- We may be calling our friends at Marvel Comics and telling them to start publishing Fantastic Five!
Appearing in "The Lady Is for Burning!"
- Frankie Raye (Origin revealed)
- Jake Grimm (First appearance)
- Aunt Petunia Grimm (First appearance)
- Phineas Horton (Main story and flashback)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The Lady Is for Burning!"
Frankie Raye has disrobed in front of her boyfriend Johnny Storm, revealing to him a strange costume that she is wearing underneath. She explains that she doesn't know where it came from and that it seems to disappear whenever she puts on clothing. When the couple begin talking about this bizarre discovery, Frankie begins to dimly recall waking up in a warehouse surrounded by ash wearing nothing but a trench coat draped over her, with little memory of her past. Remembering at least where she lived, Frankie lived thanks to money that was anonymously mailed to her. Other than her name and the name of her step-father Thomas, Frankie had little luck at remembering her past. When Frankie begins talking about the night she first met the Human Torch at the Last Disco night club, she was both attracted and disgusted by him due to a fear of fire. Johnny keeps pushing Frankie to try to remember and as she gets more and more upset something startling happens: she bursts into flame as well.
Suddenly set free by this newly discovered power, Frankie Raye rockets into the sky with complete abandon. Seeing that this might be trouble, Johnny absorbs the flames around the apartment and follows after her. Catching up to Frankie, Johnny begins to coach her on how to properly use her powers and convinces her to exercise some restraint after she had a head-on collision with a billboard.
With her powers exposed, Frankie feels long held mental blocks beginning to fall away, allowing her to remember her lost past. She explains that her step-father was an older man who married her mother long after Frankie was born. After her mother died, Thomas raised Frankie as one of his own. A caring man, Thomas Raye became upset when reading the news about the birth of the Fantastic Four, particularly regarding the appearance of a new Human Torch. As it turned out, "Thomas Raye" was actually Phineas Horton, the inventor of the original Human Torch android from World War II. Believing his creation to be destroyed, Horton decided to show the world what a real Human Torch was like by creating a new one. Taking Frankie to a long abandoned warehouse where Horton stored his long discarded scientific equipment they began working on doing just that. However tragedy struck when Frankie's foot broke through a floor board while she was carrying a barrel of volatile chemicals. The chemicals spilled all over Frankie, setting her ablaze. Horton quickly realized that the flames were not harming his step daughter and used his trench coat to smother the flames. He then hypnotized her to forget the whole ordeal, his involvement, as well as instilling her with a fear of fire. Frankie went about her life for a year in complete solitude until one day she received a package from her step-father which contained the costume and recorded instructions. Putting on the outfit, Frankie listened to the recording creating another hypnotic suggestion to make her forget about it.
Finally feeling free, Frankie decides to soar as high up into the sky as possible, ignoring Johnny's warnings that the oxygen is thin in the upper atmosphere. As the Torch feared, Frankie's flame was eventually snuffed out by the lack of air and he quickly saves her. With Frankie's flame restored, the couple then decide to go to the Baxter Building to give the news to the rest of the Fantastic Four. They arrive just as Reed and Sue are working on expanding Sue's powers. As Sue successfully turns herself and the stool she is sitting on invisible, Johnny and Frankie enter the room. After explaining everything to Reed, Mister Fantastic decides to run some tests on Frankie to see what they can learn about her powers. After a full analysis, Reed concludes that Frankie's powers are very much similar to Johnny's only she has more precise temperature control and can burn much longer. When Johnny asks, Reed tells him that Frankie can go on probation to be an addition to the team.
Later, Ben is in for a shock after grudgingly carrying a massive crate into the Baxter Building when he witnesses both Johnny and Frankie hovering in the air sharing a kiss.
Meanwhile, in the town of Benson, Arizona, another local has been scared seemingly to death. The two doctors examining the body conclude that this latest victim is like all the others and agree that it is time to finally call in the help of the Fantastic Four.
Appearing in "A Marvel Masterwork Pin-Up"
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "A Marvel Masterwork Pin-Up"
A one page pin-up of Sue Storm (with her much debated new hair-do!)
Appearing in "The More Things Change..."
- H.E.R.B.I.E. (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "The More Things Change..."
Sue and Franklin pay a visit to Reed in his lab, just as Richards is putting the finishing touches on a new robot nanny for Franklin. Reed hopes that the robot can not only keep an eye on their son's needs while they are away, but also keep tabs on the boys emerging mutant powers.
