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Quote1.png How about lightin' my see-gar before you hustle your way out? Quote2.png
Ben Grimm

Appearing in "Masquerade!"

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Synopsis for "Masquerade!"

As Reed immerses himself in the task of repairing the Baxter Building's systems from last issue, Sue berates her husband for sending Franklin to Whisper Hill to be looked after by Agatha Harkness, and for ignoring her protestations before walking out on her husband. Reed, however, is oblivious to his wife's complaint and sends H.E.R.B.I.E. to the central computer core to run a systems check. Inside the core, H.E.R.B.I.E. interacts with the main computer and, with access to all the secrets of the Fantastic Four's systems, laughs ominously to himself.

Johnny, meanwhile, is enjoying a night out at a New York discotheque and meets Alison Blaire, the Dazzler. Having defended Alison from the unwanted attentions of a customer, Johnny settles back to watch her at work. As she goes through her act, Johnny is mesmerized by her mutation-powered performance. In Sue's private quarters, she comes under attack from H.E.R.B.I.E., who threatens to kill her. Turning invisible and trying to escape doesn't help as H.E.R.B.I.E. uses infrared sensors to track Sue's movements before knocking her out with an energy blast and binding her helplessly to the wall.

Reed and Ben are busy installing a new lock on the portal in the Negative Zone chamber, but they, too, come under attack from H.E.R.B.I.E., who manages to blast Ben through the portal and into the Distortion Area. Reed tries to rescue Ben but is kept at bay by his robot creation, which reveals that it is possessed by Dr. Sun. Ben makes it back through the Negative Zone portal and grabs H.E.R.B.I.E., but the robot dissipates a massive electrical current into the Thing, flooring him in the process but giving Reed precious time to activate the FF's emergency signal.

Across town, Johnny cuts his dance short with Alison and blazes away to answer the distress call. As he returns to the Baxter Building, he is attacked first by compressed air guns and then by flame-retardant foam before finally being imprisoned in a vacuum chamber. Reed manages to enter the circuitry of the building's computers and over-ride Dr. Sun's control, thus releasing Sue and Johnny from captivity and restoring H.E.R.B.I.E.'s personality. Realizing that Dr. Sun could easily regain his control, H.E.R.B.I.E. chooses to sacrifice himself, destroying the main computer and Dr. Sun in the process.


Continuity Notes

  • Reed and Sue were last seen upgrading the security in the Baxter Building circa Marvel Two-In-One #70.
  • Ben and Johnny were last seen attending a performance by Dazzler in Dazzler #2 that was later crashed by the Enchantress.
  • This story reveals that H.E.R.B.I.E. has been possessed by Doctor Sun since he was built in Fantastic Four #209.
  • The flashback of the New Champions, Doctor Sun and the Sphinx flying to Xandar is from Nova #25.
  • Dazzler appears here between Dazzler #2 and 3.
  • Although H.E.R.B.I.E. sacrifices himself here, Reed continues building new versions of the robot. The next time H.E.R.B.I.E.s are utilized are in Rom #23 when the Baxter Building is invaded by Rom the Spaceknight along with Power Man and Iron Fist.
  • The Fantastic Four next appear in Micronauts #1417, where they assist the Micronauts in their clash with the Psycho-Man.

Publication Notes

  • Cover art: pencils and inks by Sinnott.
  • Plot by Wolfman and Mantlo, script by Mantlo.
  • This issue features a letters page, Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Matt Kaufman, Kurt S. Olsson, and David Christopher Hill.

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