Appearing in "The Eternity Machine"

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Synopsis for "The Eternity Machine"

Following one of Gregory Gideon's drones, the Human Torch is led to Gideon's factory on Long Island where he spots the incapacitated body of the Dragon Man. When the drone suddenly flies into a port in the ground, Johnny tries to blast after it. But while his back is turned the Dragon Man revives and attacks the young man, quickly knocking him out so Gideon's guards can capture him as well. Deep in the bowels of the factory, Gregory Gideon prepares for an experiment. On a lab table beneath his Eternity Machine are Reed, Sue and their son Franklin, while in cells nearby are Medusa and the Thing. When the guards and Dragon Man return with the Human Torch, the Dragon Man begins acting out when it sees Sue on the table. Gideon keeps the creature in line with a sonic transmitter that he had implanted into the beast's head. When the Thing tried to break out of his cell, he is repelled by the radiated electron bars that keep him contained. As Johnny is also put into one of these cells, Medusa demands to know why Gideon is seeking revenge against the Fantastic Four and what his plans are.

Gideon decides to indulge the Inhuman and explains that after his last defeat against the Fantastic Four, [1] he decided to renounce his fortune and spend time with his family. Deciding on going on one more family vacation before doing so, their private plane flew too close a nuclear bomb test out in the Atlantic Ocean. The resulting explosion caused their plane to crash, killing the pilot and Gideon's wife. Gregory and his son Thomas were saved by a Russian ship that was part of the test. However, when he was brought back to the United States for medical treatment the doctors informed Gideon that he and his son had been exposed to too much radiation and his body was now breaking down from radiation decay due to acute radiation syndrome. While Thomas was expected to live a little longer, doctors gave Gregory only two years to live. Instead of giving up his fortune, Gideon began using it to try and find a cure for his condition and found little to no home. Forced to wear a biological shell to sustain his weakening body. Coming across an issue of Time Magazine featuring the Fantastic Four, Gideon was angered to see that his one-time foes were appearing to be very well off by comparison. He suddenly was inspired with coming up with a cure by utilizing the genes of Reed and Sue Richards and their son Franklin as they had all been altered thanks to the cosmic rays that made the Fantastic Four. He then invented his Eternity Machine to steal these cells and make himself even more powerful than ever before. Gregory then goes on to explain how he located the abandoned rail car where the Dragon Man was trapped following his battle with the Sub-Mariner. [2] After thawing the creature out he planted a sonic transmitter in the creature to make it his slave. Gideon concludes that they will not escape and that he and his son will live.

Meanwhile, back at the Baxter Building, a mysterious figure approaches the elevator that leads to the headquarters of the Fantastic Four. Watching him is the Fantastic Four's mailman Willie Lumpkin who knows nobody can access the elevator without a special device and that this stranger will have to return. However, Lumpkin is in for a surprise when the mystery visitor has a similar belt buckle than that used by the Fantastic Four to access their headquarters, leaving Lumpkin to worry who he is. While at the apartment of Alicia Masters, the blind woman worries about her boyfriend Ben Grimm, whom she hasn't heard from in weeks. She laments about how she needs to see him as after tomorrow she may never see him again.

At that moment at the Long Island factory of Gregory Gideon, Medusa revives the Human Torch. While Gregory Gideon is busy working on his experiment the three prisoners try to figure out how to escape their cells. With Gideon preoccupied, Medusa uses her hair to grab a nearby piece of polished metal. Holding it up to Johnny, he sees a reflection of the control switch to their cells and uses his flame powers to bounce a flame over to it, shutting off the beams keeping them prisoner. Freed, the three members of the Fantastic Four attack. While Johnny and Medusa deal with the guards, Ben battles Gideon, who is now gaining strength from the energies he is leeching from the Richards clan. As the battle rages, Thomas Gideon enters the room and begs his father to stop fighting, but he is subdued by the guards. As the fight continues, Medusa revives the Dragon Man. Seeing the Thing in a struggle with Gideon, the Android jumps into the fray, attacking Gideon. The two then slam into the Eternity Machine, causing a massive explosion.

With the machine destroyed, Sue and Franklin revive first. Thomas rushes to the body of his father, who was killed in the blast. They are happily reunited with the rest of the team. But with Reed still unconscious, Sue decides to leave, telling the group not to tell Reed that she was present and leaves.


Continuity Notes

  • The mystery man seen at the Baxter Building is Johnny's friend Wyatt Wingfoot. Why he has come to the Fantastic Four's headquarters is revealed in Fantastic Four #138. He was last seen in Fantastic Four #80 when the Fantastic Four helped him battle Tomazooma robot.
  • Gregory Gideon's death in this story is confirmed next issue.

Chronology Notes

Flashbacks in this story affect the chronology of the following characters:

See Also


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