Appearing in "Aftermath: The Eliminator"
- Fantastic Four
- Negative Zone
Synopsis for "Aftermath: The Eliminator"
Seconds after the Counter-Earth Reed Richards vanishes into the Negative Zone, Reed himself collapses into the arms of his wife. Johnny Storm and Tigra try to restrain the Thing from pounding at the now sealed Negative Zone portal, while Thundra assists Sue, Tigra tells Ben that Sue needs his help, and Ben gently carries the exhausted Reed to bed. Thundra is briefly affronted by Ben's abrupt behavior toward her, but then she realizes that Ben is Reed's best friend, and his concern for Reed is paramount. As Johnny and Tigra contemplate the Negative Zone monitor- from which the figure of the Counter-Earth Reed has so recently disappeared, Sue sits down at Reed's bedside and Ben leaves her to telephone Alicia. Ben detects trouble in Alicia's voice, but she tells him that there is nothing wrong, and that Franklin is sound asleep. Sue is relieved that Alicia followed instructions and did not mention the kidnapping, but Ben knows Sue well enough to suspect that she is keeping something from him. He decides that she will tell him in her own good time. Then, when Sue asks him to help the others clean up, he heads back to the Negative Zone chamber. Ben finds Thundra, Tigra, and Johnny looking over the mess. When Thundra asks whether they have equipment capable of repairing the damage, Ben replies that the AUNTIE robot was probably knocked out of commission itself, so there is nothing they can do but get to work.
Tigra starts to flirt with Ben, much to his embarrassment, but when Thundra declares that housework is demeaning, Tigra agrees, and the two ladies depart. Outside, when Tigra mentions that Thundra seems annoyed because she can get no farther with Ben than Tigra can, Thundra angrily stomps away. All's fair in love and war, says Tigra as she runs off in the other direction. As Ben tells Johnny that it will be just the two of them cleaning up, Johnny interrupts the disappointed Ben that he won't be able to help either. He has a few things he must sort out for himself he says as he flames on and soars out over the city. Then when he passes by Frankie Raye's apartment in Greenwich village, an unseen figure lines him up in a gunsight and shoots him out of the sky. "Target One eliminated,' says the assailant. In the meantime, Ben starts grumbling to himself as he carries the rubble of the battle out of the room. Suddenly the Impossible Man appears outside the window reading a newspaper. Ben asks whether he is here to help, but in reply he asks Ben what a movie is, Ben says that a movie is like television, only bigger, and the Impossible Man joyfully turns into a flying saucer and sails out over the city in search of one. With any luck, says Ben, he'll choke on his popcorn.
Reed awakens with a start as the memory of the events of the past few hours returns. Sue calms him down and then tells him what happened to Franklin and Agatha, but when Sue suggests that he put on his uniform so that the four of them can return to Whisper Hill, he demures. Lacking his powers, he would only be in the way, he says. But Sue replies that his stretching power was not the only thing he contributed to the team. Thoughtful, Reed dons his costume. Ben finishes the cleanup by sweeping all the remaining debris under a pulled-up section of flooring and stomping it flat, sending a powerful tremor through the building that brings Reed and Sue on the run. When they see that they are not being attacked by another foe, they tell Ben about the kidnapping. Soon they are underway to Whisper Hilt in the Fantasi-Car. They become puzzled when Johnny falls to respond to their "4". As a thunderstorm rages above the city, they decide they cannot wait any longer for Johnny and speed away. Soon they are above the mansion, which looks much different —more rundown.— from when Sue was there earlier. Reed thinks that this is the way the mansion looks in reality, without Agatha's magic to maintain its illusory "normal' appearance.
Suddenly, the same unseen assailant who attacked Johnny gets the Fantasticar in his gunsight and squeezes the trigger -Target Two eliminated." he says. However, this is by no means the case, The Fantasticar flies apart into fragments as it becomes caught in a tractor beam, but the three passengers are thrown clear. Sue creates a force field cushion for them and they land on the ground shaken but unhurt. Ben finds a metal object that looks like an egg from which something seems to have hatched. Reed tells Ben to leave it for now as they enter the spooky house. The place is quite dark, lit only by their flashlights and an occasional lightning stroke. Ben is startled when his light illuminates the figure of Johnny Storm, who is hanging by his shirt from a bannister. He is soaking wet and unable to use his flame, and he weakly asks them to get him down. Ben pulls him up and asks what happened, and Johnny mutters that their adversary is not human. He pulled him out of the sky with a strange weapon, says Johnny. Suddenly the lights go on, and a huge, armored figure smashes out at Reed and Sue through a door.
It calls itself the Eliminator, and it proclaims that for daring to interfere with its work, they must be destroyed. It is its solemn duty, it continues, to eliminate all traces of Agatha Harkness's sojourn among their "primitive race," which includes destroying those who were once her friends. Sue asks whether her son has been "eliminated", and the android replies that its masters will deal with her son in their own fashion. Ben suddenly leaps down from the mezzanine and slams the creature into a wall. When the Eliminator tries to incinerate Ben with incendiary jets on its fingertips, the Human Torch absorbs the flame and ignites himself. Then Sue knocks it over with a force-sphere. This, unfortunately, allows it to use the vacuum-vents built into its boots to blow out Johnny's flame, and then it recovers its footing and staggers them with a shock wave. Reed formulates a plan of attack, but the creature declares that the time has come for it to strike "in earnest." When Sue tries to hit it with another force-sphere. it uses a beam that apparently disintegrates her. Reed is horrified and hurls himself at the android, but a painful blast of energy knocks him away. Then Ben attacks, but the Eliminator pummels him into seeming lifelessness. Finally, Johnny tries to burn the Eliminator up, but it uses its incendiary-jets to force Johnny to explode in a nova-blast. Then, with all the Fantastic Four apparently dead on the floor, it declares that just one thing remains before its mission is accomplished. It inserts its incendiary-jet fingertips into its chest-plate, which commences the countdown of its self destruction. Within minutes, it says, it shall explode and destroy every trace of Whisper Hill.
Anchoring itself to the floor with its vacuum-vents, the robot states that the process cannot be reversed. No sooner does it say that than the Fantastic Four all arise. Reed explains to the perplexed machine that the Invisible Girl simply exercised her power to make the android think she was disintegrated. Then, hiding in the shadows, she used her invisible force field to protect Reed and Ben, while Johnny simply faked going nova. The Fantastic Four rush out of the building and duck under Sue's force field, as the android forlornly declares that an Eliminator never fails. Then the mansion explodes, as the debris falls all around them, they vow to track down Agatha Harkness and Franklin wherever they may be.
- Although it looks like the Reed Richards of Counter-Earth seemingly sacrificed himself in the Negative Zone last issue, he actually survives and resurfaces again years later in Fantastic Four Unlimited #3.
- Reed lost his powers in Fantastic Four #178, after they began to fade in Fantastic Four #157. His powers are eventually restored in Fantastic Four #197.
- Sue mentions Franklin's abduction at the hands of Agatha Harkness and their disappearance. Which occurred in Fantastic Four #181–Fantastic Four #182. Their kidnappers are revealed to be the Witches of New Salem next issue.
- The Eliminator was also sent by the Witches of New Salem, as revealed next issue.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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