- Don't think I've ever been hit that hard.
- -- Thing
Appearing in "Man and Super-Man!"
- Skrulls impersonating:
- Julie Angel
- Skrull spaceship
Synopsis for "Man and Super-Man!"
A group of four Skrulls are fleeing into Earth space trying not to be captured by Gladiator, of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard who has been pursuing them since they made an unauthorized passage through Shi'ar space. With nowhere to run the Skrulls decide to execute a special maneuver to defeat their foes. Just as the Gladiator gets within range, both he and the Skrull ship are lost in a blinding flash of light....
Meanwhile on Earth, the Thing and Human Torch are taking a stroll through Central Park. Ben remarks how well Johnny has been taking his loss of Frankie Raye. Their discussion is interrupted by Frankie's old roommate Julie Angel who is performing as a clown in the park. When introduced to the Thing she can't help but act a little scared. The Thing takes it as a moment to depart, leaving Johnny and Julia to reconnect. In another part of the park, Ben mulls over how she was scared of him and the usual motions of coming to terms with his appearance when he suddenly hears a woman call for help. Ben sees that a horse is riding out of control with a young girl on it. Quick thinking, Ben stops the horse and saves the little girl from a nasty tumble. The mother is so grateful that the Thing saved her daughter, she kisses him on the lips. Just then, Ben spots the Fantasti-Flare and has to depart. Johnny is the first to arrive at the newly reconstructed floors of their Baxter Building headquarters. There he finds Reed and Sue and learns that Reed has detected a strange energy reading within their solar system that might be a threat.
At that very moment, Gladiator arrives in New York City and his arrival is witnessed by the Thing who is trying to get the Baxter Building by taxi cab. Unable to understand the Gladiator's alien language, Ben decides to step in when the Shi'ar warrior begins tossing cars around. Ben tries to fight his foe, but is no match for his superior strength and is thrown right into the upper floors of the Baxter Building. Suddenly the building is rocked at Gladiator lifts the Baxter Building right from its foundation. While Sue protects the rest of the team and Franklin from tumbling out of the hole made by Ben, Johnny goes outside to face their foe. The Torch is also no match for the Gladiator's super-human strength and invulnerability to fire. Gladiator then snuffs the Torch's flames out with a gust of breath. After catching Johnny, Reed uses his universal translator to see what the Shi'ar warrior wants. As it turns out, Gladiator believes that the Fantastic Four are really Skrull impostors.
Reed tries to reason with Gladiator, but he does not listen and incapacitates him. Going back into the Baxter Building, Gladiator then faces off against Sue. She contains him in a force field, but he easily breaks out, knocking Sue unconscious in the process. Witnessing his mother being hurt, Franklin tries to attack, but is easily knocked aside. Furious at his inability to do anything, Franklin tries to use his powers but they are dormant. By this time the Thing has revived and gets the drop on Gladiator, but this is a short lived advantage as the super-man knocks Ben outside the building and then throws a city bus on top of him. As Gladiator cries out in victory, he is told the battle is not over. Turning around he is shocked to see what appear to be Cyclops, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler of the X-Men!
- The Fantastic Four previously appeared in other publications they are:
- Reed and Johnny last appeared in Marvel Two-In-One #92 during Ben and Machine Man's battle against Ultron.
- Ben last appeared in Marvel Two-In-One #95 where he teamed up with the Living Mummy against Gamal Hassan.
- Sue was last seen in the pages of Incredible Hulk #177-179 where she was one of the many heroes who helped the Hulk be granted clemency.
- Franklin appeared in the celebrations for the Hulk's freedom in Incredible Hulk #179.
- The Skrulls were last seen in Marvel Graphic Novel #1, when some of their number paid their respects to Captain Marvel on his death bed. They last faced the Fantastic Four when the Prime Ten attacked the group in Fantastic Four Annual #15.
- Gladiator was last seen in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #155-158 when the X-Men last clashed with the Imperial Guard and their new ruler Deathbird.
- When Ben references Johnny's recent romantic woes, he is referring to Johnny's last girlfriend Frankie Raye. Johnny dated Frankie on-and-off between Fantastic Four #164-207 and Fantastic Four #232-244 when she became a herald of Galactus.
- The Baxter Buildings top six floors were decimated by Terrax in Fantastic Four #244, the reconstruction is completed in this issue. This is the third time the Fantastic Four's headquarters was reconfigured since they moved in back in Fantastic Four #3, the last time was in Fantastic Four #201.
- The corner stone on the Baxter Building reads the year 1961. Typically a corner stone identifies the year a building was constructed. Per Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #4 the Baxter Building was actually constructed in 1949. The use of 1961 is a homage to Fantastic Four #1, which was published in November 1961.
- This is the second time the Fantastic Four's universal translator is physically seen. The last time was in Fantastic Four #237.
- Gladiator accuses the Fantastic Four of being Skrulls. The Skrulls once imitated the Fantastic Four way back in Fantastic Four #2.
- Franklin tries to use his mutant powers, however they have gone dormant again as seen at the end of Fantastic Four #245.
- As revealed next issue, these are not actually members of the X-Men, but Skull impostors. At the time of the story the X-Men are in deep space battling the Brood as seen in Uncanny X-Men #161-167.
- The scene changes from "a star is born near Pluto" to Central Park, described as "two or three billion miles away". Distance from Pluto to Earth commonly ranges from 27.34 to 45.98 billion miles, far more than the 2 or 3 billion miles given by the narrator.
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