Appearing in "The Origin of the Fantastic Four"
Synopsis for "The Origin of the Fantastic Four"
A two-page retelling of the origin of the Fantastic Four. How they went on an unauthorized rocket test and were exposed to cosmic rays that mutated them into the heroes they are now.
Appearing in "Future: Tense (Or... The One Who Doesn't Know!"
Characters in Flashback:
- Carina Walters (Only in flashback)
- Avengers (Only in flashback)
- Hawkeye (Only in flashback)
- Hercules (Only in flashback)
- Wonder Man (Only in flashback)
- Ms. Marvel (Only in flashback)
- Captain Marvel (Only in flashback)
- Moondragon (Only in flashback)
- Black Widow (Only in flashback)
- Black Panther (Only in flashback)
- Scarlet Witch (Only in flashback)
- Vision (Only in flashback)
- Quicksilver (Only in flashback)
- Thor (Only in flashback)
- Iron Man (Only in flashback)
- Beast (Only in flashback)
- Wasp (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Future: Tense (Or... The One Who Doesn't Know!"
Prologue: Past: Imperfect!
Years ago the 31st century tyrant known as Korvac discovered the home of Galactus following a near defeat at the hands of the Guardians of the Galaxy. There he accessed the knowledge of the Worldship and gained godlike powers. Recreating himself in human form, Korvac then sought out the ideal mate, finding it in Carina Walters in the modern age of Earth. There he met opposition from both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy who came to stop him. When he used his powers to slay most of them, it appeared that Korvac was moved by Carina's sudden fear of him and seemingly committed suicide after undoing all the damage he had done.
However in reality the reasons where far more complex: Light years away from the battle between Korvac and his foes, Galactus realized that someone had been tampering with his computers. Tracing the source of the intrusion, Galactus then utilized the Ultimate Nullifier firing a beam to Earth. This action was detected by the Time Variance Authority, who were horrified by what sort of paperwork this would create.
During his battle, Korvac detected the great power that was coming to destroy him. Hoping Carina could help him, he realized that she does not trust him. So in order to save his own existence, Korvac implanted an idea in the mind of Thor and then sent out a gene packet into time and space so that his mind and powers would be passed on through his ancestors so that he could be reborn with all his power. When Korvac seemingly died and Carina later attacked the Avengers and the Guardians, Thor followed the impulse planted in his mind by Korvac and slew her. This was met with much delight from the TVA who dimensions away were glad the problem could resolve itself before there was too much paperwork to complete...
In the distant future of the 31st Century the Guardians of the Galaxy are battling an army of Badoon warriors. At the end of the battle, Starhawk suddenly shouts in pain and falls from the sky. When he fellow Guardians ask what is wrong, he tells them he doesn't know. When they press for answers, he angrily explains that he suddenly has no knowledge of their timeline. He tells them that his last precognative thoughts were of Michael Korvac before his thoughts snapped closed. After some debate over if Korvac is still alive, Martinex asks if they should enlist the aid of the Avengers again. Starhawk says that they will not be enough this time and suggests that they go back in time to the modern age in the hopes that his precognative abilities return. The Guardians then return to their space station, Drydock, and set it to travel back in time. As they flow through the timestream, Starhawk gets a vision of a timeline where Galactus was about to consume the entire universe and notices how the disaster was averted by the Fantastic Four, and believes that they are the allies they need to seek out in their quest.
Arriving above the Earth in the modern age, Vance Astro teleports his teammates, having to stay behind to avoid contact and psychic feedback with his counterpart in this era. Martinex, Starhawk, Charlie-27, Nikki and Youndu all materialize within the Four Freedoms Plaza where they petition an audience with the Fantastic Four with their receptionist Roberta. They are quickly granted time with the Fantastic Four who are busy working in Reed Richards' lab. After Starhawk explains the circumstances, Reed agrees to help them stop Michael Korvac before it is too late. After gathering equipment from Reed's lab, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Fantastic Four are teleported back aboard Drydock where Reed begins working on a device that will allow them to track Korvac. Utilizing components from the Skrull Sub-Photonic Spectro-Analyzer, Reed constructs a massive device to help them track their target. He also constructs a Time-Redundancy/Probability Field generator so that Vance Astro can join them on their mission on Earth. However the device is massive, so in order to bring it with them, Reed calls upon the Henry Pym of the Avengers to use his control over Pym Particles to shrink the device to a hand-held size.
