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Reed Richards

Appearing in "Terror in a Tiny Town"

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Synopsis for "Terror in a Tiny Town"

Part 1: As I Lay Dreaming... Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Susan Storm and her younger brother Johnny all sneak onto a military facility so they can launch Reed's new experimental rocket before the government can cut their funding. After blasting into space they are about to activate the new experimental Star Drive, but are suddenly bombarded with Cosmic Rays. As the ship hurtles back toward the Earth, Johnny feels like he is about to burst into flames while Ben becomes so heavy he can barely lift himself from the the floor. Just as the rocket crash lands on Earth and explodes....

... Johnny Storm awakens to discover that it was all just some crazy dream and that he is safe and sound in his home in the quiet town of Liddleville. Realizing that he has to start get ready for work, Johnny thinks to himself about how simple and happy his life is and wonders if he should talk to his sister and her husband about the strange dreams he has been having. When he arrives at the Richards home, he does so just as Reed is leaving to the university to teach class, almost forgetting his lunch in the process. Sue tells her brother that Reed has been acting very absent minded of late and suspects it's because Professor Vaughn has been giving Reed so much grief lately, on top of these strange dreams that Reed has been having about he and Ben Grimm taking a rocket flight. Shocked by this similar dream, Johnny debates telling his sister of his own, but decides against it.

Johnny then continues on his way to the garage, passing by Ben Grimm's bar where he waves to his old friend. Ben is soon joined by his wife Alicia, and after a tender moment where Alicia remarks how weird it is that she is so happy to be able to see her husband the pair share a kiss. Across the street is Alicia's step father, Phillip Masters, who is pleased by the what he sees as things are going according to plan. He finishes sweeping the front steps of his toy shop and then returns inside. Later that evening, Sue and Reed are retiring for the evening. Sue asks Reed if he got any more grief from Professor Vaughn, Reed remarks that he actually spent the day talking to Professor Singh about his problem, as he has come to believe that Vaughn is paranoid. Sue goes to sleep shortly thereafter and begins to have a powerful nightmare...

Sue is in a meeting with Reed, Ben and her brother Johnny. Ben is warning Reed about the potential dangers to his rocket flight that might be posed by cosmic rays in space. Reed tells Ben that the dangers are worth the risk for the sake of science. When Ben continues to warn Reed against this plan, Sue calls Ben a coward. This angers Ben, who suddenly begins to transform into a misshapen monster. Starting with lizard like skin, Ben's form continues to mutate into a rock-like form as he tries to attack Reed. Much to Sue's continued horror, Reed is able to stretch his body and use it to try and subdue Ben. But Reed is no match for Ben's strength. When Johnny tries to smash a chair over Ben's monstrous form is has little effect. In retaliation, Ben grabs a burning log from the nearby fireplace and thrusts it into Johnny, causing him to catch on fire, but with no apparent harm to himself....

Sue wakes up screaming, Reed asks his wife what is wrong, but she dismisses the experience as a bad dream and goes to check on their son Franklin. Reed also begins getting out of bed, concerned for his wife and also with the doubts over his ability, wondering if Professor Vaughn is correct in his assessment that he truly incompetent after all. At lunch time the next day, Reed and Johnny have a meal together at Ben's bar. There they share their recent bad dreams. Ben tells them how in his, all four of them have super-powers: Reed can stretch, Johnny can burst into flame, Sue can turn invisible, and he himself has super-human strength. Ben remarks that the strangest part of his dream is that he and Alicia are not married, and that Alicia is actually blind. When Reed begins comparing the similarities between their dreams, this line of conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Phillip Masters and Alicia.

Later when Reed returns to work at the university, Professor Singh shows Reed the school's latest addition: A LeSalle-Devaney Particle Accelerator. Reed marvel's over it's ability to recreate any form of radiation and can't wait to begin experimenting with it. However these hopes are quashed thanks to the arrival of Professor Vaughn, who tells Richards that he is forbidden from using the device as he is too incompetent to operate it. As Reed walks away defeated, Professor Vaughn gloats silently over his victory. Reed returns to his classroom where he begins trying to figure out what connection their strange dreams he and his family have been having. Focusing on this thoughts, Reed begins to drift asleep, and suddenly he remembers: He and his family are members of the Fantastic Four. He recalls the rocket flight that endowed them with their powers. He also remembers recent events when the team last returned to their Baxter Building headquarters. Suddenly they felt compelled to gather up their things and take Franklin with them into the Fantasti-Car and fly out to a castle out in upstate New York. There they found they were enthralled by their old foe the Puppet Master, and his mysterious employer....

