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Quote1.png I told 'ya they'd be back! My mom and dad always find a way! Quote2.png
Franklin Richards

Appearing in "In All the Gathered Gloom!"

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Synopsis for "In All the Gathered Gloom!"

Negative Zone dweller Stygorr the Nightlord has become aware of a chunk of New York City that has appeared in the Negative Zone and vows that whoever is responsible for bringing this positive matter into his domain will die by his hands. Meanwhile, on the floating chunk of Manhattan city block, the people who did not evacuate during the Fantastic Four's battle against the Ebon Seeker become aware of the strange energy radiating around them and the buildings, as well as the sudden change in the sky. Throughout the block of Manhattan that has been transported into the Negative Zone, people begin gathering to try and find out what is going on. Among those are a shoe-shine boy, beat cop officer O'Roarke, a jewelry shop owner, a hot dog vendor, and lastly Lew Shiner, the site boss of a building demolition crew. Shiner in particular is upset about the change to their environment as it believes it will affect the demolition job he has set out to do.

With the crowd outside the Baxter Building growing larger, the Fantastic Four activate building security to keep them out while Reed tries to determine a way to free themselves. When Ben and Johnny decide to go down and calm people down, Reed stops them. Reed takes them into his lab where he explains that their only way back home is through the distortion field between the positive and anti-matter universes, but without a specially made portal they will not be able to easily cause the transition between universes without annihilating themselves. Reed assures his team that he has his computers working on a solution to their current crisis.

Meanwhile down below, the New Yorkers trapped in the Negative Zone with the Fantastic Four are getting restless and begin throwing things at the Baxter Building. The Torch flies down to quell the riot with the help of officer O'Roarke. Everyone begins to listen until Shiner begins working people up again, accusing the Fantastic Four of trapping them on purpose for some experiment. Johnny sends the mob fleeing with his flame powers, then he and the Thing reinforce a barrier around the Baxter Building's front entrance, sealing it from outsiders.

Not far away in the Negative zone is Stygorr has confirmed his suspicion about the invaders and vows to destroy them. As Stygorr ventures toward the floating chunk of Manhattan, Shiner and his workers have regrouped at the demolition site. There he works them up and suggests that they use dynamite to blast their way into the Baxter Building and force the Fantastic Four to end their "experiment" and return them home. While inside the FF's headquarters, Reed is showing his team the plot that he has developed to get them through the distortion field and back to their universe. However, just as they are going over plans, Stygorr attacks by firing energy beams at the barriers that protect the city block from the deadly anti-matter universe. While back on Earth, the block that vanished has been replaced by a black mass of energy. Watching news reports that suggest that the Fantastic Four may have perished, both Alicia Masters and Lorrie Melton fear for the worst. Young Franklin Richards however is convinced that his parents will return home safe and sound like they always do.

With Stygorr attacking the Baxter Building, Reed mobilizes a solution to fend off their attacker. Rushing back inside, Reed and Ben jump through the Negative Zone portal in Reed's lab in order to appear behind Stygorr and catch him off guard. In order to moor themselves to the lab, Reed holds onto a bar with his pliant arm, telling Johnny to watch and pull him back if it looks like he is losing his grip. Although they get the drop on Stygorr, the pair are easily incapacitated by one of his energy blasts. While within the barrier, Shiner and his men head toward the Baxter Building, the only person standing in their way is officer O'Roarke. However Lew manages to convince his mob to attack the officer, allowing Shiner to gain control of the policeman's service pistol. When the people begin to question what they should do about Mister Fantastic and the Thing battling Stygorr above them, Shiner tells them that the two members of the Fantastic Four can look out for themselves.

As the mob gathers around the front of the Baxter Building and begins laying down the dynamite, Sue notices the danger and calls Johnny over for help. With things looking grim, the Torch has to leave his post in order to toss aside a stick of TNT that was left at their makeshift barrier, and later stop Lew Shiner's wrecking ball from smashing open their headquarters as well. Eventually people come to their senses and try to subdue Shiner. Deprived of his gun, Shiner vows to get his way and storms off. Seeing the conflict below, Reed and Ben return through the Negative Zone barrier. Reed has finally come to a conclusion of how they can get back: utilizing the explosives on the demolition site, they can propel themselves through the distortion area by blasting off the building set to be demolished, the momentum sending them forward on their intended course. Johnny is sent out to get people out of the demolition site, freeing officer O'Roarke and a homeless man. However Lew Shiner refuses to answer Johnny's calls, and Johnny is forced to leave. While Shiner schemes, Sue uses her invisible force field to create a cushion between the part of the block they are about to blast away and the rest of the city. Outside the energy barrier, Stygorr continues his assault on the invaders in his domain.

Back on Earth, the news continues to fear that the Fantastic Four have lost their lives saving the city and begin a retrospective on their career. While Alicia and Lorrie continue to be more grim about the situation, Franklin still refuses to give up hope. At that very moment in the Negative Zone, Sue pushes apart the demolition site sending it hurtling into the Negative Zone. This causes Shiner to tumble out and collide with Stygorr, and the two begin to forcefully and painfully merge together as the dynamite explodes, seemingly killing them both. The resulting blast sends the city block hurtling through the distortion zone returning it to the very spot in New York City from which it came from, much to the surprise of the live TV news crew. Twenty minutes later, Lorrie, Franklin and Alicia are reunited with the Fantastic Four. However when Johnny tries to kiss Lorrie, she stops him and tells Johnny that she can't continue their relationship because it was nothing but fun to her and that Johnny is taking it too seriously. She tells Johnny that she wants to remain friends and to keep in touch before leaving. Johnny, sadly concedes to her wishes. As the Fantastic Four are reunited with their family, officer O'Roarke provides a report to his fellow officers, telling them that Lew Shiner likely perished in the Negative Zone.


Continuity Notes

  • When the Fantastic Four begin discussing the debris belt, Ben mentions experiencing it before, as he did in Fantastic Four Annual #6. It neglects to mention that Reed has had encountered it when he first ventured into the Negative Zone in Fantastic Four #51.
  • The news reporter gives a very abridged recap of the Fantastic Four's career. Here are some of the references she makes.
    • The comments on the Fantastic Four's first battle with the Mole Man from Fantastic Four #1. At this point in their history, the Fantastic Four last faced the Mole Man in Fantastic Four Annual #13 when he was gathering his Outcasts.
    • She makes a brief mention of the Fantastic Four's first encounter with the Silver Surfer which occurred in Fantastic Four #4850. At this point in history, the Fantastic Four last interacted with the Silver Surfer was in Fantastic Four #155157 when Doctor Doom tried to manipulate the Surfer into attacking his allies.
    • Lastly she references Doctor Doom himself, who first fought the Fantastic Four back in Fantastic Four #5. He last clashed with the group in Fantastic Four #196200, a battle which ended with Doom being driven mad. Doom recovered from his madness in Fantastic Four Annual #15.
  • This is the last appearance of Stygorr, although he is mentioned again in Fantastic Four #251 when the Fantastic Four make their next trip into the Negative Zone.
  • This is also the final appearance of Lorrie Melton. She has not been seen since.
  • The Fantastic Four and their supporting cast appear next in other publications:

Publication Notes

  • This issue contains a letters page Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from John Zuber, Jr., S. Smith, Scott matthews, Todd Howington, John Rogers, Steven Keel, Stever Thurman, Phillip Romano, and James Timlick.
  • The letter page announces that John Byrne will be the artist and writer of Fantastic Four beginning next issue.

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