Appearing in "Battleground: The Baxter Building!"
- The Fantastic Four
Synopsis for "Battleground: The Baxter Building!"
The Frightful Four have just defeated the Thing and Medusa with the help of their newest member Thundra. As the male members gloat over their victory, Thundra begins to feel a twinge of pity for the Thing. This irks the Sandman, who recalls this sort of sympathy from Medusa before she betrayed their team and tries to toss the Thing high in the air so he suffers a fatal fall. Not wishing to see her foe killed, Thundra leaps in and saves Ben's life, then violently jostles the Sandman, warning him from using lethal force against a "defenseless man" again. The Wizard takes control of the situation, reminding them that they need to focus their attention on the Baxter Building and the downfall of the rest of the Fantastic Four.
Meanwhile, in the Great Refuge of the Inhumans, Johnny Storm is brought before Black Bolt and the rest of the Inhuman royal family. Johnny is angered that he was attacked outside of the city for trying to see his girlfriend Crystal. Triton and the others try to explain that there is a good reason why they wanted to detain him before he saw her, but Johnny is too angry to listen. When they point out that Crystal is at the top of a nearby tower, the Torch flames on and flies past them intent on seeing the girl he loves without further interruption. Gorgon, Karnak and Triton try to follow after him on sky-cycles, but they lose him when they get to the tower. Thinking he must have slipped by somehow, they rush inside where they find no trace of Johnny Storm anywhere. Suddenly, Gorgon realizes what happened when his cloven feet detect an increase in temperature in the floor. As they predicted, Johnny is burning his way up to the top of the tower between the walls to evade capture. When he finally gets to the top, an exhausted Human Torch begs to know why Crystal is trying to hide from him. Unable to keep the truth from Johnny any longer, Crystal decides to show him what is going on and steps aside. What Johnny sees behind Crystal shocks him.
Back at the Baxter Building, Reed Richards is busy working on an experiment but his mind wanders. He keeps thinking of the constant fights he has been having with his wife, Johnny's sudden departure, and Ben's own depressed state. Losing his cool, Reed angrily tosses a flask full of highly unstable radioactive particles, realizing too late the hazard he is creating. Luckily he manages to catch the flask before it can hit the ground and explode. Hearing the elevator approaching their headquarters, Reed decides to see who it is, hoping it is one of his teammates. But when the doors open he finds it apparently empty, when Reed enters the elevator car he is suddenly ambushed by the Sandman who was hiding on the ceiling in his sand form. The two struggle with one another, but ultimately the Sandman wins by smothering Reed into unconsciousness. The rest of the Frightful Four soon enter with their other prisoners, and the Trapster uses his paste gun to bind Reed along with Medusa and Ben.
With their foes accounted for, the Wizard leads his team into Reed's lab for what he believes is the ultimate victory. While they are taking a moment to marvel at the technology, suddenly one of Reed's weapons goes off. Thinking that the Sandman had accidentally set it off, the Trapster and his ally almost come to blows over accusations. The Wizard stops them and points out women's footprints in the Trapster's paste. Realizing that they are not alone, the Sandman blankets the room with sand particles, revealing Sue Richards and her son Franklin who were hiding invisibly in the room.
Having to drop her cloak, Sue asks the Frightful Four to not harm her child while they battle. The Wizard agrees to honor this request and his team attack. They are held at bay thanks to an invisible force field projected by Sue. She finally stands down when the Wizard decides to rescind his promise not to hurt Franklin, despite the protests by Thundra. As soon as she drops her force field, Sue is gummed up by the Trapster as well. The Wizard then gloats about how no one can stop him, unaware that Ben is slowly starting to wake up. The Thing feels some force moving through his mind and when he wakes he spots his godson looking at him. For the briefest moment, Franklin's eyes begin to glow. Seeing that the Thing is waking up, the Sandman raises the alarm. The Wizard decides to respond by trying to blast his enemy with a Cyclo-Ray, but unwilling to let her partners kill, Thundra turns on the Frightful Four. While she is busy fighting the men, Ben manages to break free from his bonds. He then frees Reed, Sue, and Medusa.
The four then turn their attention to members of the Frightful Four: Medusa defeating the Trapster, Sue against the Sandman, and Reed Against the Wizard. During the course of the battle, Reed tells Sue to get Franklin and get to safety. Refusing to abandon the others in battle, Sue informs her husband that Franklin is safe behind an invisible force field she has erected around the child. As the Thing and Thundra fight it out, the Amazon realizes that the fight is a losing one and knocks Ben aside. She then breaks a hole in the wall and the Frightful Four quickly flee in the Wizard's anti-gravity ship.
In the aftermath of the battle, Reed and Sue get into an argument over her place on the team. Fed up of being seen merely as the mother of their child, Sue decides that she is going to leave Reed. As the exchanges gets heated, Reed tells her if she wants to go, then go. Sue decides to take him at his word and walks out, although the couple instantly regrets each other's harsh words, but are both too stubborn to admit it. Coming to grips with the entire display, Reed tells Ben and Medusa that they are going to go and get Johnny back and that no matter what, the Fantastic Four will endure.
The finish of the Frightful Four!
- The members of the Frightful Four are particularly antagonistic toward Medusa as she was a founding member of the team, joining the group when it first formed in Fantastic Four #36. As revealed in X-Men First Class Vol 2 #15 her part in the team was manipulated by the Wizard. She last was a willing member of the group in Fantastic Four #43. Since has since thwarted the group on two occasions: in Marvel Super-Heroes #15 and Fantastic Four #94 respectively.
- This issue marks the second time (in continuity) that Franklin physically manifests his powers. The last time was in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #4 where he causes a teddy bear to teleport from his crib into his mother's hands.
- Sue quits the team here and officially separates from Reed. The couple had been having marital problems since Fantastic Four #126. She remains estranged from the husband until Fantastic Four #149. She officially rejoins the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #159.
- This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.
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