Spider-Man and Wolverine do their best to fill in as the FF in Fantastic Four #23 preview

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The classic Fantastic Four – Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Richards (Invisible Woman), Ben Grimm (Thing), and Johnny Storm (Human Torch) – may currently be embroiled in Marvel's Empyre crossover event, but in September 2's Fantastic Four #23 from writer Dan Slott and artist Paco Medina, four other heroes are dealing with their own cosmic crisis.

In this preview of Medina's interior art, get a look at Spider-Man, Wolverine, Franklin Richards, and his sister Valeria Richards as they fill in for the Fantastic Four for a side-story that ties into the overall events of Empyre.

"The ultimate Omni-Wave Projector — built by Valeria Richards, powered Franklin Richards," reads Marvel's official description of Fantastic Four #23. "In their hands, it could lay waste to the Empyre."

"But what if it fell into the hands of the Celestial Assassins? A tipping point in the Empyre saga!" Marvel's description from its September 2020 solicitations continues. "A fight that Spider-Man and Wolverine can’t afford to lose! And two lives that that will be forever changed!"

Spider-Man and Wolverine may seem like surprise faces to fill in for the Fantastic Four, but neither of them is a newcomer to the team. Spider-Man tried out for the FF in his first-ever solo story way back in 1963's Amazing Spider-Man #1, and has filled in a few times over the years, especially when his pal Johnny Storm was sorta dead and trapped in the Negative Zone.

But Spidey and Wolverine both made their FF debuts in Fantastic Four #348 from writer/artist Walt Simonson, who replaced the entire team for a single arc, with a substitute Fantastic Four comprised of Wolverine, Hulk, Spider-Man, and Ghost Rider – a partial joke about the value of showcasing these characters, then Marvel's most popular, as guest stars in other titles.

Fantastic Four #23 goes on sale September 2.

And while you're looking ahead to this issue, remember this is all a portent for "a new, major, permanent status quo change" promised by Marvel in October's Fantastic Four #24.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)