Appearing in "Flashback Times Four"
About Eight Years Ago:
- Fantastic Four
About Nine Years Ago:
- Inhuman Royal Family (First appearance)
- Zorr (First appearance)
A Few Months Earlier
- Encalve (First appearance)
Ten Years Earlier:
- Doctor Strange (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Flashback Times Four"
Sent back in time to recover a slice of a mystical golden apple, the Thing finds himself possessing his younger self, during the time Reed and Sue were considering Agatha Harkness as a nanny for baby Franklin. Spotting the slice in one of Agatha's displace cases the Thing attempted to recover it only to be scolded by Agatha for touching her things without permission. Ben has to back down from taking the golden slice after recalling a warning from Doctor Strange not to alter the course of history while in the past. Seeing baby Franklin makes Ben emotional and when he picks up the baby Sue remarks how Ben is acting like he hasn't seen Franklin in weeks. Shedding a tear, Ben comments about how fast kids grow up, leaving the rest of the Fantastic Four to pause at this uncharacteristic display of affection. When Agatha notices that Ebony, her feline familiar, is distressed about Ben's interest in the golden apple slice she decides to store it in her bedroom for the evening. Ben makes another slip by addressing Agatha as though they have been allies for years, insulting this version of her as -- as far as Harkness is concerned -- has just met the Thing. This also upsets all the others.
Later that night while Ben and Johnny are freshening up for the evening the Torch asks Ben why he's acting so weird. Unable to level with him, Ben merely brushes it off and makes an excuse to go snooping around the house to find what he has come for. As Ben sneaks over to Agatha's room, he is unaware that he is being observed by the Frightful Four who have come to Agatha's home to ambush the Fantastic Four. They decide to follow him and catch him by surprise while he is trying to steal the apple. While Ben and Agatha are subdued and the room is sealed shut by the Trapster, the Wizard takes Franklin as a hostage and also notices the golden apple slice. It's at this point that Medusa reveals that she had been posing as an ally of the Frightful Four to foil their revenge plans, but she is also easily subdued. It's at this point that the Wizard realizes how powerful the apple slice is and decides to take it for his own.
In the present, at the futuristic facilities of Ms. Queen in the Swiss Alps, the incredibly old woman demands results on her search for the apple. She demands answers from her assistant Lester who assures her that soon she will receive everything she has ever wished for.
Meanwhile, in another point in the past, the Human Torch takes possession of his younger self during one of the Fantastic Four's early battles against Maximus. Here the Torch is caught off guard by the android known as Zorr. Reed and Ben easily knock Zorr out and Johnny tells them to go on ahead while he gets his bearings, allowing Johnny to search for his slice of the golden apple unimpeded. Flying through the old city of Attilan reminds Johnny of simpler times and how he still hasn't gotten over Crystal, his first love. Johnny soon enters the throne room of the royal family and opens a massive vault filled with treasures. Inside he finds what he is seeking but is suddenly ambushed by Crystal, Gorgon and Black Bolt. Thinking Johnny is under the thrall of the Hypno-Gun built by Maximus they try to subdue him. While Johnny is trying to convince them not to attack, Black Bolt recovers the golden slice from the throne room.
At yet another point in history, Mister Fantastic takes possession of his pass self just as he, Johnny and Ben are passing through into the Beehive headquarters of the Enclave while on a mission to rescue Alicia Masters. After they quickly dispatch the Enclave troops and begin their search for Alicia, Reed detects the golden slice near by. He tells Ben and Johnny to go on without him as he has other business to attend to, but the Thing won't allow Reed to go off on his own without rescuing the Masters woman first. When Reed impresses how dire his mission is and that the more they argue the more Alicia will be in danger -- as at that very moment she is encountering the artificial being known as Him -- the Thing decides Reed is a coward and attacks him. As the two fight, Ben unearths a strange box and opens it, discovering the golden apple slice inside. Not long after he does the mine shaft suddenly collapses burying Reed under tons of rock.
Even further back in the past, the Invisible Woman takes possession of her younger self during a time when the Sub-Mariner kidnapped her and forced her to return with him to Atlantis. Sue recalls that this is even before she and Reed were married and wonders what she would do differently if she could relive this part of her life. She is soon joined by the Sub-Mariner who she pleads to let him free, telling him that he cannot force her to fall in love with him. Knowing she has only a short time before the Reed Richards of this era tracks her down, Sue plays on Namor's feelings for her and convinces him to assist her in finding the slice of the golden apple she has come to seek. Namor knows exactly what she is speaking of and begins taking her to the Atlantean treasury when suddenly Reed attacks. Seeing the astral form of Doctor Strange, Sue almost blows the fact that she is secretly from the future to him, but quickly realizes that this is the Doctor Strange of this era and not the one who sent her and the others back in time from the present. Confused his eras Doctor Strange departs as quickly as he arrived. Soon Sue is visited by the present Doctor Strange who warns her that events are becoming dire for them in the present. He then tells her that in order to save the future she must kill the Sub-Mariner. While in the two other eras Strange can be seen telling Reed that the past version of the Thing must die. While elsewhere he tells Johnny the same thing about Black Bolt, and Ben in regards to the Wizard...
- The INHUMANS, NAMOR, DR. STRANGE and ADAM WARLOCK guest-star as the FANTASTIC FOUR tumble through time! Scattered throughout the eons, the only way for the FF to restart time is by gathering together the pieces of the scattered artifact!
- This story runs parallel with Domination Factor: Avengers. Ultimately this series ends with history diverging Earth-616 with Earth-8921 as explained in Domination Factor: Avengers #4.8
- The members of the Fantastic Four go to a number of points in the past the length of times are dictated by the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. These moments (in chronological order) are:
- Sue is sent back in time roughly ten years earlier to the events of Fantastic Four #27.
- Reed was sent to a time about a year after Sue, circa Fantastic Four #66.
- Johnny is a few months ahead of Reed arriving during the events of Fantastic Four #83.
- Lastly, Ben is a year ahead of both Reed and Johnny circa Fantastic Four #94.
- Medusa is only posing as an ally of the Frightful Four in this story as. She was a founding member back in Fantastic Four #36 due to the fact she was stricken with amnesia until she recovered her memory in Fantastic Four #44.
- Johnny recalls how Crystal was his first love. The couple dated from Fantastic Four #66–Fantastic Four #105. Earth's pollution then forced her back to Attilan where she met and fell in love with Quicksilver in Fantastic Four #131. The two later married in Fantastic Four #150 dashing all hope that Johnny and Crystal could get back together.
- Reed recalls that in the time period he is in, Sue is pregnant with Franklin and not an active member of the team. Reed's a little off the mark, the reason why Sue isn't present is because she stayed behind with Crystal. Sue's pregnancy isn't revealed until after the events of this story in Fantastic Four Annual #5.
- Sue recalls how the era she is in is prior to her and Reed getting married. The couple got married in Fantastic Four Annual #3.
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