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Quote1.png F-Franklin! It is you! It really is! Quote2.png
Johnny Storm

Appearing in "The Torch is Passed"

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Synopsis for "The Torch is Passed"

This story happens during the events of Fantastic Four #401...

After stunning the members of Fantastic Force with the possibility that Huntara might be his long-lost sister Elizabeth, Paul tells the tragic tale: Fifteen years earlier in south Texas, Paul and his family were out camping. One night Paul woke to find his sister leaving their camp. He then witnessed her being led into a portal by an armored being. When this recollection is finished, Huntara tells Alvarez that he is mistaken and she is not his sister. Psi-Lord is not entirely sold on this idea, reminding her how easily it is for his grandfather, Nathaniel Richards, to snatch a child out of time and space. However, Huntara still refuses to be related by a mere newspaper reporter. Paul refuses to give up hope and Psi-Lord believes they need to pay a visit to his grandfather anyway suspecting he has some involvement in their recent battle against the Crimson Cadre. Franklin then uses his psi-powers to track down the location of his grandfather by probing minds across the world. He detects his grandfather's mind still in Latveria but his powers suddenly short out, but he is caught by Lyja. Huntara warns her nephew against taxing his powers too much as he has been doing lately as she fears there will be grave repercussions. Soon Huntara opens a portal to Latveria using her Psi-Scythe, sending the whole team and Lyja through.

Meanwhile at the recently risen Atlantis, Morgan Le Fay finishes her deal with the Inhuman Genetic Council, and prepares to send Thor, who is under her thrall, to reclaim the shrunken city of Attilan for the Council. Thor is sent after the Fantastic Four's Stealth-Hawk, but Morgan's mystical scan reveals that the bottled city of Attilan is not there. She then uses her power to revive her other minion, Triton of the Inhumans, to go and collect it for her.

At that moment in Latveria, Nathaniel Richards has trouble of his own -- namely the Human Torch still affected by brainwashing carried out by Maximus the Mad -- who he was forced to bring back to his castle while in the process of stealing Attilan. Richards sets his loyal Servo-Guards upon the Torch, but he easily incinerates them with a nova blast. It's at this moment that the Fantastic Force arrives on the scene. Seeing the battle, Franklin demands to know what is going on. The Torch attacks in response, sending the entire team smashing through the castle walls and out into the streets of Latveria. While the Torch is busy fighting Fantastic Force, Nathaniel decides to take this opportunity to further his goals and turns himself invisible. The team is no match for the Torch in his frenzied state, so Psi-Lord decides to try other measures. Dropping his Psycho-Armor, Franklin then attacks Johnny telepathically, probing his mind until he finally breaks the brainwashing done to him by Maximus.

With Johnny free from the mind control, the team regroups and notes that Huntara had gone astray during the fight. Their teammate had backtracked to the castle, and sees right through Nathaniel's cloak of invisibility. Having been shaken by Paul Alvarez's tale, she demands to know who she really is. Nathaniel tells her to look within herself and she will find all the answers, his cryptic response only making her more furious. However before she can attack him the rest of Fantastic Force arrive. Psi-Lord tells Huntara to stand down and then unloads on Nathaniel, having become fed up of being manipulated as well. Nathaniel warns Franklin that where his father and Doctor Doom have fallen, he and his team must step up for the great evil that will soon be upon them. Fed up of the manipulations, Franklin refuses to follow Nathaniel's lead. Nathaniel responds by blasting his grandson with his cybernetic eye, causing Franklin's psi-powers to flare out of control.

While Fantastic Force is distracted, Nathaniel makes a grab for the bottle city of Attilan but is attacked by the arriving Triton. When Triton wrests the bottle from Nathaniel's hands and flees, he follows after Triton into the puff of smoke that is teleporting him away again. Meanwhile, Franklin manages to get his powers back under control. Suddenly a small child calls out for his "Uncle Johnny," and the group is shocked to find a younger version of Franklin -- dressed in his Tattletale costume -- has suddenly appeared among them.

Atlantis Rising
Namor the Sub-Mariner #60 Namor the Sub-Mariner #61 Namor the Sub-Mariner #62 Fantastic Four: Atlantis Rising #1 Warlock and the Infinity Watch #41 Warlock and the Infinity Watch #42 Fantastic Force #8 Fantastic Four #401 Fantastic Force #9 Fantastic Four #402 Fantastic Four: Atlantis Rising #2


Continuity Notes

  • Paul Alvarez has suspected that Huntara is his sister since Fantastic Force #3. While this story suggests that Paul's sister could either be Huntara or Zarathustra, it is left unanswered as Fantastic Force was cancelled soon after this issue. This conflicts with Fantastic Four #392 where Huntara states that she is Franklin's aunt.
  • Huntara mentions how she is sworn to kill Franklin if his powers are to flare out of control. She first stated this in Fantastic Force #5.
  • The Genetics Council mention how the petitioned Morgan le Fay to recover Attilan so they can restore it to its natural size on the risen island. That happened in Fantastic Four #401. It was also in that tale where Johnny was brainwashed by Maximus and was kidnapped when Nathaniel stole Attilan from the Fantastic Four.
  • The appearance of Tattletale at the end of this story does not signal the return of the Franklin of Earth-616, this is actually a mental construct as revealed next issue. It is based on Franklin's tenure with the Power Pack which lasted from Power Pack #1662.

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