After sending Dr. Pym back to the west coast, the heroes utilize the Spectro-Analyzer to track Korvac's energy source. Finding a reading in Australia, they all teleport to the planet surface where the encounter the Aborigine mutant known as Gateway. Determining that he is not the one the seek, they find a young woman named Jaboa Murphy, Korvac's ancestor in this era, walking across the Australian outback. They note that she is the one they are looking for when she dazedly walks across a pond. When the Guardians and the Fantastic Four charge at her, she fends them off with a force bold. Reed tries to contain her, but she also manages to blast free of him as well. When Johnny and Martinex try to barrage her with fire and ice, she redirects the ice onto Johnny snuffing out his flame. She then grabs one of Yondu's arrows out of the air and impales Martinex with it. Seeing that the battle is not faring well, Starhawk decides to swap places with his wife Aleta to utilize her powers in battle. Soon both Aleta and the Invisible Woman are bombarding Jaboa with energy projectiles. When the rest of the heroes pile on, Korvac's personality comes to the fore and incapacitates them all with a blast. Reed manages to avoid being knocked out, and decides to use his ace in the hole: Before Dr. Pym left, he had the scientist shrink down his Time-Platform so that he could carry it in his picket. Reed then uses it to travel a few minutes back in time.
Having scanned Gateway and determining that he has teleportational powers, he asks the Aborigine to teleport him to Queens, New York. There, Reed uses the Time-Platform to send himself back in time to the battle between the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Korvac. He then catches the beams of the Ultimate Nullifier into the Time Platform and then returns to the present, then teleports back to Australia just moments before Korvac unleashed his powers upon his friends. There Reed releases the beams from the Ultimate Nullifier and directs them at Jaboa. Realizing he is on the bring of destruction, Korvac flees her body, sending his genetic packet further into the future. With the battle over, the Guardians of the Galaxy consider killing Jaboa in order to prevent Korvac from being born in the future, but decide against it. After the Guardians return to their own era, the Fantastic Four are visited by a member of the Time Variance Authority. The agent tells Richards that his use of the Time-Platform was unauthorized and demands that he surrenders it. Ben gets into the agent's face, but Reed tells Ben to hand over the time machine, pointing out that he has a duplicate back at their headquarters. Ben shoves it into the hands of the TVA agent, causing him to fall over backwards. With their mission over, the Fantastic Four have Gateway teleport them back home.
Appearing in "Ashes to Ashes"
Synopsis for "Ashes to Ashes"
Just above Earth's orbit, a ball of energy streaks towards Earth and suddenly dissipates over the state of Colorado. This phenomenon is detected by technicians at Advanced Idea Mechanics. Determining that the energy source is cosmic in nature and is similar to that of their long lost Cosmic Cube, they decide to investigate things further...
The next day, Marsha Rosenberg and her sister Annie have returned to Denver where she hopes to finally clean out the apartment she used to share with her boyfriend Owen Reese, AKA the Molecule Man. Going up to the apartment alone, Marsha is shocked when she sees Owen inside. This comes as a complete surprised and the two are happily reunited. Owen explains that after he and the Beyonder merged into a Cosmic Cube he was eventually expelled from it, stripped of his powers and returned to Earth.
As Owen tells her this he is unaware that Klaw, an agent of AIM, is listening from the window outside. Reporting to his masters, the agents of AIM tell him that Owen Reese must be collected at all costs and the woman is expendable. Klaw then blasts through the window and tosses Marsha outside to get at his target. Marsha survives the fall by turning herself into volcanic rock before she lands in the cab of a pick-up truck below. As Klaw tries to leave on a hover vehicle, Marsha destroys it by throwing a truck tire at it. In response Klaw creates a sound construct shaped like a massive armored robot. Volcana battles it, but upon striking the creature, the sonic feedback sends her reeling. As Klaw tries to get away, Marsha manages to disarm the sound "robot" of his ax, and uses it against the construct -- destroying it.
