Alicia Masters (Earth-616) Gallery Page from Fantastic Four Annual Vol 1 2.jpg

Preface

A number the incidents recounted of Alicia's prior to and during her associated with the Fantastic Four are cited to have occurred in specific decades relative to the era of publication. However, the Earth-616 universe operates on a Sliding Timescale these events could not have occurred in the times they appeared due to the fact that it would drastically age the character. The scale serves to put a linear timeframe on what is referred to as the modern age of the Marvel Universe

Early Life

Alicia Masters as a child[1]

Born Alicia Reiss, Alicia was the daughter of Jacob and Marcia Reiss.[2] As a child she grew up loving to paint and picked up quite a talent for it.[1] Her father worked with Phillip Masters to use clay from Phillip's native Transia in their research. They worked from a factory in the town of Watershed Lake. Phillip eventually grew to resent Jacob and his happy family and successful business and became determined to ruin it for his partner. Jacob caught Phillip trying to sabotage their factory, and during a struggle, Phillip pushed into a vat of radioactive clay causing a massive explosion. Jacob was killed, but Phillip was thrown free from the blast. When he recovered he found that both Alicia and Marcia were waiting for Jacob outside. While the resulting blast apparently did not harm Marcia, Alicia was struck blind.[2] Phillip told them it was an accident, keeping the secret of Jacob's murder a secret for many years. After the funeral,[1] Phillip began teaching Alicia how to sculpt with clay.[1] Phillip ultimately ended up marrying Alicia's mother, and Alicia took Phillip's last name.[3]

The accident that left Alicia blind for most of her life[2]

However, tragedy struck again when Marcia died of radiation poisoning that she contracted from the exploding factor that claimed her husband years earlier.[2] Alicia moved with her adopted father to Manhattan where she studied at a special school for the blind.

Postscript

It should be noted that although Alicia's own history is affected by the Sliding Timescale it appears that her biological father and step-father were not. One source states that Phillip Masters was a child in the early 1930s and was present during Herbert Wyndham construction of his Citadel of Science on Wundagore Mountain.[4] Further, Phillip and Alicia's father Jacob were in college together in the late 1940s.[5] Since Alicia has been depicted in the modern age as a young woman in her late 20s to early 30s, as the Timescale slides her date of birth and the age of her biological parents become an even greater impossibility without considering outside influences. There are no official explanations and any reason is speculative at best.

Meeting the Fantastic Four

As a young adult[3]

Phillip had become mentally unhinged from his experimentation with his clay, which he discovered could allow him to take control of people. Calling himself the Puppet Master, Phillip attempted to take over the world. To this end he took control of the Thing (Ben Grimm) of the Fantastic Four hoping to use him as a pawn. Alicia's keen hearing detected that the Invisible Girl (sue Storm) had followed the entranced Thing back to her father's apartment. Phillip then knocked Sue out and seeing a resemblance between Sue and Alicia, had his blind niece disguise herself as the Invisible Girl. when the Thing was sent to attack the rest of the Fantastic Four, Alicia went with him as an unwitting pawn. However, Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards) managed to free Ben from the Puppet Master's control thanks to a chemical formula that temporarily reverted Ben back to human form. Alicia was completely taken by Ben's personality if not his rugged appearance, which was something that Grimm was ashamed of at the time. With Alicia's help, the Fantastic Four rescued Sue but not before the Puppet Master managed to escape. While the Fantastic Four were busy stopping a prison break that was instigated by her step-father, Alicia waited at home. When Phillip returned and attempted to use a puppet he presumed would allow him to take over the world, Alicia struggled to stop him, knocking the puppet out of his hand. Alicia went sprawling for the puppet, and when Phillip went grabbing for it, tripped over Alicia's arm and fell through the window to the street below, presumably to his death.[3] However, Phillip survived and would resurface to trouble Alicia and her new friends the Fantastic Four many times over the years.