.. Before Reed can remember who the Puppet Master was working for, he falls backward out of his chair and wakes up from the fall. Deducing that the Puppet Master somehow transferred their minds into robot bodies, Reed decides to test this theory by cutting open his arm with a scalpel. Reed is shocked with the sudden pain that causes him to black out, splayed out on the floor or bleeding out.

An hour later at the Richards home, Sue is entertaining Ben, Alicia and Johnny, and they are worried why Reed is late. When Richards finally returns home he explains to them what has happened but they are reluctant to believe the truth, but Reed refuses to give up on making them believe the reality of their situation. A day later, Phillip Masters is opening his store for the day when he is suddenly attacked by Ben Grimm who is furious that Masters would manipulate them so deeply. With the threat of more violence, Phillip tells them that their bodies are in synth-clones and that he had created all this for Alicia's benefit. When Reed asks the Puppet Master who employed him, that employer speaks up, making his presence known to his foes. Looking up into the night sky of Liddleville, the Fantastic Four are surprised to see the towering foe of their greatest enemy of all, Doctor Doom.

Part 2: If This Be Doomsday!

Liddleville is actually a miniature town within the American castle of Doctor Doom. The former monarch of Latveria stands over the small town which is surrounded by machinery hooked into the minds of the real bodies of the Fantastic Four, young Franklin Richards, and Alicia Masters. Doom explains his plan to trap the Fantastic Four in Liddleville in bodies without powers as the ultimate revenge. He explains that he was controlling the body of Professor Vaughn the whole time as a means of further taunting Reed. With his explanation complete, Doom departs leaving the Fantastic Four to their fate so that he can focus his attentions toward regaining the Latverian throne.

Taking Phillip back to their home, Reed continues to interrogate him for answers. They learn that both Doom and Masters transfer in and out of their duplicate bodies -- actually robots instead of synth-clones like the FF -- using a special ring. Upon closer examination they find that the ring's ability to recall a mind to its original body has been terminated. As Reed and Ben talk it over, Phillip manages to slip away and escape out the front door. When Ben finally realizes it, Reed tells them that the Puppet Master is not important, getting back to their original bodies is. While Reed begins working on a plan, everybody goes to sleep for the night. The next morning at breakfast, Alicia arrives at the Richards house and tells them that she and Ben had an argument. Ben had come to believe that their entire marriage in Liddleville was a sham and a perversion cooked up by Doctor Doom and the Puppet Master and storm off into the night. Reed goes out looking for Ben tells Reed that he had decided that he does not want to go back to his old life, because even though Liddleville is a lie, at least he has his normal body back and he and Alicia can have a normal relationship. When Reed tries to rally Ben and convince him that what they are doing is more important than anything, Ben chooses not to listen. Unable to get through to his old friend, Reed decides to leave and continue on with his plan without Ben Grimm at his side.

Later at the university, Reed, Sue and Johnny break into Professor Vaughn's office and find the inert robotic body used by Doctor Doom during his time as "Vaughn". There they find a key to the LeSalle-Devaney machine where Reed hopes to recreate the cosmic radiation that gave them their powers. As Reed starts up the machine, he decides that he is going to test it on himself first, when suddenly they are interrupted by Ben who has come up with a change of heart and offers hismelf to test it instead. Reed explains that the process will actually give them increased powers more in line with their actual human proportions. Ben steps into the machine and is transformed into the Thing once again. When Alicia enters the room, Ben is horrified and tells her to go. Physically seeing Ben as the Thing for the first time, she reassures Ben that his appearance means nothing to him and that she loves him no matter what he looks like, just like when she was blind.

Hours later, Johnny goes to the edge of Liddleville where he is stopped by an army of Doom's Servo-Mechs, but they are caught off guard when Johnny flames on and they are ambushed by the rest of the Fantastic Four. Using their powers in tandem to leave the confines of Liddleville, Reed pilots them to the power supple where he hopes to restore their minds to their proper bodies. But they find that the power supply unit is gone and they need to lure Doom into their clutches. To this end, Reed has Ben pull an electrical wire from Liddleville's computer systems and they break free the water from the river. When no alarms sound, Sue convinces the rest of the team to let her go out and seek Doom herself. Sue attacks Doom as he is playing the piano with his mask off, but he manages to pin her under a drinking glass. Putting back on his mask, Doom goes in to look on his prisoners.

