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Appearing in "Who in the World is the Invincible Man?"

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Synopsis for "Who in the World is the Invincible Man?"

Reed Richards is subjected to horrifying nightmares thanks to the machinations of Cynthian Associates. With the aid of components from Psycho-Man's armor and the work of Professor Gert Hauptman, Richards has been strapped into a machine that is causing these nightmares.

Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Sue Richards returns to her apartment with Franklin and Agatha and are pleasantly surprised to find both Ben and Johnny waiting for them inside. It is a happy reunion until Sue voices her concern over Reed, whom she has been unable to contact since he began working for Cynthian Associates. As Ben tries in vein to call Reed himself, none of the former members of the Fantastic Four aware that they are being watched by someone wearing the costume of their old foe the Invincible Man. Deciding to go out for dinner together, they leave Franklin in the care of Miss Harkness and go out on the own. After bumping into a well known western star, the Thing is insulted when he is confused as a costumed contestant for a popular game show.

They eventually sit down to dinner at a fancy restaurant where they are suddenly haunted by specters: Ben is confronted by an illusion of Alicia who claims that her vision is restored and she sees him as ugly, while Johnny and Sue are initially haunted by an image of their late father who accuses them of killing him. Suddenly, the Invincible Man appears and attack them with more mental projections. Sue begins to see Franklin in danger, Johnny is filled with self doubt, while the Thing goes into an uncontrollable rage. This leaves them open to their mystery attacker who easily incapacitates them and takes them prisoner, the entire spectacle occurring with a single patron in the restaurant being aware of what happened.

The Invincible Man then loads the three heroes aboard a ship that flies them to Cynthian Associates headquarters in Upstate New York. Where the owner of the company has them put in stasis. When the former members of the Fantastic Four come too, they are shocked when their enemy unmasks the Invincible Man, revealing him to be Reed Richards. When Richards snaps out of the mind control, the man who has brought the Fantastic Four back together demands that Reed follow through on the design plans, which Reed refuses to do after seeing the plans for the entire project. When the other members of the Fantastic Four try to break free, their enemy incapacitates them with electrical jolts and has the entire team locked in a dungeon with special bracelets that cause electrical shocks when they try to use their powers. This man then goes to visit his master, who is pleased to hear that things are going according to plan.

The following day, Reed agrees to play ball, and is taken to the massive solar power station that they are going to build. The walls of crystal are so powerful that the constant reflections could drive a person mad. Reed is given a demonstration when his protective goggles are briefly removed. His captor then sends Richards back to his cell, telling him they have much to discuss later, including the restoration of his powers. Meanwhile, the other members of the Fantastic Four manage to break free from their shackles and make a break for it. As they easily incapacitate the guards, they are soon knocked out by a gas attack launched by their old foe Doctor Doom.


Continuity Notes

  • The man running Cynthian Associates is revealed to be the "son" of Doctor Doom next issue.
  • How Doom managed to obtain the Psycho-Man's armor here is unexplained, as to date there are no known instances where Doom and the Psycho-Man clashed. However, it's likely the armor that was captured by the Fantastic Four when the Psycho-Man was defeated in Fantastic Four Annual #5. One explanation is that it was stolen when Doctor Doom raided the Baxter Building in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #1. If this is the case, then the armor was recovered sometime after Fantastic Four #200 by the Fantastic Four as the armor is seen again in the FF's custody in Micronauts #1517.
  • The Invincible Man costume is patterned after the disguise worn by the Super-Skrull when he was posing as Franklin Storm in Fantastic Four #32. Franklin sacrificed his life to stop the Super-Skrull in that story, hence why an illusion of Franklin as a ghost is seen here.
  • The appearance of John Wayne and people lining up to get on the gameshow "Let's Make a Deal" should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 so as not to prematurely age the characters. John Wayne died June 11, 1979 (a year after this issue was published), Let's Make a Deal aired on television from 1963-1986.
  • The guards at Cynthian Associates are dressed up like Doctor Doom's Servo-Guards. This was likely done as a not-so-subtle hint to readers.

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