Relationship with Ben Grimm

Following the apparent demise of her step-father, Alicia became close friends with the Fantastic Four and also began spending a lot of time with Ben Grimm. She attempted to show the Thing his inner beauty, but Ben's depression over his transformation into a monster made this a difficult struggle for him.[6] Eventually the pair began dating and Alicia put her sculpting skill into creating replicas of the Fantastic Four's foes.[7] She also attempted to get Ben to experience the beauty of music, although their date to a symposium was interrupted by soldiers searching for the Hulk.[8] Because of her association with the Fantastic Four, Alicia managed to convince the Thing to allow her to come along on a rescue mission when the Invisible Girl was kidnapped by the Sub-Mariner who, unknown to the FF or Alicia, was under the control of her step-father the Puppet Master.[9]

When Ben took a brief absence from the Fantastic Four to pursue a career in wrestling, Alicia went to his matches to cheer for him, but ultimately wrestling proved dull in comparison to his adventures in the Fantastic Four and Ben returned to the team.[10] Reed Richards also spent this period of time trying to cure the Thing of his condition. He succeeded in temporarily changing the Thing back to human form, but Ben found that he disliked the change and both he and Alicia loved each other for who they were not how they appeared. This rare moment of clarity was cut short when the serum proved short term and Ben changed back to the Thing and resumed his jaded world view.[11] Alicia frequently became a target of the Fantastic Four's enemies, the first of these being their most deadly foe, Dr. Doom. Doom had kidnapped Alicia and placed her aboard a aircraft that was protected by disintegration rays that were built to specifically target the Fantastic Four's unique DNA. Incidentally it was Ben Grimm, and not the Thing, who came to Alicia's rescue when a temporary transformation back to human form allowed Ben to enter the ship unscathed and disable the disintegrator. The Fantastic Four defeated Doom and Alicia was rescued from peril.[12] Alicia later accompanied the Fantastic Four as they went on a cruise vacation, but was left aboard the vessel alone when the group was captured by the Sub-Mariner.[13] However, she was reunited with Ben after the crisis was ended.

Alicia sculpting the Thing[14]

While studying Egyptology, Reed Richards discovered hieroglyphics that told of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh named Rama-Tut who managed to cure his blindness using a special radioactive herb. Reed and Ben became determined to locate this herb to cure Alicia and used Dr. Doom's captured Time-Platform to send the Fantastic Four back in time to the year 2950 BC to recover it. They discovered that Rama-Tut was a time traveller from the 30th Century (of Earth-6311) and made him flee this era. Recovering the needed herb, the Fantastic Four's mission was ultimately a failure when they realized that the Time-Platform neutralized any radioactive substances that passed through it.[15] Alicia also assisted the Fantastic Four in defeating the Molecule Man by disguising the group as statues of themselves. When the Molecule Man's powers failed to work on the team, he was easily defeated and taken into custody by the Watcher.[16] However, Alicia was powerless to do anything when the group was briefly under the influence of the Hate-Monger.[14] When Alicia's step-father resurfaced, he pitted the Human Torch against the Thing by taking control of the Torch and forcing him to make a pass at Alicia in order to make the Thing jealous. Suspecting the Puppet Master was responsible, Alicia confronted him and the Torch eventually freed himself and destroyed his puppet. When the Thing tried to rough up the Puppet Master, Alicia convinced him to let her step-father go, believing that he was now harmless.[17]

Later when the Infant Terrible was terrorizing New York City, Alicia was caught in the panic and was rescued from a speeding car by the Fantastic Four.[18] She also tipped the group off that the Hulk was in New York City,[19] a foe that the Thing eventually defeated.[20] When Alicia brought the Fantastic Four a sculpture of the Thing, their headquarters was attacked by the X-Men who were under the influence of Alicia's step-father. While the statue was smashed, the X-Men still made the effort of bringing Alicia to safety. Ultimately the FF defeated the Puppet Master and his protégé the Mad Thinker.[21] Alicia and Ben then began going on double dates regularly with Johnny Storm and his girlfriend Doris Evans. This first date was to the grounds of the old World's Fair. There they were attacked by the Beetle, who were stopped by the Thing and the Torch.[22][note 1] However, Ben was not always the one to be insecure in their relationship. Thinking that Grimm deserved someone better than a blind woman, Alicia tried to end their relationship but Ben convinced her that they should stay together.[23] It was not long after this that Alicia put on her first public display of her super-human sculptures, it was received with rave reviews from the super-hero community and the press. [24]

