Title: 24 Blocks and 1 Blockhead
Release Date: November 2002
Actual Number in Series: Volume 3 #61 or #490 overall
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Mike Wieringo
Inker: Karl Kesel
Fantastic Four: Sue Richards, Reed Richards, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm
Bad Guys: A mysterious practical joker
Cameos: None

So what happens?

It looks like the Yancy Street gang is messing with poor Ben again. A package rigged with a cream pie and a ribbon for last place in the Yancy Street beauty pageant give The Thing an unwanted facial. Reed and Sue, who are discussing what to do about Johnny's lack of responsibility, are interrupted by Ben stomping the offending package through the floor in a fit or rage. Johnny is beside himself with laughter. Sue finds a receipt that accidentally slipped into the package. Seeing his opportunity, Ben takes it and storms off to exact his revenge on the pranksters for years of practical jokes. As he stomps off, Johnny begins looking a bit hot under the collar. As Sue cuts off his escape, the penny drops. Demanding to know how many of the packages he was responsible for, Johnny owns up to sending them all. He flames off to try to stop Ben's rampage up Yancy street.

The Thing is not happy. As he storms across New York toward the address on the receipt, leaving footprints in concrete, Johnny races to stop him. Trying to reason with Ben first earns him a bath from a smashed fire hydrant, a backhand through a hairdresser’s window, and finally a face full of cab that gets tossed at him. During the abuse, Johnny gets Ben to say why he is so mad. The constant reminders that he is a monster that can never go home cut him deeply. Johnny offers to talk to the "mystery prankster". Ben lets him know where he will be: "He'll be at Mercy General. If he's lucky."

Meanwhile, back at the Baxter Building, Reed Richards is working with a high-energy field when the power mysteriously goes out. The screams of his children draw Reed into the nursery, where Valeria is sleeping. The walls of the nursery are covered in screaming toothed mouths and staring eyes. Franklin Richards is understandably freaked out. Reed grabs his children and turns to leave when he looks at the sleeping toddler. Valeria’s face is crawling with tiny spiders and her eyes are missing. The room goes black and everything returns to normal. The power comes back on and the sleeping Valeria wakes up, unharmed and free of bugs. As Reed puzzles over what exactly happened, Franklin pleads for an explanation. Reed simply doesn't know.

Johnny's desperate fight to stop Ben is turning into a joke. Flying ahead of the Thing and painting a flaming "SKRULL" sign in the air to explain his partners rampage to the fleeing citizens, Johnny begs and pleads Ben to stop. Largely ignoring everything the Human Torch tries, Ben lumbers on. Finally arriving at 399 East 23rd Street, the supposed home of "Things on Springs", Ben and Johnny are greeted with an empty lot. Johnny explains it way as probably being part of the joke. Ben vows that next time he will have his revenge. As he plods away, Johnny wonders how a prime piece of Manhattan real estate could disappear overnight. Realizing the answer, his escape is again cut short by his sister Sue's invisible force fields. Reprimanding Johnny for causing so much damage and wasting so much money with his irresponsible joke, she drags him off for a "special mission".

Back at the Baxter Building, Johnny trades his uniform for a decidedly different look: a three-piece suit. Deciding that his immature behavior has got to stop, Sue takes action. As she discussed with Reed, Sue places Johnny in the position of Chief Financial Officer of Fantastic Four Inc., the business that licenses Reeds inventions, and the public trademarks of the Fantastic Four. Sue feels that by throwing Johnny in feet first, he will grow up a bit. Sues final advice for her younger brother: "Don't screw it up."

Cool Moments!

While discussing what to do with Johnny, Reed tests Sue for outside mind control. He remains convinced that she is out of her mind in suggesting Johnny be put in charge of the family corporation.

The brother-sister banter between Sue and Johnny help to give the reader a sense of their relationship. Sue feels responsible for Johnny's immaturity and her radical plan seems like a heart felt attempt to get him to grow up. The freaked out look on Johnny’s face also helps sell it as a big step for him.

Finally, as Ben's raging across New York proves, he is still a man haunted by his deformed appearance. The memories of his home neighborhood and the pranks which Johnny innocently pulled over the years cause him real pain.

Cool Quotes!

Johnny Storm, hugging his sister for saving him from a rampaging Thing -"Sue! My invisibilityriffic sister! You saved me!"

Sue Richards - "No. I saved the millions of dollars we'd owe the city if Ben shoved the Statue of Liberty up your butt."

Johnny Storm, explaining his uniform cleaning tricks -"When it comes to bacterial odor, I find that being able to set myself of fire beats the hell out of Speed Stick"

Sue Richards - "You'd think."

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