When Marsha tries to attack Klaw again, he creates a cohesive sound trap on her arm that begins coiling around her body. Marsha then changes into her plasma form to try and burn it off, but it doesn't work and she eventually passes out when it cuts off her oxygen supply. Klaw is about to kill her when his masters in AIM order him to stop. Having been monitoring the battle, they have decided that they have a use for Volcana and orders him to take her prisoner as well. Klaw is about to balk at this, but remembers how AIM recovered him after his lost battle against Quasar and implanted a device in his sonic blaster that could kill him if he disobeys. Deciding that following orders is what should be done, Klaw uses his powers to cause Marsha vertigo. However before she loses consciousness, she wills herself into yet another form -- volcanic ash -- which gives her the advantage of surprise against Klaw. But her foe blasts her aside, knocking her close to Owen.
This proves to be Klaw's mistake because in close proximity with her lover, Marsha begins to glow. Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light and when it clears, Owen has now regained his powers and become the Molecule Man again. He then uses his newly restored powers to put a vacuum tank around Klaw rendering him harmless in its soundless confines. Owen explains to Marsha that before he merged with the Beyonder he had transferred a portion of his power into her. Suddenly Klaw breaks free and resumes his attack, stating that he is forced to do so by AIM. The Molecule Man fends off his attacks, but then uses his powers to destroy the sonic blaster, freeing Klaw from AIM's control. Although he is free, Klaw still wants revenge and uses his powers to cause the pavement under Owen to explode, knocking him out. Marsha tries to defend her boyfriend, but Klaw grabs her and blasts her with his sonic abilities. Because she is still in her volcanic ash form this causes her to disburse all over the place. Klaw then leaves the scene.
As Owen recovers from the attack he realizes his arm is broken, when suddenly Marsha reconstitutes herself and returns to human form before passing out from the strain. Marsha awakens in her old apartment and Owen is there to greet her. With his arm in a sling he explains that while his powers are back they are back to their old limitations where he cannot affect anything organic. However Marsha is horrified that Owen was ready to use his powers to kill someone, and when he begins to revel in his restored powers, it gives her lots to think of. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door and Marsha hears her mother calling out to her. Marsha tells Owen that he should leave and tells him that she has a lot to think about. Heartbroken the Molecule Man leaves the scene, leaving Marsha with her thoughts of their shattered relationship.
Appearing in "A Matter of Honor"
- Reptyl (Apparent death)
- Sl'gur't (Statue)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "A Matter of Honor"
The Super-Skrull has returned home to the Skrull empire hailed as a hero of his people following their victory over the Kree. He then meets with Empress Sy'bll, where he expresses his uneasiness about being hailed as a hero when his honor has been compromised. Sy'bll realizes that he is talking about the subterfuge they employed involving Cap'n Reptyl, who was left believing that he has slain the Super-Skrull. Sy'bll tells him that while it is distasteful, it was necessary for the war effort, telling him even now that Skrull propagandists are already sending out to other worlds that the Super-Skrull seen in public today was merely an impostor. Sy'bll then tells Kl'rt that his survival must remain a secret by her orders.
The Super-Skrull agrees to obey his empress, but later before the massive statue honoring the Skrull god Sl'Gur'T he prays for guidance. He eventually decides that his honor is more important and as a Skrull warrior he must defend it. In deep space Cap'n Reptyl is fuming upon learning that his former crew member, Clumsy Foulup, now rules the Kree empire. Suddenly, the Super-Skrull is detected heading their way. The ships weapons fail to stop him and the Super-Skrull then incapacitates the ship and then rends his way inside to face Cap'n Reptyl. Kl'rt then grabs the space pirate by the throat and pulls him out into the void of space where he chokes him to death.
