Appearing in "...And a Child Shall Slay Them"
Synopsis for "...And a Child Shall Slay Them"
Ben interrupts Reed in his lab to remind him of a commitment to a night out at the local bowling alley. Unfortunately, Reed has other plans, having discovered 'a highly concentrated radiation pocket in our ventilator shaft that has got to be dissipated immediately.' Ben is a little put out and goes out bowling anyway.
The following day, and with the radiation crisis apparently solved, we cut to Newhope Memorial Hospital, where Willie Evans and his wife Deedee consult with a doctor over the fate of their son Willie Jr., who lies in a coma. Willie Sr. explains that as a soldier back in '68 he was a member of a platoon bombarded by cosmic rays in an army experiment. At first, he believed he had escaped the side effects of exposure, but it seems their nine-year-old son has not been so lucky. The doctor explains that their son has absorbed a dangerously high level of cosmic radiation, and fears it may have affected his genetic structure. Enter Reed Richards, who runs some tests.
Out of sight of the others, Willie Jr. becomes fevered, and his eyes begin to glow unnaturally. He murmurs the name "Fantastic Four" repeatedly in this delirious state, eventually, miraculously, conjuring up a "nightmarish interpretation" of the FF out of thin air. Later at the Baxter Building, the FF watch a TV broadcast that shows Willie Jr.'s creations wreaking destruction through Manhattan, so the FF take the old Fantasticar to investigate.
Back at the hospital, Willie Jr.'s condition is worsening: his radiation count is up 10,000 roentgen and rising. Meanwhile, the FF join the battle against their evil doppelgangers, and as we cut back and forth between the two scenes it becomes clear that as Willie Jr.'s condition becomes more critical, so his creations become more powerful. Reed saves the day by dissipating the creatures with the radiabsorber he used at the beginning of the story. Somehow this restores Willie Jr. to normal health, but clearly Reed ("the world's foremost authority on cosmic rays") is a little out of his depth with mutant children, so he suggests the Evans family contact the Xavier School for the Gifted, where they will gain expert guidance in helping Willie Jr. learn to control his awesome powers.
- Willie Evans, Sr.'s recollection of being involved in the Vietnam War circa 1968 should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 so as not to prematurely age the characters.
- Although Reed suggests that Evans takes his son to see Charles Xavier regarding his son's mutation, as revealed in Iron Man Annual #8, he decides against following that course of action, this leads to Willie Jr's death during a confrontation between Iron Man and X-Factor.
- This issue contains a letters page, Fantasic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Douglas Mao, Steven Alan Bennett, Tom Field, Ron Cramer, Jim Johnston, and Lewis Himelhoch.
- As seen on page one, this issue is Story# LG237.
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- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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