Appearing in "The Hate-Monger!"
- The Fantastic Four
- Hate-Monger (Adolf Hitler) (First appearance)
- Spider-Man (Photo)
- United States of America
- South America
- San Gusto (First appearance)
Synopsis for "The Hate-Monger!"
The Fantastic Four are enjoying some downtime when suddenly their base begins to shake out of control. Johnny, Reed, and Sue discover the source is the Thing who is going full strength on his punching bag after reading news reports regarding the Hate-Monger, a cowled rabble-rouser who has been using hate speech to incite xenophobia among the citizens of New York City. Reed tries to calm Ben down by telling him that bigots usually get what they deserve. Not long after, while the FF are out on the town, they come across one of the Hate-Monger's rallies where the Hate-Monger works up the crowd into such a frenzy that they attack a man due to his ethnicity. When the Thing intervenes to disperse the mob, the Hate-Monger pulls out his Hate-Ray and uses it on the team. The effects are instant and the Fantastic Four begin to squabble among each other. Pushed by their artificially induced hatred, the Fantastic Four eventually decide to break up, as each member comes to believe that they are better than the others, much to the pleasure of the Hate-Monger.
Reed Richards returns to the Baxter Building to find that security is fighting with a man in the lobby who is trying to gain access to the Fantastic Four's headquarters. Reed is surprised to find that it is Nick Fury, wartime hero,[Continuity 1] an agent of the CIA,[Continuity 2] and a colleague from his military days.[Continuity 3] After briefly reminiscing of the past, Fury tells of civil unrest and rioting in the South American nation of San Gusto, a country that is important to American interests and asks for the Fantastic Four's help in quelling the violence. Fury is surprised to hear that the Fantastic Four have broken up and decides to stay behind as Richards goes off to San Gusto alone. When the Pogo Plane lifts off from the Baxter Building, it is seen by the Thing, Johnny and Sue, who decide to go back to their headquarters to see what is going on. There they find Nick Fury, who plays on the trio's jealousy of each other to convince them to go to San Gusto as well. The trio and Fury all leave in the passenger ICBM that is launched from the roof of the Baxter Building.
Unknown to them all, the Hate-Monger is responsible for the unrest in San Gusto and has since relocated there via a sub-surface missile. While the Hate-Monger begins preparing weapons for his armies, Reed Richards is doing his best to destroy weapons caches across the country. However while on his mission, Richards is knocked out by a gas attack and is taken prisoner. The Hate-Monger shows his master plan, that from San Gusto he can utilize a massive Hate-Ray weapon that bounces off the moon to hit a target anywhere on Earth. Before the Hate-Monger can do more, Nick Fury ambushes him. Caught off guard, the Hate-Monger is forced to give over the antidote for his Hate-Ray. While Fury is busy administering the cure to Reed, their foe and his minions manage to escape. While Reed tracks down his errant teammates and administers the cure for them, Nick Fury follows the Hate-Monger to pin him and his men down before they could operate their global Hate-Ray. In the ensuing battle, the Invisible Girl uses her powers to get close to the Hate-Monger. When he tries to use his Hate-Ray, Sue ruins his aim, causing the ray to hit his two bodyguards. The guards then turn their weapons on the Hate-Monger, gunning him down. With their enemy dead, Nick Fury unmasks him and they are all shocked to see that their foe was apparently Adolf Hitler, the former Nazi dictator.[Continuity 4] With the Hate-Monger destroyed, the Fantastic Four return home.
- Because of the Sliding Timescale an explanation needed to be made to explain how Nick Fury has remained youthful even though he was born in the 1910s and fought in World War II. Marvel Spotlight #31 explains that Fury has been kept vital thanks to injections of the Infinity Formula which has kept him young since the war.
- Nick Fury joined the OSS after the bombing of Hiroshima between August 6 and 9th of 1945, as revealed in Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Vol. 3) #38. He remained in foreign intelligence when the OSS was later replaced by the CIA.
- This story states that Reed Richards and Nick Fury met during World War II when Reed was a member of the OSS. This was depicted in Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos #3. However per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 this story could not possibly happen. As the modern age "slides" forward to be in line with dates of publications, Reed cannot have fought in World War II. Reed's military service should be considered topical in relation to the era of publication per the Sliding Timescale. Since the publication of this story there has been one possible explanation. 4 #4 features a story where Reed recalls his grandfather John Richards who was a paratrooper who fought during World War II. This places a member of the Richards family as being active during the war. As such Reed and Nick's exchange can be interpreted by modern readers in two ways, either (a) Reed met Fury during his own time in the military without any reference to World War II or (b) that Fury was recounting an encounter with John Richards.
- This story implies that the real Adolf Hitler might not have been dead and casts question regarding the identity of Hate-Monger and if he is the real Hitler or not. This concept is historically accurate in that in real life during World War II, there is record of Hitler using at least one body double. This idea was first established in the Earth-616 universe in All Winners Comics #11 when the Destroyer attempted to assassinate Hitler to find his home full of impersonators. The real Hitler was slain by the original Human Torch in 1945 as depicted in Young Men #24. The "Hitler" seen here is actually a clone as revealed in Super-Villain Team-Up #17. That story states that these clones were made by the geneticist Arnim Zola. When the original Hitler died, his mind was transferred into a clone body, a process which has continued even after the death of the clone depicted here.
- As seen on page one, this issue is Story#X-488.
- This issue contains a Special Announcement Section as well as a letters page: Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Mike Cafferata, Jerise Newton, John Wright, Andy Wickstrom, Paul Moslander, Mrs. P. Priscilla, Donald Markstein, Danny DeVere, Dick Austin, Mike Randall, George Christie, and Jim Hamilton.
- This issue also contains a full-page cover reproduction ad for Amazing Spider-Man #7.
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