- Even Reed Richards can't muck around with the Human Torch!
Appearing in "All the Worlds at Once!"
- Fantastic Four
- Inter-Locking Technologies Unlimited/Inter-Related Technocracies Unlimited/Inter-Politan Thermo-Dynamics Unlimited
- Andrones (First appearance)
- Nelson Rockefeller (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only) (Only appearance) (Topical reference)
- Thing (Reed Richards-721) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Fifth Dimension soldiers
- Guardsman of Gomath (First appearance)
- Viking army
- US Army (Earth-721)
- United States of America
- Fifth Dimension
- Gomath (First appearance)
Synopsis for "All the Worlds at Once!"
Continued from last issue...
Following the sale of Fantastic Four Inc to Interlocking Technologies Unlimited, Reed Richards spends time honing his skills in the Fantastic Four's training room, confirming a suspicion he's had since their last clash with Dr. Doom: That his stretching powers are slowly fading away. After his training session, he is confronted by his wife Sue who notices there is something wrong with him. Unable to tell his wife that he is losing his powers, Reed lies and tells her that he is worried about Johnny -- who stormed out of the Baxter Building after Reed had sold the Fantastic four to Interlocking Technologies.
Down on the street, Johnny Storm is fuming over not only this transaction but also losing Crystal to the mutant Quicksilver whom she just recently married. Feeling he needs the comfort of a woman he remembers the romantic interest that Valeria of the 5th Dimension showed in him and decides to pay her a visit. Traveling to the 5th Dimension through the portal that exists in the wilds of Long Island, Johnny is transported to the 5th Dimension's Central Plaza. There, Johnny is confused for something called an "Androne" by the people there who attack him until they are broken up by Valeria's father Phineas, now in charge of the world. Phineas apologizes for his people's brash attack and informs him that they are at war with Reed Richards, much to Johnny's surprise. Taken to their command center, Johnny is told that their attacker is really a Reed Richards from another Earth (The Thing Reed Richards of Earth-A) who created Andrones with his company Reed Richards Robotics a subsidiary of Inter-Related Technocracies Unlimited. Johnny is shocked by this revelation and the fact that this is an alternate world where Nelson Rockefeller is president of the United States. They are then attacked by a group of Andrones which Johnny easily defeats with his flame powers. Johnny agrees to sign onto their cause and help them fight this invasion from another world.
While back in the universe that is home to the Reed Richards-Thing, Ben Grim from our reality and his counterpart from Reed's world and his wife Susan Grimm would notice that the Reed of this world had signed up with the company Inter-Related Technocracies and find it odd that Reed would just sell out. They decide to travel out to New York City and investigate the corporation and are shocked to see that the city is under siege by attackers from different time periods. The Thing considers the only thing he knows possible of doing this would be Dr. Doom's time machine, however, is confused how something like this could be happening on another world. After the Thing uses his strength to fight off two attacking Dinosaurs, he notices a televised address from that worlds President Rockefeller telling them that this attack came from beings from another universe. Ben's counterpart in this reality then betrays him to the military who gas Ben and take him prisoner in the hopes he might be questioned about the coming invasion so that they can from these interdimensional attackers. Ben, however, confides in Susan that he isn't sure he made the right decision.
Back in the Fantastic Four's reality, Reed is angry that Ben has gone missing and Johnny doesn't answer his summons. He is then called into the monitor room by Sue who shows him a news report that identifies that the Earth is experiencing a great freeze over -- the coming of a new ice age -- thanks to an attack that experts are saying are coming from the 5th Dimension. Flipping one of his interdimensional viewers to the 5th Dimension, Reed is surprised to see that Johnny is leading the 5th Dimensional army seemingly into an invasion to their world. Reed vows to prepare to defend their Earth from this supposed invasion missing one important detail: That the weapons provided to the people in the 5th Dimension were provided by a company called Inter-Politan Thermo-Dynamics Unlimited.
This story is continued next issue...
- The training room used by Reed in this story is based on Danger Room technology provided to the Fantastic Four by Professor X of the X-Men. The narrative of this story suggests that Reed is unaware that Xavier is a mutant or part of the X-Men. However it has since been stated that Richards knows this to be true, as shown in X-Men First Class Vol 2 #1 which took place just after his marriage to Sue in Fantastic Four Annual #3.
- Reed confirms that he his slowly losing his stretching power, something he began to suspect that he was going on in Fantastic Four #157. Reed ultimately loses his powers in Fantastic Four #178, but later has them restored to their peak in Fantastic Four #197.
- Johnny goes to the Long Island swamp that can transport one to the Fifth Dimension, as it was first seen in Strange Tales #103. This story references The Human Torch #3, which was a reprint of the Strange Tales story and was referenced as it was published around the time of this issue.
- Some facts about Earth-A:
- That reality is indexed as Earth-721 as per Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005.
- That world depicts Nelson Rockefeller as President of the United States in that reality. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale. As Earth-721 is an alternate reality of Earth-616, it is subject to the same rules of the sliding timescale. This is more so the case since Rockefeller died in 1977.
- That said, in the real wold Rockefeller failed to obtain nomination for the Republican presidential bid in 1968. When Richard Nixon resigned following the Watergate scandal, he was replaced by Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller became Vice President.
- Ben states that "his" president is Gerald Ford. Which also should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- There are two in-jokes pointed toward Marvel's rival competition, DC Comics in this issue, they are:
- Ben asks his Earth-721 counterpart if New York City is called "Bigville" or "Cosmopolis". This is in reference to the fact that the DC Universe's version of Earth there are a number of fictional cities that are analogues for New York such as Metropolis and Gotham City.
- The narrative of this story refers to Earth-616 as "Earth-1" and then goes "(ooops! wrong comic-mag!)" At the time of this story the DC Universe had a multiverse where each unique universe was identified, usually with a number. They are referencing Earth-One, the mainstream DC Universe that was in use at the time. Marvel did not start numbering their alternate universes until Daredevils #7 when the mainstream Marvel Universe was first identified as Earth-616.
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