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Appearing in "The Man in the Mystery Mask!"

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Synopsis for "The Man in the Mystery Mask!"

On their way back from the Baxter Building, Reed, Ben, and Johnny are attacked by the Mystery Villain. This is an impossible sight for them to believe at first because Reed himself was the Mystery Villain in the past.

Johnny begins recalling the time that Reed had tricked them.

It was a few years back, [1] when Reed, Johnny, and Ben were racing each other. Johnny got distracted and crashed into the nearby water, having to be rescued by Reed. Sore about the whole thing, Johnny then expressed that he was tired of Reed being the leader of the Fantastic Four, and is upset about being viewed as a "junior member" of the group. He points out how he was able to defeat the Wizard, [2] and Paste-Pot Pete on his own, [3] while he and the Thing went up against the Sub-Mariner recently by themselves. [4] Reed then tells Johnny that the Fantastic Four isn't a prison and that Johnny is free to leave anytime he wants, before he departs.

Johnny and Ben go back to Johnny's house to talk things over when their mailman Willie Lumpkin drops off a telegram for Johnny inviting him to an automobile race down in Salt Flats, offering him the chance to drive a race car that can travel over 400 mph. Johnny and Ben agree to appear and before a televised audience, they race against each other in two of the race cars. When they enter a nearby tunnel, they are suddenly trapped inside by a strange villain who wears a question mark on his mask. This villain is able to douse Johnny's flame with liquid asbestos and easily dodge the Thing's attacks. Eventually, Johnny is able to flame on again and trap their foe in a flame cage. Ben adds to the containment by burying their foe in boulders. When they try to break free, the pair finds themselves trapped, when suddenly the trap door opens revealing their mystery foe on the other side. Somehow their foe has escaped, and Johnny ends up picking up on who it is when he notices there was a small gap their enemy could have squeezed out of. Their mystery foe turns out to be Reed, who had put this who mock battle to prove a point. As the trio fly back to headquarters, Reed explains that he was able to outsmart them in battle, proving that he has what it takes to be their leader, and why their unwavering obedience to his orders are important.

... With his recollection over, Johnny watches and Reed and Ben scramble to get the Fantasti-Car back under control, and they just narrowly avoid a crash landing. Their mystery foe comes bearing down on them on his hover device. Johnny races up to meet him but has his flames doused by the mystery enemy's weapon. Not willing to go down alone, Johnny still manages to blast the hover platform with his flame powers, sending his unknown attacker falling as well. Both are caught by Reed, who gets blasted by the enemy. When Ben steps up to fight their foe, the man in the question mark mask unleashes massive balls with spikes that grow in size. While Ben manages to smash one of them, Reed uses his body like a slingshot to launch the second one back. forcing their foe to use his gun to blow his weapon to pieces. Johnny then blasts his gun, but when their foe tries to escape in a smoke screen, Reed melds his body into a net to capture their foe.

With their enemy tied up, Reed unmasks him, revealing their foe to be none other than Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD. Fury explains that SHIELD needed to test out some new weapons and this was the only way he could do so, offering to pay for all damages done. The Thing is unhappy at being used as a guinea pig and tries to strike Fury, but Nick teleports away. Reed tells Ben to calm down suggesting that they might look back on the situation and agree with Fury's standpoint, but as Reed surveys the damage, he admits that he doubts it.


Continuity Notes

The Man in the Mystery Mask

  • This story states that after the events of last issue, Thundra stormed off after Ben mentions his girlfriend Alicia Masters and that Sue and Medusa went after them.
  • Nick Fury is using the "Mystery Villain" costume worn by Reed Richards in Strange Tales #127.

The Mystery Villain

Publication Notes

  • Contains the Marvel Value Stamp, Series A #100, Galactus

See Also

Links and References


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