Appearing in "Day of the Death-Demon"
- Human Torch
- Mister Fantastic
- Invisible Girl
- Alicia Masters
- Agatha Harkness
- Franklin Richards
- Wyatt Wingfoot
- Diablo (Esteban Diablo)
- Darkoth (Desmond Pitt) (Appears in flashback)
- Cynthian Associates
- Victor von Doom II (First appearance) (Shadow only)
- NASA launch site
- Death Valley
- Upstate New York
- Keewazi Reservation
Synopsis for "Day of the Death-Demon"
The Thing has taken a job to launch a new solar shuttle into space for NASA. Shortly after Ben and Alicia arrive on site, the facility is suddenly attacked by Darkoth. Darkoth warns Ben not to launch the solar shuttle as it has been sabotaged, but is forced to attack when both military personnel and the Thing attack him. Darkoth manages to slip away thanks to his new ability to become intangible. With security increased, Ben returns to his room to puzzle over why Darkoth had attacked when they were allies last they met. Suddenly Ben gets a phone call from a man claiming to be his old friend Desmond Pitt, who also warns Ben that the solar shuttle has been sabotaged. Angered at the idea of someone pretending to be his dead friend, Ben angrily slams the phone down.
Meanwhile, Sue, Franklin and Agatha Harkness are at Imperial Studios for Sue's new acting gig in Hollywood. There they are shown around the various studios. There they witness a take on a new movie about Henry VIII, but the shoot is interrupted by the appearance of the Impossible Man, who has come to Hollywood to be part of the movies as well, much to the frustration of the director on site. Reunited with the often irritating ally of the Fantastic Four, Sue informs the alien that the Fantastic Four have broken up.
The following morning, Ben meets with the colonel to get more information on his friend Desmond Pitt. The Colonel gives Ben the eyes only file and explains how Desmond was a loyal officer until his wife fell ill. He then apparently started selling secrets to Doctor Doom. When his wife later died, Pitt had apparently tried to stop working for Doom and was supposedly killed as a result. This makes the phone call from the night before even more disturbing to Ben, especially given the latest news. But the launch has been investigated and they can find no signs of the sabotage Darkoth warned about, and so the flight continues as planned. As Ben tries to wrap his head around Desmond being a traitor to his country, all he can recall is how Pitt saved his life years ago during his days as a test pilot. These thoughts occupy Ben's mind until he is suited up to launch the solar collector.
Meanwhile at an abandoned nuclear facility in the middle of Death Valley, Darkoth screams frustration over his inability to warn Ben Grimm about the danger he now faces. He is confronted by his new master, Diablo, and when Darkoth tries to attack the alchemist incapacitates him with a pellet, forcing the man-demon to bow down to Diablo once more. Diablo begins watching the monitors of the launch, anticipating to use the energy from the solar collector to use against Doctor Doom, and claim revenge.
At that moment in upstate New York, Reed Richards is working hard for Cynthian Enterprises, but remains puzzled over the work they are doing, noting that the scientists here are only being informed on their small projects but not the bigger picture. Reed is unaware that he is being watched by the owner of Cynthian Enterprises, who gloats how easily Richards was manipulated into working for them based on his patriotism alone. The mystery man remarks how Reed isn't serving his own country, but another. Back in the southwest, NASA monitors Ben's flight into space. All seems to be going well when suddenly Ben's shuttle hits a strange energy field. The Colonel assures Alicia that they will try everything they can to make sure Ben makes it back to Earth safe. While in Oklahoma, Rebecca Rainbow and Johnny seem to be bonding quickly over their mutual interest in cars. When Wyatt pulls her aside to ask how his best friend is doing, she remarks that he is still sad over the Fantastic Four breaking up. Bothered by how quickly they are getting on, Wyatt asks Rebecca if she likes Johnny. When she reiterates that she likes Wyatt, he tells her that doesn't answer his question.
Meanwhile, back in space, Ben is at risk of being cooked alive in the energy surge. He is suddenly contacted by Diablo who explains that the ship was indeed sabotaged like Darkoth warned. He explains that the plans were infiltrated by Doctor Doom who had them altered so that none could guess how he changed the ship. He then goes on to explain how he intends to use the energy collected by the solar collector to get revenge against Doom and then take over the world.
Unwilling to see his friend die, Darkoth shuts off the energy flow instead of increasing it per Diablo's commands. Realizing that he is free and with the ship now free falling out of control, Ben tries his best to land it safely on Earth. However it proves to be too little too late. At NASA headquarters, the crew there witnesses as the shuttle crashes in the middle of the desert and explodes into flames. Hearing the blast, Alicia screams out for Ben, as the Colonel tries to assure her that there may be hope yet.
- The Fantastic Four broke up in Fantastic Four #191 due to the fact that Reed lost his powers circa Fantastic Four #178, he decided that he was not competent to lead the team without powers.
- How Darkoth survived his last encounter with the Fantastic Four is revealed in next issue.
- Imperial Studios is actually the same studio that the Sub-Mariner purchased in Fantastic Four #9, as revealed in Fantastic Four #195.
- This is the first time it is stated that Ben was a test pilot for the military. Marking the first retcon of his past, eliminating all reference that he fought in World War II, as originally stated in Fantastic Four #11. This is the first time the Sliding Timescale is used to update the backstory of a characters that would either date the story or prematurely age the character.
- Reed wonders why he was unable to contact Tony Stark to get a background on Cynthian Enterprises. At the time of this story Iron Man was on the moon battling the Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar and Vanguard on the Moon as seen in Iron Man #109.
- Diablo appears here after seemingly being blown up in Fantastic Four #118, his survival is revealed next issue. His hatred for Doctor Doom stems from the time that Doom stranded him in a post apocalyptic future at the end of Marvel Super-Heroes #20, he escaped that fate in Fantastic Four #117.
- Cynthian Enterprises is revealed to be a front for Doctor Doom as revealed in Fantastic Four #196. The mystery man in this story is a clone of Doom, as revealed in Fantastic Four #199.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.
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