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Appearing in "The New, Nefarious, and Downright Nasty Frightful Four"

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Synopsis for "The New, Nefarious, and Downright Nasty Frightful Four"

Watching television footage of the Fantastic Four's battle against the Fearsome Foresome angers the Wizard who believes these impostors are not worth of the name compared to the original Frightful Four. After smashing his television in his cell, he is fetched by some prison guards so he can play a chess match against the Morphy 3000X computer. However this is all just a ploy to allow himself to escape. The Wizard surprises them when his chessboard converts into a jet that allows him to fly out of prison. Hovering outside is an escape ship where the Wizard recovers his armor and plots to prove that the Frightful Four are the greatest foes of the Fantastic Four. Shortly thereafter the Fantastic Four and their new ally Ant-Man are watching the footage of the Wizard's daring escape from prison. Ben loses his temper and tosses a large device into their view screen. When they tell him to calm down, he tells them he can't while his former girlfriend Sharon Ventura is kept in stasis since Doctor Doom caused her to mutate out of control. With Reed apparently dead, and he is angry that Scott Lang hasn't been able to cure her based on his notes. Ben loses his temper again and tries to attack Lang, but he shrinks down to ant size to dodge out of the way. Sue and Johnny try to pull him back, but Ben only stops when he almost strikes Sharon's stasis tank by accident. Suddenly the alarm in the building goes off drawing them to the window where they see a massive red ape standing across some nearby buildings.

While the Fantastic Four leave their base to clash with this new menace, Klaw the master of sound, breaks into their headquarters and frees Sharon from her tank. Confused by her ordeal, Sharon agrees to follow Klaw as he makes his escape. On their way out they are captured by the Wizard who happens to be flying by. Meanwhile, his solid sound construct of a gorilla suddenly vanishes and when the Fantastic Four return back to their base they find Sharon has gone missing. With Klaw and the She-Thing aboard his ship, the Wizard explains that he is inducting them into his new Frightful Four. However Klaw refuses to be a mere subordinate and as such the Wizard proposes a contest to see who is fit to lead them as soon as he selects their fourth member. However Sharon suddenly detects someone else on the ship tries to jump at him. She passes through the intangible body of the Red Ghost. He explains he was passing through when he heard the Wizard's challenge and offers to partake in it as well. The Wizard then informs them that their task is to defeat one member of the Fantastic Four. Even though her mind is middled, Sharon decides that she too will participate, noticing that the more she mutates the stronger she gets.

Later back at the Four Freedoms Plaza the members of the Fantastic Four change out of their costumes and decide to have some time to themselves. While Scott and Sue decide to go out together, Ben is uninterested in palling around with Johnny. Ben hails a cab and tells him to drive around until he is ordered to stop, but the cab ride is cut short when the Wizard's ship passes over and kidnaps him in a teleportation beam. Ben soon finds himself in a room up against the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes. While the Ghost is untouchable, Ben soon finds himself swarmed by the apes who begin to mercilessly pound on him. Meanwhile, Scott and Sue are taking a carriage ride through Central Park. Sue mentions how some of the things Lang says reminds her of her late husband. Scott remarks that a former thief like himself is not in even in the same league as the late Mister Fantastic. Suddenly their night out is interrupted when they too are teleported away. Sue is brought face to face with Sharon, who is spoiling to fight and not willing to listen to reason. Accusing the Fantastic Four about forgetting about her and leaving her to be a monstrosity, Sharon Ventura lays into Sue until she is knocked out. Elsewhere, Scott finds himself face-to-face with Klaw. Stripping off his street clothes and changing into Ant-Man, Lang tries to summon ants to assist him but is shocked when they start to attack him -- little suspecting that they are solid sound constructs created by Klaw.

At that moment, Johnny is looking for clues as to where the Wizard might be hiding and decides to check out his old home, recalling where it was from earlier on in his career. When nobody answers the door, Johnny blasts his way in. There he finds what appears to be the Wizard greeting him, but this is merely a hologram to distract him while the real Wizard attacks from behind. He disorients Johnny in a pocket of non-causality and gets the better of the heroes. However when the Wizard tries to get up close and personal, his Wonder Gloves cause feedback on the pocket shocking him backward. This causes Wizard to pause and remember what stakes are at hand, as each of the other members of the Frightful Four are fighting their counterparts elsewhere in his house. However the rigged battle is starting to turn. Starting with the Thing who manages to fight off the Super-Apes. Dodging one of Peotor's magnetic blasts it strikes the Red Ghost allowing the Thing to strike him and the apes down. Sue in her weakened state is also able to channel her full power into a invisible battering ram that knocks Sharon out. While Ant-Man finds a way of dealing with Klaw by flooding the radiowave around him with static generated from his helmet, causing Klaw to keel over in agony.

The three other members of the Fantastic Four then break loose and find Johnny in the middle of his battle with the Wizard. After the Thing removes the Wizard's Wonder Gloves, the Wizard tries to escape on anti-gravity discs but finds an invisible wall blocking his path. With the battle lost, the Wizard activates his ace in the hole: a device that briefly stuns the Fantastic Four and will wipe their memories of their recent battle allowing the Wizard and his failed Frightful Four a chance to escape. When the Fantastic Four revive, Johnny recognizes that they are in the Wizard's old house, but none of them remember why they came here to begin with and decide to go home.


Continuity Notes

  • This issue the Wizard states that he legally changed his name from Bentley Wittman to "The Wizard". This is the only mention of his legal name change (other than mentions in Marvel Handbooks), as in the future he regularly answered to his birth name.
  • The continuity between this issue and Fantastic Four #384, which sources place as happening between the events of this issue, don't entirely fit. The issues being when Sharon is captured, when the Fantastic Four become aware of it, as well as when Ant-Man is hired and when they discover that his double identity. FF Unlimited Vol 1 5 shows that the Fantastic Four get home and then witness Sharon's capture, while Scott Lang is ALREADY a member of the group and they already know he's Ant-Man, which doesn't fit with the continuity of FF Vol 1 384 issue. During the subsequent battle against the Frightful Four in this story, they try to explain the entire episode by having the Fantastic Four's memories of the events erased. This doesn't help much to dispel both the continuity issues with Sharon being captured, and when the Fantastic Four hired Scott Lang and discovered he was Ant-Man. It's placement before, during or after the events of Fantastic Four Vol 1 384 is a matter of interpretation.
  • Of the members of the Frightful Four, the Wizard is the only original member in this iteration. Klaw was previously a member of from Fantastic Four #326333. He leaves the team after this but returns later in Fantastic Four #548. She-Thing returns to the group in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #29. Red Ghost is the only member that has not returned to the Frightful Four.
  • Scott Lang states that he is a "former crook", Scott was one arrested for and did time for burglary prior to reforming and becoming Ant-Man as explained in Avengers #181.
  • The Wizard uses the same home as a headquarters as his first appearance back in Strange Tales #102.

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