Appearing in "Invasion!"

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Synopsis for "Invasion!"

Reed Richards flies the Fantastic Four's pogo plane into Latverian airspace knowing that he owes his restored stretching power to his greatest enemy, Dr. Doom. This time, vows Reed, only one of them will survive their meeting. He pilots the craft below the radar and lands out of sight of the patrols. Heeding to the capital city, he tests his newly restored stretching power and is pleased that he can extend a greater distance without becoming fatigued and that his repertoire of shapes seems wider. When Reed approaches the castle, Doom's robot guards attack. He has brought a Jammer in his backpack, but unfortunately it proves useless. Not only are the robots unaffected, their override mechanisms cause them to attack whoever is trying to jam them. Reed dodges the robots' ionic laser beams, wondering why Doom would go to the expense of equipping the robots with them.

Ordinary lasers would surely suffice, he thinks, unless Doom is planning something really important. As Reed starts to shatter the robots one by one, he wonders about Doom's lieutenant and about the still secret device built in upstate New York. Suddenly, when he tries to deactivate a robot and accidentally touches its backplate, a powerful shock knocks him unconscious. His body snaps backward into a small lake, where he floats until a group of Latverians pulls him out and take him to their `leader.' In his castle, Doom tells his three manacled prisoners, Ben, Sue, and Johnny, to contemplate the magnificent art treasures it contains. Such art, he declares, is meant not for the masses but for himself alone. Alicia is sequestered away completing his statue, which he will present to the United Nations as a gift when they vote not to condemn Latveria for its aggressive policies. Then Doom's "son" enters to report that the statue is almost finished. Doom is pleased, for the statue must be ready by the time he hands the monarchy over to his heir. What an historic day that shall be, says Doom. Sue says that she cares nothing for Doom's plans and wants to know why Doom has not sent anyone out to look for Reed.

Reed has survived worse dangers than an out-of-control spaceship, she says. Doom declares that it is fruitless to search for a "dead man" when there are festivities to attend to. When Doom sees a band practicing by his balcony, he orders the musicians punished for not smiling the way he demanded, as an example to all of Latveria's citizens. Ben rankles at this and tries to break out of his wrist-shackles, but with each step he takes, their voltage increases. Should he continue his rampage, says Doom, then he will be as dead as his leader. Nevertheless, Ben comes closer, and Doom has to blast him with an energy bolt to knock him out. Johnny and Sue shout insults at Doom as they help their companion to his feet, but Doom ignores them and summons Alicia. He feels in the mood to pose, he says. Reed regains consciousness in a secret grotto somewhere in Latveria. A man named Koro alerts his superior, Zorba Fortunov, that Reed has revived, and Zorba Fortunov tells Reed that he is now in the hands of the Latverian underground. Zorba's face is scarred and his right eye is concealed beneath a peculiar apparatus of unspecified function. He is the leader of the Latverian Freedom Fighters, he says, of whom there remain less than fifty, all experts in the art of stealth. They seek to replace Doom as Latverian head of state with the rightful heir of the late King Rudolfo.

Zorba explains that Doom has resurrected an ancient Latverian law that demands he abdicate the throne, but he has named as his successor a son whom no one ever heard of before. When Reed hears that Doom has a son, he is struck speechless. At the castle, Doom poses unmasked as Alicia chisels at his statue and Ben, Sue, and Johnny, still manacled, look on. Doom's son enters and informs Doom that the time for the "transference" has arrived. Doom warns Alicia that his statue's face must be without fault and tells her to continue working. Then he puts on his mask and orders his guards to escort the three teammates to the transference room. Soon they all enter a large chamber, where Doom has the teammates placed unconscious into three of the four transparent globes of a large machine. Doom's son sits in another section of the machine and Doom declares that the teammates' powers are to be transferred into his son's body. He is annoyed that Reed Richards is not there, for he especially wanted to see him humbled. His death has soured the sweetness of his triumph, he says, but it will not cheat him of his ultimate victory. Then he activates the machine. Meanwhile, Reed and the Freedom Fighters are preparing an assault on Doom's fortress.

The direct approach could prove fatal. Reed tells Zorba their best hope is to climb the allegedly unscaleable mountain nearby. Zorba protests that his men cannot do it, but Reed stretches his arm to the clifetop and the men start to clamber up. Reed is pleased that his powers have been increased, because otherwise his whole back would have been in agony. Suddenly Reed sees one of Doom's automatic eye-spies overhead and tells his companions to stand still. Heinrich and Brechner, two guards assigned to the camera, see nothing as it passes over, because Reed has stretched himself over the others like a blanket. Soon the rebels arrive at the castle. Reed stretches across the moat and squeezes through the crack between the raised drawbridge and the castle entrance. Then he overpowers three guards (including Heinrich and Brechner) and lowers the bridge, allowing the Freedom Fighters inside. Reed is amazed at the number of surveillance devices that Doom has in use.

Zorba and the others steal through the castle, but suddenly automatic machinery whirs and a heavy steel door slides shut, trapping them. Then sleep gas fills the enclosure and the Freedom Fighters collapse. Fortunately, Reed manages to stretch out of the trap and carries Zorba with him. Zorba shouts that his men will die, but Reed tells him to stay calm. Doom never kills anyone without an interrogation, he says. Then Hauptmann arrives, drawn by the alarm, and when Zorba shouts his name, Reed realizes that he must be the brother of the scientist the Fantastic Four once fought. Zorba shouts that it was Heuptmann's brother who on Doom's orders carried out the experiments that blinded his right eye, and he attacks him. But Reed snatches the scientist out of Zorba's reach and demands his cooperation. Hauptmann declares that he hates Doom for what he did to his brother and to Latveria, but he is too powerless to fight Doom alone. Presently, as Doom is playing Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata on his sonic keyboard, "Hauptmann" enters to inform him that the castle has been invaded. It has been taken care of, he continues, except for several men who escaped the gas traps.

Doom chides him for interfering with his concert, and then he suddenly sprays him with a knockout gas from his fingers. Hauptmann, who is actually Reed Richards reshaped, is taken completely by surprise. Did he truly believe, asks Doom sarcastically, that Doom would not see through his flimsy impersonation? Unable to stretch out of the way, Reed quickly falls victim to the gas. Doom's guards carry Reed to the transference machine and place him into the vacant fourth globe. He almost had him fooled into thinking he was dead, says Doom, but he and the Freedom Fighters had been under constant surveillance ever since they entered the castle. The guards that Richards defeated have all been destroyed, Doom continues, for he does not harbor incompetents. Now his original plan can go into effect, he says as he turns on the machine to transfer the powers of the Fantastic Four into the body of his son, Victor Von Doom the Second.


Continuity Notes

  • Doom gloats over his art collection, this was all taken from the people, as revealed in Fantastic Four #157.
  • The man working with Doom is said to be the Doctor's son, but as revealed next issue, Victor von Doom the 2nd is actually a clone of the original.

See Also


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