Alicia was present during yet another attempt to return Ben Grimm to his human form. The experiment was a success, however, one side effect was that Ben lost all his memories prior to the accident that gave him his powers. This made him easily agitated and violent, which proved very upsetting to Alicia. However, the process was reversed and Ben and his memories were restored to normal.[25] Alicia was also on hand for the opening of a package mailed to the Thing by his old childhood rivals the Yancy Street Gang. Usually their gifts were some kind of harmful slap stickery, but this time Ben was actually happy to receive their latest offering: A wig fashioned after the style worn by the British rock band known as the Beatles wore during their heyday. Ben wore it with pride, likely counter to the Gang's intents.[26] Alicia and Ben then accompanied Johnny and Doris on another series of double dates. The first one was to see a popular British rock group. This outing was not without issue, as a gang of thieves tried to steal the box office receipts, but were stopped by the Thing and the Torch.[27][note 2] The second of these dates the two couples went shopping where they came upon the life-like mannequins created by her own father in a complex revenge scheme against the Torch and Thing. However, nobody recognized Phillip Masters as at the time had undergone plastic surgery to change his features and disguised his voice. Luring Ben and Johnny away, the Puppet Master attempted to turn them into living statues but he failed. The pair defeated Masters and turned him over to the authorities leaving both Alicia and Doris none the wiser.[28] Shortly after this, Ben underwent yet another reversion back to human form, but was forced to become the Thing again to stop their old foe Dr. Doom.[29] Angry at this cruel twist of fate, Ben stormed out on the team. When Alicia arrived at the Baxter Building and learned what happened she became distraught and worried about his safety. Reed and the others promised Alicia that they would bring Ben back home safe and sound. Ben was ultimately captured by the Frightful Four,[30] however, he was ultimately rescued and the Frightful Four were defeated.[31]

Alicia later attended the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm along with the Thing. Despite the fact that the wedding was crashed by an army of super-villains under the control of Dr. Doom, nobody was seriously hurt and the villains were defeated thanks to the Fantastic Four and an assembly of other heroes who were attending the wedding.[32][33][24] Following the wedding, Ben was otherwise occupied with the Fantastic Four's various adventures, leaving Alicia alone for a time. However, he quickly re-entered her life with a bang when a battle between the Fantastic Four and the Inhuman known as the Seeker led to the Dragon Man android being unleashed upon the city. Ben and Johnny tried to stop the creature, but not before it came crashing through the window into Alicia's studio apartment. Ben was furious that the creature put the love of his life in danger and ordered Alicia to flee, ultimately the Dragon Man was stopped.[34]

Brush with the Cosmic

Pleading with the Silver Surfer[35]

Soon the Earth was menaced by the planet devouring Galactus, who sent his herald the Silver Surfer to Earth. The Surfer clashed with the Fantastic Four, ending when the Thing knocked the Surfer off the Baxter Building.[36] The Surfer then ended up falling through the skylight window of Alicia's apartment. Sensing the Surfer's natural born nobility, her pleas for him to help save the Earth re-awoke the emotions that were submerged within the Surfer when he was transformed into a herald of Galactus.[35] The Surfer then joined the Fantastic Four in battling Galactus, leading to the world devourer's defeat and the Surfer's exile on Earth. Alicia rushed to the Baxter Building where she thanked the Surfer for helping save the Earth. Thinking that Alicia had a romantic interest in the Surfer, the Thing silently walked out of the building thinking he had lost Alicia forever.[37] Alicia returned home unaware of this, and shortly thereafter answered a knock on the door to find nobody there. Alicia was oblivious to the fact that Ben had returned to her after returning to human form. However, as he went to knock on her door, he returned to his mutated form and fled before she could answer.[note 3]

Alicia caught between the Surfer and the Thing[38]

During her time away from the Thing, Alicia left her apartment and went to a family owned shore-side retreat. Eventually the Silver Surfer tracked Alicia down to try and make sense of the strange world in which he had been exiled on. However, the Surfer's visit also happened on the day that the Thing came seeking to reconnect with Alicia. Seeing the Surfer in his girlfriend's room, the Thing assumed the worst and attacked despite Alicia's pleas to Ben to stop fighting. This led to a fight between the two, until the rest of the Fantastic Four stopped Ben. Learning that the Surfer's intentions were altruistic and that he had no romantic interest in Alicia, the Thing realized what a mistake he made. As the Surfer flew off to explore Earth some more, he used his Power Cosmic to create flowers for Ben to bring to Alicia.[38]

Alicia Masters finds Him within his cocoon deep in the heart of the Enclave[39]

