In the wake of the Onslaught crossover, the Avengers and Fantastic Four were seemingly destroyed saving the world. In actuality they were transported to an alternate dimension by Franklin Richards, son of Reed and Sue Richards. For the last year, they have lived a life similar to their previous one with minor alterations.
After surviving their individual trials, a visit from Galactus in which Doom proved to be Earth's savior, and a crossover with the Wildstorm characters, the time has come to bring the heroes back to the Marvel 616 universe.
It is the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. The media celebrate their accomplishments and state that after all this time, there are still few answers as to what really happened. The media lays the blame on the X-Men who were present when Onslaught was destroyed. The weather has provided a very appropriate symbol to commemorate this event: it has been raining for close to a week.
Florida: Franklin Richards - five year-old son of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman - is under the protection of the Man-Thing in the swamps. As Franklin sleeps he is visited by Ashema, the human personification of the god-like Celestials. She informs him that his great power has been noticed by her peers and she will visit him very soon to help him make a difficult decision.
New York: The Hulk has arrived seemingly without incident. He watches the broadcast of heroes' memorial on the televisions in an electronics store. All the while, he is radiating an unknown energy that causes excruciating pain. The Hulk is unaware that he is dying since his separation from Banner. All he knows is that he's in pain.
Ashema arrives on Earth and lands at an observatory and inadvertently kills the astronomer on duty when she touches down. She is unconcerned and takes an overcoat from the locker and makes her way to Franklin.
Franklin awakens from his sleep and looks at the blue ball he carries with him. He sees images of Thing and Thor fighting the Hulk in his alternate universe. Ashema arrives and relieves Man-Thing of his guardianship. She then begins to talk with Franklin about the purpose of her visit. She explains to him that life on Earth was an experiment for them. They set things in motion which would allow humanity to evolve into beings similar to themselves. Franklin is the end result of this experiment.
She explains that the blue ball he carries contains a new world that he has created to save his family and the Avengers. They still exist in this universe he created. While they are impressed with his accomplishment, they state that only one of these worlds can continue to exist.
She then takes Franklin to his parents where with tear-filled eyes he begs them to help him make this decision.
Ashema's explanation for why one world must be destroyed is just too convenient for my tastes. The experiment is at an end and only one world can survive. She doesn't even provide a traditional "there are things you just don't understand about the universe" excuse. Just a simple "one world must be destroyed". Hopefully the justification for this will be explained in more detail. As it stands now, this is a flimsy pretext for the destruction of the Heroes Reborn universe.
The Onslaught event that propelled them into this world was handled very well. The actual issues that comprise volume 2 for Fantastic Four, Avengers, Captain America, and Iron Man met with various degrees of success. There should be an equally powerful reason to bring them back to "reality".
3 webs. I'm going to be generous given that this is Peter David and he usually has a plan in mind. Ashema may yet explain the Celestials' reason for destroying one world.