Yes, it's a total rip-off of Chris Bird's "If I Wrote the Legion", but I can't help it. I have ideas for a Fantastic Four run, and even though this is no way to break into a major comics company (if it was, they'd have listen to Chris Bird's frankly awesome ideas for the Legion) fish gotta swim, you know? So, here's my first in an irregular series of posts on what I would do with the FF if I got it, starting with...
#1: Cosmic Rays. They're Not Just For Breakfast Anymore.
One of the things that I've become a big believer in, so far as comics go, is that there's a depressing dearth of creativity. Everyone comes onto a series to do their "Greatest Hits Album", taking the better-known villains on the title and trying to do the "ultimate" story for that villain. That isn't to say that this approach can't work; Kurt Busiek's run on 'Avengers' was a GHA, going from obscure villains like Imus Champion and Morgan le Fay to his take on Ultron and Kang, and it was great. But there's only so many times you can do a Fantastic Four run that goes through the Frightful Four, Galactus, the Mad Thinker, Doctor Doom, and never adds anything to the mythos.
Which isn't to say I wouldn't use Doom...but not from the start. My first storyline would involve creating some new villains for a change. And why not use the same method that created the Fantastic Four? "Probably because not everyone can just hop on a spaceship and fly past the Van Allen Belt," you might say, but I have a solution to that.
In my first issue, Reed discovers a source of concern regarding the Earth's ozone layer. Roxxon (they're still around, right?) has been using a new manufacturing process which they insist is perfectly safe...but as an expert in cosmic rays, Reed alone realizes that they're slowly eroding the Earth's protection from cosmic rays. As a result, the layer of atmosphere that shields from cosmic rays is dangerously thin, with shifting "hot spots" that allow full-strength blasts of cosmic rays to go all the way down to the ground.
As a result, random individuals are being hit by cosmic rays and gaining superpowers. Some of them are taking it well; I figure there'd be at least one who's trying to organize a support group. "People With Powers, Thursday 7-8." But there are always going to be some people who use their powers in the wrong way, and as the cosmic ray experts, the FF are the go-to people for it. They stop the bad ones, help the good ones, and Reed adds every single one of them to his "When I Finally Find A Cure For Cosmic Ray Bombardment" list.
Of course, there are other people out there interested in what is the beginning of a new army of superhumans...