The Super-Skrull then immediately returns to his empress to confess to what he has done. Sy'bll is furious but will not have him executed, instead she puts him under the command of Commander K'Targh's Imperial Starfleet until such a time as Kl'rt is deemed worthy of other duties. Dismissed from his ruler, Super-Skrull flies away. As he passes some Skrull children they marvel at the decorated war hero.
The Korvac Quest -Part 1 (of 4)
The Guardians of the Galaxy journey through time and space to enlist the help of the premiere time travelers - the Fantastic Four. Continued next week in the Thor Annual.
Origin of the Fantastic Four
- This story recaps the origin of the Fantastic Four first seen in Fantastic Four #1. Over the years as Marvel has continued to publish stories eventually they had to institute a Sliding Timescale as a means of slowing down the advance of time in the Marvel Universe over the length of publications in real time. This was to prevent ageing their characters quickly as well as updating dated plot concepts, generalizing real life events or dates that are mentioned in various stories. When Fantastic Four #1 was published in 1961, Reed's spaceship is specifically referred to as a rocket, and his intentions for his mission is to beat the Soviet Union in the space race. Contextually, the story was published during the height of the US/Soviet Space Race, which saw both countries competing to see which one could develop manned space flights. Since then, many retellings of the Fantastic Four's origin have changed the details of Reed Richards' space flight, updating concepts so that they were not considered dated more modern readers. Such as:
- While Fantastic Four #1 implies that Reed was trying to reach the moon, Fantastic Four #2 states that he was attempting to reach Mars. Other stories since then have generalized where his destination was supposed to be.
- Fantastic Four #197 goes on to state that it was not just cosmic rays that caused the Fantastic Four to get their powers. It states that sunspot activity caused flaring through the Van Allen Belts causing an increase in neutron activity. The combination of this and the cosmic rays caused the mutations.
- 20 years later in Fantastic Four #236, the origin of the Fantastic Four was updated, it was stated that Reed's experimental ship was intended to travel to the edge of the solar system and while it needed a rocket booster to reach escape velocity from Earth's atmosphere it relied on a Star Drive to reach its destination. This tale also goes on to expand on how the quartet were mutated.
- The version of the story featured in this issue states that Reed was testing a Starship and that he had to test the vessel independently in order to gain approval from NASA. It explains the cosmic ray storm on general terms without the additional facts presented in other later stories.
- Fantastic Four #358 published in 1991 states that the this "Star Drive" was intended to bring them into hyperspace in order to visit other solar systems.
- The Thing is depicted here with dinosaur-like skin, he maintains this appearance until he eventually he developed his trademark rocky appearance by Fantastic Four #10. Marvel Two-In-One #50 went on to explain that the Thing's form continued to mutate after his initial transformation.
- All references to that the modern age of Earth-616 takes place in the 20th Century should be considered Topical References per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- The prologue of this story gives a brief recap of the original Korvac Saga which took place in Avengers #159, 167-168, 170-177. The segments involving Galactus using the Ultimate Nullifier and the TVA are unique to this story and were not depicted in the original saga.
- The passage of time between the "Death' of Korvac in Avengers #177 and this story is about 4 years of Marvel Time per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. 
- Galactus' appearance here happens after the Fantastic Four seemingly destroyed Galactus by tricking him into eating the planet Poppup in Fantastic Four #175 and he reconstituted himself (As seen in a flashback in Fantastic Four #210).
- The narrative of this story states that the Guardians of the Galaxy appear here prior to their appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy #1, this places their appearance following the events of Marvel Two-In-One #69 where Vance Astro traveled back in time to prevent his Earth-616 counterpart from joining the space program and being lost in space for over a century.
- Later on in the story, it states that this tale takes place before the Fantastic Four's battle with the Time Variance Authority. Placing this story as happening prior to the events of Fantastic Four #350. It should be pointed out that Ben Grimm is depicted here in his rocky-form. If this story took place prior to Fantastic Four #350, Ben Grimm was in human form at the time (since regaining his humanity Fantastic Four #326) However since Fantastic Four Annual #22, Ben has been utilizing his Thing exoskeleton (first invented by Reed in Fantastic Four #168) on occasion. One can assume that Ben is wearing it here the entire time.