When Ben and Alicia return to the Baxter Building, Ben mistakes this new robot as the formerly deranged H.E.R.B.I.E. and tries to smash it. Reed stops the Thing and assures him that this robot lacks the personality programming that caused H.E.R.B.I.E. to turn on them in the first place. Telling Ben that he has a surprise, Reed shows the Thing his latest invention that he hopes will cure the Thing forever. Reed tells Ben that this will be a permanent transformation that cannot be reversed. Initially, Ben has his reservations, citing all the times that Reed had failed at curing him in the past. Those gathered are unaware that Ben secretly harbors doubts that Alicia actually loves the Thing, and that if he were cured she might leave him.
After some convincing, Ben agrees to undergo the transformation and at first it seems to work as Ben is reverted back to his human form. Suddenly the machine begins to short circuit and then explodes. As the smoke begins to clear, Reed is shocked to see that instead of being restored to normal, Ben has been reverted back to the leathery skinned form that he had during the early days of the Fantastic Four.
The Lady Is For Burning!
- Phineas Horton is the creator of the original Human Torch, an android crime fighter from the 1940s as seen in Marvel Comics #1. Here are some facts about him in this story:
- The appearance of Phineas Horton in this story occurs after the flashback in Avengers Icons: The Vision #3 where Horton created his Gremlin for the military. His next chronological appearance is in the flashback in Avengers #135 when the robot Ultron forced Horton to help him rebuild the Human Torch into the Vision, a job that ended in his death.
- The events of this flashback happen around the events of Fantastic Four #1.
- As the Sliding Timescale moves forward, it will become increasingly difficult to explain how Horton could still appear to be at least somewhat vital in the modern era. As of yet, Marvel has not provided an explanation.
- At this time Horton believes that the Human Torch android is dead. As per Saga of the Original Human Torch #4, the original Torch's body grew unstable and exploded over the Nevada desert in 1955 and he was believed to have died. However he was recovered and revived in the modern age by the Mad Thinker in Fantastic Four Annual #4
- The panel of Reed examining Sue's invisibility powers is using the same equipment he used the last time he examined her powers in such a fashion back in Fantastic Four #10.
- The two doctors in this story are revealed to be Ben's uncle Jacob and aunt Petunia next issue. Jacob's last chronological appearance was in the flashback from Thing #1 when he took Ben in after his parents died. Although this is Petunia's first appearance, she has constantly been referenced by Ben since Fantastic Four #25.
- Following the events of this story, the members of the Fantastic Four next appear in Rom #23 where they assist the Spaceknight Rom in his quest to get back into outer space.
The More Things Change...
- The members of the Fantastic Four appear here following the events of Fantastic Four Annual #16 when they assist Ral Dorn become the Dragon Master.
- Reed and Sue have been concerned about Franklin's mutant powers since they resurfaced in Fantastic Four #216.
- Alicia appears here following her last cameo appearance in Marvel Two-In-One #85.
- The unnamed robot is identified as H.U.B.E.R.T. in Fantastic Four #244.
- The Thing mistakes H.U.B.E.R.T. for H.E.R.B.I.E., a similar robot built by Reed in Fantastic Four #209. As revealed in Fantastic Four #217 the robot's programming was tainted by the mind of the evil genius known as Doctor Sun, causing the robot to try and kill the Fantastic Four until he was destroyed in that very issue.
- The Thing's reversion is to the appearance he had when he first mutated back in Fantastic Four #1. Ben maintained a more dinosaur-like appearance early on, but slowly evolved, starting in Fantastic Four #4, into the rock-like form that he is most commonly known for by around Fantastic Four #10. Although Reed maintains that this transformation is permanent, Ben actually gets returned to his more common rock-like form by Franklin in Fantastic Four #245.
- Starting with this issue, the cover price increases from 50 cents to 60 cents.
- Cover art: cover design by Salicrup (credit from letters page in Fantastic Four #243.
- This issue contains a letters page, Fantastic Four Fan Page. Letters are published from Brett Kelley, A. Anthony White, Richmond L. Garner, John A. Wilcox, Kevin C. McConnell, Mike R. Weseinak, Joe Caberra, Kirk Moore, Paul Munz, Stu Krull, Ben Bundens, John Zuber, Jr., Peter Ivanick, Brenda Robnett, and Rick S. Jones.
- The blurb from this cover Doctor Doom does not appear... has been a running gag at Marvel Comics as early as this issue in the early 1960s.
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