and three-fingered form with super-speed and agility. One will notice that Gazelle's appearance and headwear are slightly altered from her earlier appearance; however, she is still sporting a golden headpiece with a large jewel in the middle and she is still sporting her three-fingered hands. Vertigo has no special transformation but can attack a person's sense of balance. Since her previous appearances, she has apparently decided that bald is beautiful.

One more brief note, the solicit text also asks "Can WYATT WINGFOOT save a self-destructive JOHNNY STORM?" An interesting question made all the more intriguing because Wingfoot was Johnny's college roommate and one of his best friends. He also happens to be Native American and traveled with the Fantastic Four on their first visit to Wakanda as well as with Johnny when he was attempting to save the Inhumans from the "Negative Zone Barrier" that they had been sealed behind. I can't think of many people more qualified to reach Johnny and it's nice to see supporting cast members pop up.

Fantastic Four Annual #1 (2014)

There really isn't much to comment on here as the solicit is fairly straightforward. In this issue, we can expect an all-out brawl between Sue Richards and Doc Doom as she tries to get back her daughter Valeria. Considering Val's reasons for going to Latveria in the first place and her incredible intelligence, I'll be interested to see how this all shakes out.

Also, it's nice to see Sue cut loose now and again. I can't wait to see the person who might be the FF's most powerful member really take it to that despicable and diabolical dictator.

Still, there is one point of interest. No, I'm not suggesting we play spot the recycled art from Greg Land on Sue's pose, though something seems very familiar here. What I am calling attention to is Val's shirt. It's a classic Marvel design as seen in this old ad from 1966:

What you aren't seeing in that cover is the back of the shirt as it features a mirror-image of the Thing's classic catchphrase as well as some "other" text.

Having trouble making it out? It says, "If you can read this you're too darn close!" I miss the wacky '60s and these kinds of zany, screwball touches to branded products…