During another one of Ben's lengthy absences with the Fantastic Four, Alicia was approached by Jerome Hamilton of the Enclave, who teleported her from her apartment to their secret laboratory the Beehive.[40] There she met the Enclave's other scientists, Carlo Zota, Wladyslav Shinski, and Maris Morlak. After seeing her sculpting abilities, they then explained that they created a new being they dubbed "Him". However, this artificially created man was far too powerful and they could not get close enough to see what he looked like due to the blinding energies that came from Him. They then asked Alicia to go into the chamber where Him was being kept and sculpt the beings features so that they might see what it looks like. Alicia was then led into the chamber where they held Him, with Jerome Hamilton acting as her guide.[41] Much like the Thing and the Silver Surfer before Him, Alicia sense a great nobility and power from the newly created being. While Hamilton was being kept away by Him's power, Alicia pressed forward alone and came upon Him just as he was about to emerge from his cocoon. However, the process had weakened Him, and Alicia promised to stay by his side and try to get him help. Jerome managed to catch up with Alicia but refused to help with the birthing process unless the Enclave was able to control Him and his great power. At that very moment the Fantastic Four had teleported into the Beehive, having tracked Alicia down. Their rescue mission happened just as Him was emerging from his cocoon. Alicia was pulled away to safety before Him could hatch. The newly born being then destroyed the Beehive, seemingly slaying his creators in the process.[39] Following the incident with the Enclave, Alicia was briefly put in the hospital. While she recovered Ben once more expressed his uncertainties about their relationship, thinking that he was taking advantage of her blindness to maintain a relationship due to his appearance. Alicia once more reiterated to Ben that this was not the case.[42]

After being released from the hospital, and upon returning home she found a strange package waiting for her there. She called Ben to take a look at it when suddenly they were attacked by the Psycho-Man and his minions Live Wire, Shellshock, and Ivan. Incidentally the package was part of one of the Psycho-Man's devices that was accidentally delivered to Alicia's apartment. The four super-villains easily trounced the Thing and absconded with the device. However, Ben, with the help of the Human Torch and the Inhumans managed to defeat Psycho-Man and his cohorts.[43] Sometime after this the Silver Surfer returned to Alicia troubled over new summons from his master Galactus. When he came to the conclusion that he would defy Galactus anew, Alicia called Ben and got the Surfer assistance from the Fantastic Four.[44] Ultimately, the Fantastic Four and the Surfer dealt with the crisis.[note 4] After the crisis was over, the Thing was given yet another formula to return him to human form. This time Reed had warned Ben that if he were to change back into the Thing the transformation would be permanent. However, after a battle with the Wizard where Ben was unable to hold his own without his powers left him to wonder what he should ultimately do.[45] Ben immediately went to Alicia, and over dinner the pair considered the possibility of Ben leaving heroics and indulge in their ability to have a normal relationship. However, Ben made the mistake of bringing the Wizard's Wonder Gloves with him. These devices attracted the Mad Thinker's Android Man who attacked Ben. When Alicia was injured, Ben had no choice but to use the Wonder Gloves to mutate himself back into the Thing and defeat his attacker. In the aftermath of the battle, Ben assured them that he made the sacrifice intentionally, pretending like he cared about a "nobody" like Ben Grimm and wanted to be known as the Thing forever.[46] As Alicia and Ben continued to date and despite being blind, Alicia soon became aware of the various challenges that Ben faced due to his physical form and the limitations it presented.[47]

Not long after this, Sue gave birth to her and Reed's first child Franklin,[48] and during the child's infancy Alicia regularly babysat the child.[49] It was during one of these babysitting sessions that Ben went missing on his way back home to the Baxter Building, sending Alicia into a worry about her boyfriend.[50] When the rest of the team returned to the Baxter Building, Ben was still unaccounted for, worrying Alicia even more as she feared the worst. Reed eventually determined that Ben had been kidnapped by the alien Skrulls.[51] The Fantastic Four travelled to the planet Kral IV[52] and rescued Ben from his Skrull captors and returned him to Earth.[53]

Notations

  1. This story states that they were actually attending the 1964 World's Fair. Due to the Sliding Timescale this should be considered a topical reference. As such it should be generalized as an *event* occurring at the old World's Fairground as opposed to the actual 1964 World's Fair
  2. This story states that the musicians that Ben, Alicia, Johnny, and Doris were going to see was the Beatles. However, as per the Sliding Timescale this should be considered a topical reference only.
  3. Ben was tricked into transferring his powers to Ricardo Jones who attempted to kill Reed Richards in the Negative Zone, however, he ultimately ended up sacrificing himself. When Jones died, the Thing's powers returned to Ben instantaneously, as depicted in Fantastic Four #51
  4. in Fantastic Four #75 through 78

References

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.