Appearing in "Mystery Date"
- Black Widow's Gauntlets (Cameo)
Synopsis for "Mystery Date"
Lyja is posing as Laura Green and arrives at the Four Freedoms Plaza to meet up for the Human Torch for their scheduled date. Although she feels bad decieving her former husband, but she needs to be with him. When the Fantastic Four's robotic secretary sees through her disguise, Lyja orders the robot to not acknowledge her by her true identity in this form. Roberta complies and calls down Johnny and he greets her. On their way out, Johnny and "Laura" literally bump into the Thing. When Johnny "introduces" Laura to the Thing he doesn't speak and walks away, Johnny apologizes for the Thing's behavior, saying that he has been grumpy for a while. The couple go out for dinner at an Italian restauraunt and while sharing a bowl of spegetti the two are about to kiss when they are interrupted by the waiter who comes to ask if they want any ground pepper. The moment is further ruined when Johnny spots Crystal and the Black Widow running down the street. Johnny is about to run off and see if they need any help, but Laura convinces him to let them deal with whatever the problem is, reminding him that tonight is supposed to be their night.
Elsewhere, in the sewers of Manhattan, some of the Mole Man's Moloids are rushing through the sewers with a massive device. Sickly, the group comes up on the surface and aims their deviceat a nearby statue. Blasting the statue it turns to dust while the Moloids collect. Meanwhile, Johnny and Laura have finished eating dinner and are deciding where to go next on their date. Laura suggests that they check out a nearby art museum as something outside of the norm. While Johnny is out of his element among the artsy crowd, Laura holds her own and is able to keep with the conversation about the scultpures. The people in the museum are unaware that the Moloids are digging deep below the property. Accessing the ventilation system, the Moloids climb up above the show room and begin eyeing the statues.
At that moment "Laura" excuses herself to go to the bathroom where she changes back into her natural form. Lyja needs a moment to rest after maining a single shape for so long. Hearing a noise from the vents, Lyja turns into a fly to investigate and comes across the Moloids. Curious as to what they are up to, she changes into a Moloid form to blend in with the group. As Johnny begins to wonder where his date is, the Moloids suddenly jump into the room. Thinking this is some kind of attack, Johnny flames on and tries to fend off the Moloids, but the owner of the museum begs Johnny not to use his powers or risk destroying the priceless works of art in the room. As Johnny tries to round up the Moloids, they use the device to dissolve the statues and begin collecting dust. Lyja then resumes the form of Laura Green to releive Johnny but gets caught in the blast of the device, but is unharmed.
As "Laura" seeks cover, the Human Torch rounds up the Moloids when suddenly the Mole Man arrives. The Torch demands to know what the Mole Man is up to and is shocked when his oldest foe apologizes for what happened. The Mole Man explains that his Moloids are suddenly becoming ill to some strange infection that causes them to die horribly. He explains that the Moloids subsist off elements in the ground and that the surface world has tainteir food supply with pollution and that the device was made to dissolve the statues and consume untained materials. He explains that he sent his Moloids out on a foraging mission and they misunderstood his instructions and apologizes for the confusion. Johnny offers to have Mister Fantastic look into finding a cure, but the Mole Man declines stating that this is a problem that he and his people will have to resolve. However the Mole Man warns Johnny that the surface world will have to resolve this issue in the future otherwise the sick and dying of Subterranea will rise up and it will be a war that no side will win. As the Mole Man departs, Johnny offers the aid of the Fantastic Four if the Mole Man ever needs any help.
After the Mole Man departs, Laura returns to the room and congratulates Johnny for dealing with the situation. When the owner other gallery protests about the damage done, Laura reminds him that Johnny saved them all. As they begin to walk away the owner persists, prompting Lyja to look back and morph her face into a monsterous form, frightening him to silence without Johnny noticing. With their night over, Laura remarks about how much fun they had and Johnny suggests they do it again. This troubles Lyja because sooner or later she is going to have to reveal to Johnny the truth.
A dream turns into disaster when Johnny Storm & Laura Green (who's really that Skrull-babe Lyja) are attacked by the Mole Man's subterraneans!
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- The events of this story occur simultaneously of those in Avengers: Unplugged #3.
- Lyja has been posing as Laura Green since Fantastic Four #393 in order to keep close to her ex-husband after he ended their relationship. Johnny learns the truth in Fantastic Four #414.
- The reason for Ben's "mood" in this story is a side effect of the device he and the rest of the Fantastic Four recovered in Fantastic Four #403-404 that allows Ben to change back and forth between his human and Thing forms.
- The appearance of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center should be considered a topical reference relative to the date of publication, per the Sliding Timescale. The Twin Towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. As of 2015 the Modern Age begins after the year 2001 due to the nature of the Sliding Timescale.
- The plot thread to this story involving the Moloids becoming sick due to poisoned minerals is eventually dropped as it is not addressed again, when the Moloids are seen again they are no longer afflicted by this problem.
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