- While travelling back in time, Starhawk detects the future of Earth-8810 where Galactus was attempting to consume the universe, creating a Time-Bubble that threatened to destroy everything. The Fantastic Four stopped this in Fantastic Four #337-341.
- Vance Astro has to initially stay aboard Drydock due to the fact that being in relative proximity to his Earth-616 counterpart creates psychic feedback that could destroy all reality. This was first depicted in Marvel Two-In-One #69.
- The members of the Fantastic Four were last seen in the following publications:
- Reed utilizes the Sub-Photonic Spectro-Analyizer that was given to the shortlived New Fantastic Four by the Skrull renegade De'Lila in Fantastic Four #347-349.
- The mutant teleporter Gateway was last seen in Uncanny X-Men #269 and is seen next in Wolverine Vol 2 #35.
- The Time-Platform used here is the one that is based off the one Reed first confiscated from Doctor Doom back in Fantastic Four #5. As revealed in Fantastic Four Annual #11, while Reed was forced to return the Time-Platform for diplomatic reasons, he managed to duplicate it before having to do so.
- When Reed travels back in time it is in the middle of the events of Avengers #177 just as Korvac is knocking Captain America through a window. That happens on page 11 in that specific story.
- Korvac and the Guardians of the Galaxy all appear next in Thor Annual #16.
- Reed mentions having heard of the Time Variance Authority before, the narrative states that he heard about them from Death's Head when they crossed paths in Fantastic Four #338. However in that story, Reed states that he heard of them PRIOR to this encounter with Death's Head, although there is no explanation as to how Reed could have heard of them prior to that point.
Ashes to Ashes
- Both Volcana and the Molecule Man were last seen in Fantastic Four Annual #23: Volcana while battling Moonstone and Owen after he was rejected by the Cosmic Cube.
- The reason Advanced Idea Mechanics are interested in obtaining a new Cosmic Cube related power source is because they were responsible for creating the first Cosmic Cube on Earth back in Tales of Suspense #79.
- Owen mentions that he was merged with the Beyonder to become a complete Cosmic Cube. This happened in Fantastic Four #319.
- Klaw makes his appearance following his near fatal defeat batting Quasar in Avengers: Death Trap, The Vault #1 he is later seen in Captain America #412.
- This story confirms that Owen transferred a portion of his power to Marsha in Fantastic Four #319. This possibility was first theorized by Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four Annual #23.
- Owen states that he has his original limitations from when he first got his powers. This is a reference to Fantastic Four #20, when the Molecule Man first gained his powers he could not affect objects consisting of organic material.
- The Molecule Man is next seen in Fantastic Four #372 where he is mourning the loss of Marsha. Marsha does not appear again until Incredible Hulk #442.
A Matter of Honor
- This entire story follows the end of the then recent chapter in the centuries long Kree-Skrull War which occurred between Silver Surfer Vol 3 #1-31, with specific focus on the events of Silver Surfer Vol 3 #28 where the Super-Skrull is seemingly slain by Cap'n Reptyl. As revealed later in Incredible Hulk #374, the Super-Skrull's body was recovered and revived by Skrulls that were loyal to him.
- Empress Sy'Bll was last seen in Impossible Man Summer Vacation #1 and is next seen in Infinity Gauntlet #1.
- This is the first reference of the Skrull goddess Sl'Gur'T. Her origins were explored thoroughly years later in Incredible Hercules #120.
- Cap'n Reptyl is upset that his former crewman Clumsy Foulup became leader of the Kree. As impossible as this is to believe it happened in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #29.
- Although seemingly killed here, Cap'n Reptyle evolves into a more powerful form and resurfaces again in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #57.
- Following his appearance here, Super-Skrull next appears in Incredible Hulk #374-375 where he tries to derail Rick Jones' book tour as his book "Hero" contains accounts of the Kree-Skrull War that are embarrassing to the Skrull empire.
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