Appearing in "And Then -- the Invaders!"
- Invaders (Only appearance)
- Power Man (Recap)
- U.S. Army (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- General Fitz-Hugh
- New York City
- Earth-76611 (Only appearance)
- Earth-TRN558 (First appearance)
Synopsis for "And Then -- the Invaders!"
The Fantastic Four are in a training session to see how well the team meshes now that Ben's powers are derived from an exo-suit instead of cosmic rays since he lost his powers fighting the Hulk. During the fight, Ben manages to break out the floor causing the group to crash to the level beneath them, much to Reed's annoyance because they are short on money. Ben tells them that all they need to do is use Dr. Doom's time machine and get some money, and enters into Reed's lab. As the group follows Ben into the next room they are surprised to find a number of Nazi soldiers waiting for them. Surprised by the Fantastic Four, the Nazis open fire on them, however, they prove to be no match for their super-powers and are easily defeated and tied up for questioning later.
Upon investigating the lab, Reed notices that a cylinder of Vibranium he was examining has gone missing and theorizes that it was possibly knocked through Dr. Doom's time machine during Power Man's rampage through his lab a few days earlier. Checking his time machine, Reed's theories are confirmed as the machine has been set to the year 1946. This come as a shock to the group because the war was over by 1944, a fact that Reed and Ben know for a fact having served in the US military during World War II. They begin to puzzle out the fact that the Vibranium must have been sent back to some previous point in history. They are then visited by the Watcher, confirming to Reed that their pasts are all in peril, however, the Watcher will not talk having vowed never to interfere with humanity again.
Reed puts together a time scope so that they can pin point the time in which history had changed. Scanning back to 1946 they are shocked to see the Nazi army storming Cleveland, Ohio. Scanning other areas they find that New York City, London England, and Moscow are under Nazi control. Scanning back further they find that Lower Manhattan was taken over by the Nazis in 1944, and the channel Landing in 1943. They finally find the actually point of divergence in 1942, somehow utilizing the Vibranium sent into the past the Nazis had perfected their V-2 Rockets earlier and completed a successful attack on London. Calculating the probable point in time when the Nazis obtained the Vibranium, the Fantastic Four set the time machine to early 1942 and hop on.
In 1942, in a secret Allied base, the Invaders have gathered to discuss their plan to attack Castle Cherbelle, a location intelligence has indicated is where the Nazis are busy creating new secret weapons in their bid to take over all of Europe. When the Fantastic Four materialize in the middle of the room, the Invaders think they are Nazi spies. Insulted and enraged at being called a Nazi, Ben attacks them causing a fight between the Fantastic Four and the Invaders until Mr. Fantastic manages to break up the fight. Explaining who they are, they offer their aid to help the Invaders, pointing out that they have a common goal. Although they are not quick to believe the FF's story about time travel, they agree to let them join the fight since what they speak of matches the intelligence they have collected.
Riding to Castle Cherbelle within the Sub-Mariner's airship when they are attacked by Nazi Stukas, but Namor's craft has superior speed and easily flies away from them. Along the way they spot the image of the Watcher in the clouds, confirming to Richards that they have the right idea in mind. On arrival the group silently sneaks into the Castle. Reed has to quash his feelings of jealousy when the Sub-Mariner attempts to make a pass at Sue, and then remarks at how neither Sub-Mariner nor Captain America would recall their meeting, before splitting the two groups into teams of three to destroy the Nazi operation.
Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Girl and Namor stumble upon a factory where highly advanced tanks and death rays are being constructed that are years in advance of any weapons the Nazis should be using. In their attack, the Sub-Mariner smashes through one of the castle walls causing a flood of water to immerse the entire factory, destroying everything in sight. Namor then pulls Reed and Sue to safety.
Meanwhile, Johnny, Captain America and Bucky stumble upon a battalion of Nazi soldiers and are confronted by Baron Zemo. While Johnny deals with the Nazi soldiers, Captain America clashes with Baron Zemo, striking a barrel of his Adhesive X causing it to spill on the villain's head gluing his hood to his skull for all time. Furious, Baron Zemo strikes Cap with a wrench and manages to escape, vowing to get revenge on Captain America in the future.
While elsewhere in the castle, Ben, the original Human Torch and his partner Toro come across the Nazis' Vibranium-enhanced V-2 rockets. As the Torch and Toro trash the rockets some of the Nazis manage to launch one of them towards London. Ben manages to jump onto the rocket and tries to redirect it. He manages to redirect it toward the castle, destroying it.
Thinking that he's been killed, Ben wakes up to find himself back in 1976 with his fellow teammates and realizes that Reed had built a device to return them to the present once their mission was accomplished. Back in their own time, Reed points out that they only recovered half the cylinder of Vibranium but considers the mission accomplished. The group goes off to celebrate. Ben tells them that he will catch up with them once he has taken off his exo-suit.
As he's doing so he notices that the Watcher is still in their room. Ben realizes that their mission in the past is far from finished, and he decides to go back to 1942 and finish the job by himself.
