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Quote1.png Whatever crimes my grandfather may stand accused of... ...we owe it to ourselves-- and to justice-- to hear his side of the story! Quote2.png

Appearing in "The Masque of Doom!"

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Synopsis for "The Masque of Doom!"

This story follows the events of Fantastic Four #399...

Following their clash with the Sons of Sinanju and the Wakandan Sons, Vibraxas accidentally killed one of the gang members. Vibraxas is deeply upset by this death despite Franklin's assurances that it was out of self defense. This means nothing to N'Kano, who as a citizen of Wakanda and ward to the Black Panther, he holds all life sacred and feels as though he has betrayed that belief and will face the laws of the land for his involvement. How cool Vibraxas is about all this disturbs Devlor, but his attention is quickly distracted when he suddenly notices that they are being followed. Changing into his bestial form, Devlor approaches their attacker who shape-shifts into a monstrous form as well. When Franklin suddenly intervenes the "monster" stops the fight and reveals herself to be Lyja, the Human Torch's ex-wife.

The take Lyja back to the Fantastic Force's SoHo loft where they learn why she has sought them out. She explains that her concerns are involving Franklin's mother the Invisible Woman. She explains that while her relationship with her former husband has become strained she has been secretly seeing him in the guise of a woman named Laura Green, much to her shame. She explains how they were in the Midwest when suddenly a burning form of Sue Richards appeared before them warning Johnny of danger, prompting the Torch to take off. Lyja tried to follow him back to the Four Freedoms Plaza, but the Fantastic Four took off before she could catch up with them. Just as Lyja finishes her story, suddenly the burning image of Sue appears before them. She pleads to Fantastic Force, telling them that they must seek out and find the Fantastic Four, saying that only Franklin can save them before telling them that the team be found on the moon and then disappearing. Although Franklin is rearing to go, Huntara tells causes him to pause when she senses treachery. Detecting a strange energy signature given off by "Sue", she is able to open a portal to the point of origin with her Psi-Scythe.

They suddenly find themselves in Castle Doom surrounded by Doom's Servo-Guards. Suspecting that Doctor Doom might be involved in this deception, Fantastic Force begins fighting off the Servo-Guards. However during the battle, Franklin runs into the real mastermind behind everything: his grandfather, Nathaniel Richards. Upon seeing her father, Huntara becomes furious over his manipulation of the sacred timelines and tries to attack. Although Nathaniel's armor has defensive capabilities against Huntara's Psi-Sythe, she easily overpowers him. But when she sentences him to death, Franklin steps in, knocking her aside with a psi-blast. Franklin then reminds her that he is in charge of the team and makes her recall how she recriminated Vibraxas from killing earlier, and that they at least owe it to his grandfather to hear his side of the story. Nathaniel explains that he has been manipulating events of great cosmic significance and that the Fantastic Four are currently in a battle of life and death against Aron the Rogue Watcher and needs the help of Fantastic Force, however he if forbidden to reveal what he knows. Although Franklin is quick to believe his grandfather, Huntara isn't so easily swayed and vows to get her vengeance against him soon.

Soon, Fantastic Force and Nathaniel teleport to the Watcher's Citadel on the moon where the Fantastic Four and their ally Kristoff Vernard watch helplessly as the Invisible Woman is trapped in the Negative Zone and hurtling toward the Annihilation Area and her imminent destruction. With no time to lose, Huntara uses her Psi-Scythe to open a portal into the Negative Zone. When she tries to rescue Sue, she is not quick to trust Huntara because they have fought in the past. Not willing to get engaged in a fight, Huntara proves she is on the Invisible Woman's side by quickly teleporting them back to the Watcher's Citadel. With Sue rescued, she is reunited with Franklin and she explains how she was trapped in the Negative Zone where she battled the Dark Raider to the death. With Sue now safe, she intends to go after the other Watchers through the cosmic rift they disappeared through. Kristoff believes he can calibrate a Transpacial Deliverance System to get them to the other side of the rift safely. With Devlor becoming nervous being this close to Attilan, the Fantastic Four and Fantastic Force activate the device and travel through the rift. Bent across time and space, both groups are shocked when the materialize on the chest medallion of a massive Watcher amid others of his race as they prepare to face off against the enigmatic Celestials.

This story is continued in Fantastic Four #400...


Continuity Notes

  • Lyja mentions how she is the Human Torch's wife... That's not quite accurate and also a very complex situation:
  • Lyja mentions how Johnny was pulled away by a burning image of the Invisible Woman as seen in Fantastic Four #396. This, as revealed this issue, was all a ruse concocted by Nathaniel Richards who has been using the burning image of Sue to manipulate the Fantastic Four since Fantastic Four #387.
  • Huntara came to this reality to stop Nathaniel Richards attempts to change history back in Fantastic Four #377.
  • Nathaniel mentions the Fantastic Four's most recent battle against Aron the Rogue Watcher which occurred in Fantastic Four #398399.

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