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The Mole Man

Appearing in "Where the Sun Dares Not Shine!"

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Synopsis for "Where the Sun Dares Not Shine!"

The Thing arrives at the ruins of the Reed and Sue's ill-fated child-rearing home, now nothing more than a crater, in the hopes of travelling the tunnels below to Subterranea to confront the Mole Man. Ben believes that the Fantastic Four's oldest foe may have the key to curing Alicia of her blindness. After recounting the team's last encounter with the Mole Man,[1] Ben begins to climb down into the tunnel. Meanwhile, Johnny is still lamenting over the departure of his girlfriend Crystal, this time in Central Park. When some young people attempt to approach him, the Torch flames on and flies away in the hopes of getting some privacy. Returning to the Baxter Building, Johnny is waiting for the elevator when he is suddenly confronted by the Fantastic Four's landlord, Walter Collins. This time, Collins has a court order demanding the Fantastic Four vacate the property. Having no patience for dealing with Collins, the Torch burns the documents Collins is frantically waving around. Going upstairs to the team headquarters, Johnny soon becomes worried about Ben's trip to Subterranea, and fears the Mole Man might be involved.

Johnny calls Reed and Sue who are at Whisper Hill paying a visit to their son Franklin who is under the care of their hired nanny Agatha Harkness. Reed answers the call and correctly deduces that Ben likely went to the ruins of their former house and tells Johnny to meet them there in the next half hour.

Meanwhile, deep below the Earth, the Thing searches around for the Mole Man when he comes across a woman and some soldiers being attacked by a strange beast. Ben steps in and fights the creature to a stand-still. The woman he seemingly rescued introduces herself as Kala, queen of the Neitherworld. When she explains that they are Atlanteans, the Thing gets confused because Kala and her people look nothing like the Sub-Mariner. Kala explains to Ben that her people's ancestors were once part of Atlantis before it was smothered in a tidal wave. Their island was saved thanks to a dome that was erected, saving them all while the island sank below the Earth's surface. She then explains that she is on a journey to meet with her beloved: the Mole Man! Hoping that by saving Kala's life the Mole Man will be willing to help him cure Alicia's blindness, Ben asks her to take him to his old foe, a request that Kala gladly agrees to provide.

While on the surface, Johnny is waiting for his teammates when the Fantasti-Car lands. Johnny is disturbed when he learns that Reed and Sue have been arguing. When Reed insists that Sue should have stayed behind to look after Franklin, Sue dismisses this, telling her husband that her place is beside the Fantastic Four. Reed concedes and the trio fly down in the tunnel to look for Ben, as they go, Sue apologizes for the fight they have just had. Back below, Ben and Kala's party cross paths with some Moloids. When they attack, Ben is knocked into a sticky webbing and quickly realizes that he had walked into a trap, that Kala had lured him into the clutches of the Mole Man. The Mole Man and Kala explain that following the death of Kala's previous husband, Baxi, they formed a union to unite Subterranea. They also show Ben that another would be ruler -- Tyrannus -- has been rendered as a nearly mindless lackey of the couple. The Mole Man then begins explain his next plot: flooding the surface world with lava to wipe out all that live up there.

Ben struggles to get free from the web, but it is set to try and electrocute him if he tries. Regardless of the pain, Ben manages to break free and after fighting off an army of Moloids begins heading back to the surface to gather his teammates in the hopes of stopping the Mole Man and Kala's plans. When Kala asks if they should stop the Thing, the Mole Man gloats that the web also has created an aura around the Thing to make him look like a horrific monster. Just as the Mole Man had planned, when Ben runs into his teammates, they mistake him for an attacking monster. The Torch then rashly flames on and blasts Ben with his flame, while the Mole Man and Kala watch on.

Solicit Synopsis

The ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing fights alone! And - some of the most mind-staggering John Buscema artwork yet! Miss it not!


Continuity Notes

  • The ruins that Ben use to travel to Subterranea are what is left of a "home" purchased by Sue in Fantastic Four #85. They learned that it was the staging ground of one of the Mole Man's latest invasion of Earth, and battled him between Fantastic Four #8890, resulting in the destruction of the house. The Thing recounts that previous battle in this issue.
  • Johnny is lamenting over the loss of his girlfriend Crystal, whom he had been dating since Fantastic Four #64. Crystal was forced to return home to Attilan in Fantastic Four #105 because the pollution from the outside world was affecting her health.
  • Kala tells the origins of her people as seen in Tales of Suspense #43. She attempted to kidnap various scientists to create weapons for a invasion of the surface. She was thwarted by Iron Man who convinced her to marry her captain-of-the-guard Baxu. Kala states that Baxu died not long after, although the circumstances surrounding his death are unspecified. Iron Man Annual #12 goes on to state that prior to her appearance here, Kala was exiled from her domain by her people.
  • Kala recounts the origins of her people originally stated in Tales of Suspense #43. The sinking of her dominion was later incorporated into a much grander event commonly referred to as the Great Cataclysm that saw the kingdom of Atlantis sink into the ocean. The Cataclysm was first depicted in Strange Worlds #2. Eternals #2 states that Atlantis was sunk when the Celestials returned to Earth to punish their creations the Deviants who had taken over most of the world and enslaved most of humanity.
  • Reed and Sue's argument is a precursor to marital troubles that lead to Sue's separation from Reed in Fantastic Four #130.

Publication Notes

  • This issue features a letters page, Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Alan James Scally, T.E. Pouncey, Lynette Eliton, Frank Balazs, F.J. Hayes III, and Rickey M. Lawler.

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