This is part 1 of the three-part "Return From The Ashes" storyline. Back in the "present" the FF find their time jaunt has changed the course of history. The Justice Squad (Ugh!) is now the government's top super team, the Vault Heroes have never been revived, Synn can no longer access her newly-harnessed superior mental state, and most importantly, The Shroud Wars haven't been fought-yet! It's not bad enough that the FF had to go through it once- they've got to do it again. Meanwhile, we learn more about the origin of Firebeam, and how Iron Jaw was at the root of it. Written by Bill Black, drawn by Brad Gorby, and inked by Mark Heike. Then, the preparations for The Shroud's upcomong onslaught begin. Using the benefit of experience, the FF work out a battle plan, and recruit their allies. Ms. V. convinces The Sentinels Of Justice and Captain Freedom and company of The Shroud's threat; next it's on to Doc Weir. "Prelude To Darkness" is written by Bill Black, drawn by Rik Levins, Brad Gorby and Richard(The Count)Rome, with inks by Black and Mark Heike. Guest starring Astron and Astra, General Gordon and Cap'n Joel. Color cover by Brad Gorby and Mark Heike, interiors are black and white with graytones. Standard comic book format.