This story is continued in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1.
- All references to the "modern" age taking place in the 1960s and 1970s should be considered topical references relative to the date of publication per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- Ben is wearing an exosuit of his rocky form. He was restored to human form in Fantastic Four #167 and obtained his exosuit in Fantastic Four #169. He wears it until Fantastic Four #175 when his powers are restored.
- This story clarifies an ongoing issue with who owns Doctor Doom's time machine. The time machine first appeared in Fantastic Four #5. Fantastic Four #19 states that it was confiscated by Mister Fantastic and kept in the Baxter Building. Yet Avengers #56 showed that it was still located at Doctor Doom's castle in upstate New York. This story explains that Reed initially confiscated the device, but due to Doom's diplomatic immunity, was forced to return it, but not before he was able to duplicate the device.
- This story references the Vibranium that was knocked into the time machine by Power Man in Fantastic Four #169.
- This story states that both Reed and Ben fought in World War II. This was previously established in Fantastic Four #11. However per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, as time has slid forward Reed and Ben's past military service has been retconned so that they were no longer serving during World War II. Instead their military service has been generalized so as not to prematurely age the characters. As such any reference made by Reed and Ben that states they were fighting in the war during this story should be ignored.
- Some facts about the Watcher's appearance here:
- The Watcher is forbidden to interfere in the actions of others due to a solemn vow of non-interference. This was due to the fact that the last time the Watchers got involved in the lives of other races it led to the Prosilicans race annihilating itself, as seen in Tales of Suspense #53 and expanded upon in Original Sin #0.
- The Watcher refuses to do more than just appear here after being punished for his many interference with Earth. He was put on trail by his peers in Captain Marvel #39.
- Ben mentions their encounter with the alternate universe indexed as Earth-721 where Reed Richards became the Thing. They last interacted with that world in Fantastic Four #160–163.
- This story has a number of complex time travel related issues. As revealed at the end of this story the Fantastic Four only manage to recover half of the cylinder of Vibranium. As explained in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1 the Vibranium was split in half and went into two different time continuums. Official Marvel Index to Fantastic Four #10 states the events that occur in 1942 in this story happen in a "pocket universe" or alternate reality. Future iterations of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe refer to the events happening in this story as happening in an alternate timeline while the events in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1 actually happened in 1942 of Earth-616. The general rule about Time Travel in the Marvel Universe is that when one causes enough changes in the past, they create a divergent reality, which may or may not overwrite the existing reality until events can occur in such a way that events continue on their intended course. Based on this logic, the following can be mapped out:
- As identified in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1, the Vibranium cylinder was split into two components in the time stream sending it to two different locations in the past. This gave the Nazis an advantage to win World War II. The longer the Vibranium remained in the past, the longer it threatened to change history and overlay Earth-616 with this new reality. (A similar scenario occurred in Avengers / Invaders #8).
- When the Fantastic Four went back in time to France circa 1942, their encounter with the Invaders created a divergence given that they interacted with Captain America (Fantastic Four #25, the Sub-Mariner (Fantastic Four #4), and the Human Torch (Fantastic Four Annual #4) in the modern age. As such these version of the Invaders were initially from Earth-TRN577 but when the Fantastic Four arrived, it created a divergence where the FF and Invaders prevented the Nazis from winning. Marvel also has not assigned a reality number to this world either, as such it will be referred to as Earth-TRN558.
- The other half of the cylinder, seen in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1 ended up in the year 1942 of Earth-616. When Ben went back in time to recover it, it did not create a divergent reality because history resumed its normal course. None of the individuals he interacted with (namely the Liberty Legion) had previously met the Thing. As such those events are part of Earth-616 history. This is confirmed in all the entries pertaining to members of the Liberty Legion featured in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Golden Age 2004.
- The Sub-Mariner states that the Invaders had briefly battled the Red Skull. This places the divergent as happening after the formation of the Liberty Legion in Invaders #5–6 and Marvel Premiere #30.
- Reed refers how the Sub-Mariner had been a rival for Sue's love since they first met him in Fantastic Four #4. This was made a null issue following Reed and Sue's marriage in Fantastic Four Annual #3, but reared its ugly head again recently in Fantastic Four #148–149 when Reed and Sue were separated, but they eventually reconciled.
- Johnny makes reference to Bucky being dead by the end of the war. As depicted in Avengers #4, Bucky seemingly perished stopping Baron Zemo's from launching a buzz-bomb on Europe. However in Captain America (Vol. 5) #8 it was revealed that Bucky survived and was recovered by the Russians who turned them into their operative the Winter Soldier, a guise he operated from in secret for many decades.
- Baron Zemo gets Adhesive X on his mask, permanently fusing it to his face, much like what happened on Earth-616 in Avengers #6.
- The Thing makes a comment about Toro's relationship with the Torch because the youth keeps on calling the Torch his "pappy". The Torch adopted Toro in Human Torch #2, and Toro has looked up to the android as a father figure since.