It's no wonder that many kids find comic books so appealing and interesting, since comics offer an outlook for young people that acknowledges their abilities and factors them into the adult world that they often strive to be included in. If that's truly the case, then many of these young comics readers would probably fork over a good portion of their allowance to be included in the Future Foundation, the "think tank" project developed by Reed Richards to nurture and develop the young minds of several different Earth species in order to address the world's problems. (Hopefully Reed also understands the importance of a little concept called "recess," which even the most diligent of young minds can benefit from to clear their head.)
I don't recall anything specific that preoccupied my thinking in my pre-teens, but I guarantee you that coming up with a plan to seal off my home dimension from being overrun by an "annihilation wave" of over a billion hostiles while the clock was ticking wasn't a priority. Your mileage may vary.
To break this down: Annihilus and his army of... of... well, bug-eyed monsters, as they used to say in the '70s--are on the verge of breaking into our world from the Negative Zone, using the portal that Reed Richards has established in the Baxter Building. The controls in Reed's lab that would activate the solid shielding to seal that entrance have been destroyed by the initial incursion--and the only way to do so now is to use the locked-down console that Reed has established on the other side, within the Zone. We can discuss later the sheer stupidity of having a ready-and-waiting console just sitting in the Zone for Annihilus or any other creature to take their time studying and hacking into in order to gain entrance to Earth, in spite of however many redundant blocks Reed has installed in it to foil the attempt. Reed is brilliant, yes--but more brilliant than any other being of any other species in another universe? That's, ahem, stretching it a bit, to say nothing of being a tad presumptuous on his part. Necessity being the mother of invention isn't a concept exclusive to our universe.
But be that as it may--while Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm, and Franklin Richards keep the invading forces at bay, the Future Foundation's "task force" of Valeria Richards, Artie Maddicks, Alex Power, one of the Moloid children, and Bentley-23 confer on their options. And time is running out.
Now you're talking, Bentley--let's nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure! Frankly, it's a little chilling to see a member of this think tank skip right to the nuclear option. Who does he think he is, an adult?? Consider also that this kid has just miscalculated when factoring in Annihilus' use of his cosmic control rod, which would make Annihilus more dangerous, more likely to penetrate the barrier, not less--yet Bentley has used that information to take their chances of stopping Annihilus from .008% to .05%, which, if I have the math right, reflects an increase in their chances of preventing his entry. That should give Annihilus a good laugh as he's slaughtering everyone in the Baxter Building.
Still, let's see what everyone else thinks of the Ripley/Cpl. Hicks option:
Well, at least Bentley's calculations are back on track. And aren't we all glad to trust our future well-being to a generation that becomes all giddy at the thought of building bombs?? The more things change, eh?
But let's be realistic: This task force has done a bang-up job of exploring the options, but has still come up with squat. Unfortunately, their options are now reduced to one:
This of course leads to Johnny being the one who chooses to remain behind, sacrificing himself by pitting his power against the hordes of Annihilus and having his death mark the penultimate issue of the Fantastic Four title (though there will be a 50th anniversary issue following the "final" issue). The thing that always bothered me about that sacrifice was: Once Johnny used the console to seal the portal permanently, his job was done, right? So what was the point of taking on Annihilus and his army? Why not use his power to fly away at blazing speed and escape? There's no point in making a last stand if there's nothing and no one to defend, is there?
As for the Future Foundation, Reed, Ben, and Sue (and Spider-Man) become the core group to more formally represent the concept:
(And hopefully keep their young charges from getting into the nuclear cookie jar.)