- It feels like we wuz just drop-kicked by Galactus!
- -- The Thing
Appearing in "The Man with the Power!"
Races and Species:
- United States of America
- Outer Space
- Fantastic Four Space Rocket
Synopsis for "The Man with the Power!"
L. R. ‘Skip' Collins is an ordinary Joe, a typical middle-aged family man who holds down a regular job for a regular day's pay, lives in an unexceptional suburban home, drives an unexceptional car, and has a wife and a dissolute hippie son who are something of a disappointment to him. His is an ordered but frustrated existence, an anonymous existence, and almost crushing in its mundanity were it not for the fact that he possesses a singular super-power that grants his every wish. But being an unimaginative ordinary Joe he is completely unaware that he has these powers, so when he wishes his house were a little tidier, so it becomes; when a traffic jam threatens to makes him late for work he unwittingly turns back the clock a half hour to avoid the jam.
His life takes a startling upturn when he gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to New York, where he sees the tourist sights, the Statue of Liberty, the Twin Towers of the WTC, the Flatriron Building, the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, and last but not least the Baxter Building. ‘Skip' is fortunate enough to catch sight of Reed and Sue Richards on the sidewalk, and decides to follow them in the hope of getting their autographs. He is on hand to see the Mr. and Mrs. Fantastic rescue a young girl from a derelict building due for demolition, just before the building unexpectedly collapses. Reed is convinced the collapse was no accident, and sure enough a series of powerful shock waves begin to rock the city, reducing the proud skyscrapers of Manhattan to rubble.
The tremors are felt downtown by The Thing who is passing the time with an old test pilot buddy in Clancy's Irish pub when the building is completely destroyed. As Ben emerges from the rubble he surveys the utter destruction of New York. Across town at the same time, Frankie Raye and Johnny Storm feel the effects of the shock waves as Frankie's apartment collapses underneath them. The Human Torch is able to rescue the other quake victims in the block, but wonders what could have caused earthquakes in a city built on solid bedrock. The answer is found back at the Baxter Building, where Reed discovers that the effects are not just localised, but world-wide, with all the major cities of the world now lying in flaming ruins. Reed has some theories he wants to explore, and sends the other three members of the group out to help the city-wide rescue. As Ben tries to hold together a collapsing Brooklyn Bridge long enough to allow a ship to pass beneath it, ‘Skip' Collins suddenly appears and unwittingly helps Ben hold the cables together until the danger has passed.
Unfortunately ‘Skip' is thrown off the bridge and into the river, but Ben's search for him is fruitless and he heads back to the Baxter Building. There Reed reveals that the gravity waves that have destroyed most of the cities on the planet originate from outer space, and as the FF leave Earth to investigate, ‘Skip' surveys the damage and destruction and wishes it gone, and so his powers kick in for one final time, restoring all the cities to their former state and exhausting his powers in the process. In outer space ship the FF finally confront the source of all the devastation: Ego The Living Planet, threatening the total destruction of the planet Earth.
- The members of the Fantastic Four all previously appeared in Marvel Two-In-One #80, most of the team in a cameo, while the Thing later teamed up with the Ghost Rider.
- This story states that Skip Collins served in the military in the 1950s. If this is a topical reference due to the Sliding Timescale or not is open to interpretation at this time. Given Skip's powers, it's entirely possible that he could have been a young man in the military in the 1950s and still maintain the appearance of a man in his middle age in the modern era.
- The appearance of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in this story should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale. The twin towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Per the Sliding Timescale, Marvel time slides forwards so that the current month's publications take place in the year we live in, and you subtract the passage of Marvel years from there. As of this writing, the Fantastic Four have existed for fourteen years. As of the year 2015 all appearances of the original twin towers are considered topical references because subtracting Marvel time from the current year always places the Marvel timeline after the year 2001.
- According to the tour guide Skip is looking at, the Baxter Building was constructed in 1961 by millionaire industrialist Jackson Leigh Baxter. This is the first reference to Jackson Baxter, however Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #4 states that the building was actually constructed in 1949. This date has been corroborated in all subsequent handbooks that have information pertaining to the construction of the Baxter Building. The use of the year 1961 as the year of construction should be considered a homage to the fact that Fantastic Four #1 was originally published in November 1961.
- Frankie Raye makes her brief appearance here after Fantastic Four #232, where she and Johnny rekindled their romance.
- Ego the Living planet appears here following the events of Thor #226-228 where Thor and Galactus sent Ego rocketing out of control into the depths of space.
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