Spotting the exposed wires in the flooded room, Doom blasts it with his gauntlet, unaware that Reed had anticipated this and the energies used have begun charging the Liddleville device. The three remaining members of the Fantastic Four then ambush Doctor Doom, tripping him over. When Doom reaches out for purchase, he grabs hold two ends of a circuit that Reed constructed that not only jolts Doom with electricity, completes the process of returning the Fantastic Four, Alicia and Franklin to their original bodies. In the aftermath of the battle, the Fantastic Four find the inert body of Doctor Doom laying on the floor. Reed decides that they should take Doom back to their headquarters until they can turn him over to the Latverian embassy.

As the Fantastic Four leave Doom's castle, they are unaware that they are being watched by Doctor Doom himself, whose mind fled into the body of Professor Vaughn. Doom then plans to wait until his hated foes are off guard before he activates the ring to return himself to his original body. But before he can do so, a rock hits the ring, damaging it. Doom is then shocked to see that Phillip Masters has gathered up all the mock-citizens of Liddleville into a lynch mob. Angered that Doom foiled his plans to make his step-daughter happy, Phillip Masters thirsty for revenge. Doom is then sent fleeing into the countryside of Liddleville, an angry mob of faux-citizens chasing after him from behind.

Appearing in "The Challenge of Dr. Doom!"

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Synopsis for "The Challenge of Dr. Doom!"

An adaptation of a previously unused script for the 1978 Fantastic Four cartoon written by Stan Lee with art by Jack Kirby. This story is an adaptation of the Fantastic Four's first battle with Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #5, with H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot taking the Human Torch's place.

Appearing in "In Case You Just Joined Us..."

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Synopsis for "In Case You Just Joined Us..."

Article on Fantastic Four history and on this issue's second story.

Appearing in "The Hulk vs. The Phoomie Goonies"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Marvel Hostess Ads #62

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Synopsis for "The Hulk vs. The Phoomie Goonies"

Reprint of the 1st story from
Marvel Hostess Ads #62
  • Synopsis not yet written


Continuity Notes

  • The Fantastic Four and Franklin were last seen in wherein the Fantastic Four assist the X-Men and the Shi'ar in stopping a Badoon invasion.
  • Alicia Masters was last seen briefly in Marvel Two-In-One #80, where she almost got injured in the Baxter Building.
  • This story features multiple recaps of of the rocket flight that endowed the Fantastic Four with their powers as first depicted in Fantastic Four #1. This version of the origin story is updated to include mention of a "Star Drive", replacing the original Space Race/Reaching the Moon origin first established in the first issue.
  • In Sue's dream, Ben's transformation is a constant transition through the ordeal. First he has dinosaur-like skin. This form begins slowly transforming into the trademark brick-like form. This is a nod to the fact that the Thing continued to mutate after his initial transformation in Fantastic Four #1. He began mutating into his rock like form in Fantastic Four #4, with his trademark appearance first appearing in Fantastic Four #10. This constant mutation was first explained in Marvel Two-In-One #50.
  • The Puppet Master appears here following his last appearance in Marvel Two-In-One #74 when he convinced the Thing and Alicia to take him back to his native Transia to gather more of his special clay.
  • Doom's face is obscured in darkness here because it is horrifically burned. Doom originally scarred his face in a college accident as first depicted in Fantastic Four #5, as revealed in Fantastic Four #278, Doom only received a scar on his face, he wasn't fully disfigured until he first put on his iron mask while it was still burning hot.
  • Both Doctor Doom and the Puppet Master's mind remain trapped in their robotic bodies in Liddleville where they are visited by the Micronauts in Micronauts #41. Doom's inert body is put in stasis next issue.

Publication Notes

  • This 20th anniversary issue is extra large sized and has a cover price of $1.00.
  • 41 characters are depicted on the cover of this issue. One is of Fantastic Four co-creator Stan Lee. A key to the cover images is contained inside the issue.
  • In The Challenge of Dr. Doom!:
  • inks (story pages) by Stone pages 1, 7, 12, Ayers pages 2, Milgrom page 3, Sinnott page 4, 10, Bell page 5, Brodsky page 6, Colletta page 8, 11, Giacoia page 9, Marcos page 13, Byrne page 14.
  • the story is based upon the plot from Fantastic Four Vol 1 5. The story was developed from artist Jack Kirby's storyboards from the 1970's Fantastic Four cartoon.

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