Appearing in "Beware the Ravaging Retrievers"
- Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards)
- Thing (Ben Grimm)
- Human Torch (Johnny Storm)
- Sub-Mariner (Namor McKenzie) (Appears in flashback)
- Cynthian Associates
- Retrievers of Atlantis (Only appearance)
Races and Species:
- Upstate New York
- Cynthian Associates labs
- NASA Facility
Synopsis for "Beware the Ravaging Retrievers"
Sue Richards is in her Hollywood dressing room trying to telephone her husband, from whom she has not heard in many days. She wonders whether something might be wrong, but she dismisses the thought when she hears a knock on the door. She is wanted at the main office, says Tyde, the publicity man for Imperial Studios. When Sue reaches for the doorknob to let Tyde in, it suddenly changes into the Impossible Man, startling her. He is supposed to be out touring the city with Agatha Harkness and Franklin, says Sue angrily. The Impossible Man replies that he got bored, and she shouts that she is fed up with him turning up everywhere she looks. Miffed, he turns into a bee and buzzes away. As Tyde enters, Sue calms down, and than they both depart.
Reed, meanwhile, is at the upstate New York Cynthian Associates research facility trying to telephone Sue. He wonders why he has not heard from her and whether she is partying all over Hollywood. When he receives no answer, he hangs up and returns to the laboratory. One of his co-workers on the "mystery project," Dr. Kaminski, is delighted to be working with "one of America's most brilliant scientists." None of the scientists knows the nature of the project, because they are all working on only one section of it. Other scientists elsewhere are said to be working on different sections. Reed declares that some of the micro-circuitry that he has seen has only a limited number of functions, so he has been able to deduce what the project might be. He adds that he does not like it. In another room, the project administrator watches Reed on a monitor, impressed with Reed's deductive faculties. When one of his underlings suggests that Reed is becoming too suspicious, he replies that Reed's scientific curiosity is just what they need to perfect the device that will make him master of the world.
Sue is admitted to the Sub-Mariner's office. When she saw him earlier, she thought he was just an actor in makeup, and she is astonished that he is actually the head of the studio. After exchanging pleasantries, Namor confides that he has always thought of her as his friend—he was even in love with her once—but he has left her alone in recent years after she married Reed. Sue says she has never seen him so depressed and lonely, and he replies that, much to his chagrin, all of Atlantis wants to worship and deify him. Ever since his people were liberated from suspended animation and Atlantis was rebuilt, they have hailed him as some kind of god. Cripples have even begged for him to heal them with his touch, he says. He soon came to despise the role that his people unwittingly thrust upon him, and he commanded Lord Vashti to send the crowds away until they regained their senses. Vashti asked him to be more understanding, but Namor replied that they should worship Neptune as their god. Enraged, Namor then hurled his trident, the Scepter of Neptune, through a marble pillar. Then the crowds burst into his chamber, beseeching him to cure their maladies, and he thrust his people away from him and fled. Soon he arrived in New York, where he tried to find Sue. A "meek postman" told him she had gone to Hollywood, and when he flew to California, he learned that she was working for the movie studio that he once bought and never sold. When Namor finishes, Sue promises to help him in any way she can.
The Human Torch overflies the NASA Space-Command Center looking for Ben and Alicia. He decided to part company with Wyatt Wingfoot and Rebecca Rainbow after beginning to feel like a "third wheel." Suddenly the soldiers, not knowing who he is, open fire, and as Johnny dodges flak, Ben, on the ground below, starts to wreck their artillery. Stanley R. Stanley, the soldier in charge, exhorts his men to keep shooting, saying that this will show Colonel Williams that he can be trusted with power. It does not take long for Ben to deal with the guns and greet his teammate, and he tells Johnny that Alicia had to return east to work on her art. Ben and Johnny walk away, leaving Stanley R. Stanley sputtering about the forms Johnny has to fill out.
Sometime later, in Hollywood, Namor supervises Sue as she dons a medieval costume for a role in a swashbuckler movie. Much to the consternation of the film crew, they are suddenly interrupted by a group of six huge androids that burst onto the set looking for Namor. He recognizes them as the Retrievers of Atlantis, and the leader-android declares that Namor's people need him. If he does not return to Atlantis, continues the creature, then they will be forced to take him there themselves, in any manner possible. Namor warns Sue to stand behind him, and she hastily shoves the crew to safety with her force field. Then the closest android attacks Namor with its prehensile arms. Namor states that he will not return to Atlantis as a god, only as the prince of his people. Then he breaks free of the android, and Sue sheds the medieval clothes from over her Fantastic Four uniform and surrounds herself with a protective force field. The leader-android orders Thermatron and Electron, two of the other Retrievers, to dehydrate Namor with heat and shock him with electricity. Invisible, Sue watches them bring Namor down and erects a field around Electron that temporarily short-circuits it. The master Retriever commands Thermatron to incinerate her, but she uses her field to bring a catwalk down on the robot's back. A green Retriever surrounds her with a jelly-like substance, but she expands her force field until the android splatters apart.
Recovering quickly from the strain, Sue turns a wall invisible and lures the robot with the prehensile arms into striking it. When the wall shatters, the room floods with water from one of Namor's giant office fishtanks, and Namor's strength returns as the liquid touches him. Using a prop catapult, the invigorated Namur beats back the androids. Then he punches the flying Retriever out of the air, dodging heat and electric blasts from Thermatron and Electron. Sue keeps the others at bay with force-spheres as Namor grapples with the leader. Finally, when the leader calls upon the other androids for assistance, Sue turns Namor invisible. He twists out of the leader's grasp just as Thermatron and Electron open fire. This blows the leader's chest apart, and when it falls, the others suddenly collapse as well, deactivated. Sue explains that she deduced from what Namor told her that the leader-android supplied most of the group's power, since it never battled her or him directly. Lacking energy and the master Retriever's commands, the other Retrievers were rendered inert. Namor commends Sue for her ability, and she offers him a place to stay with Reed and herself if he needs it. But Namor declines, saying that he must, after all, return to his people as their ruler. He can no more forsake them than renounce his heritage as a prince of the blood, he says, and he has at last accepted that even a monarch must sometimes be a prisoner. Then Namor flies away, and Sue's eyes fill with tears. She hopes that he eventually finds the peace that he so rightly deserves.
- The Fantastic Four split up in Fantastic Four #191 after Reed lost his powers in Fantastic Four #178, and felt that he was not fit to lead the group, deciding to disband it rather than letting the group continue on their own.
- The reason Sue and Reed cannot contact each other is because Cynthian Associates is really a front company for their old foe Doctor Doom as revealed next issue. Their mysterious leader is a clone of Doctor Doom, as revealed in Fantastic Four #199.
- Namor's flashback of the people of Atlantis trying to worship him as a god follows the events of Super-Villain Team-Up #13 after the Atlantean people were restored from nerve gas exposure that occurred back in Sub-Mariner #67.
- Namor is depicted wielding the Trident of Neptune. Namor quested for this object and was awarded it by Neptune himself during the events of Tales to Astonish #70-76.
- Namor reveals that Imperial Studios is the same movie studio he purchased back in Fantastic Four #9.
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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