- ...One thing is clear ... The Fantastic Four have a job to do!
Appearing in "Cityscape"
- Exploratory Module
Synopsis for "Cityscape"
On a distant world within the Negative Zone, below a massive metallic citadel a race of aliens try to eek out an existence. Among them is Taiya, a young woman who is intended to be sacrificed as a bride of Ootah, much to the jeers of her people. She is pulled aside by her mortal lover Tannar who suggests that they leave the madness of their people behind so that they can remain together in love. Taiya cannot accept that and suggests that Tannar forget about her and find a new love to have children with. Their discussion is interrupted when they both spot a strange object coming down from the sky. The people rush to see what it is.
The object turns out to be the Fantastic Four in their Negative Zone Exploratory craft. Once it lands the team disembarks and begins exploring the area around them. Reed is about to do a scan of the stars in the sky when the aliens attack. Spotting the danger, Sue is able to shield her husband with an invisible force field, but is too late to stop a drugged dart from hitting him. Johnny and Ben fight back, easily knocking back the primitive villagers. Believing that she is seeing demons, Taiya spots the unconscious Reed Richards. Taking one of her warrior's daggers she attempts to slit his throat, but is ambushed by Sue who gets the drop on the alien woman by turning invisible. Suddenly the battle is called to a halt by the alien's leader Mama Shonti. She tells her people that these must be the "four who fall from the heavens" that is spoken of in their prophecy. The Fantastic Four are taken back to the village where they are assured that no permanent harm will come to Reed and he will revive from the drug soon.
When Sue asks them about the prophecy that Mama Shonti spoke up, she tells them of the massive citadel their village is camped outside of, a massive complex they called Ootah and worship as a god. Mama Shonti explains that four thousand life-times ago her people lived within Ootah, a technological utopia that provided their people with everything they could ever desire. Ootah eventually grew to take up half the planet as it increased in size. The scientists of their people constructed a living brain so that Ootah could operate to perfection. But one day something happened and their people were forced to flee Ootah. Once outside the massive complex it closed its doors to them seemingly forever. The Children of Ootah lived outside it's walls forever since, but Ootah's walls continue to grow, crowding up on their people. Mama Shonti finishes her tale by telling them that the prophecies spoke of four beings that would come from the heavens to help them regain control over Ootah. Explaining to Mama Shonti that the Fantastic Four are dedicated to using their powers for those in need, Sue offers the team's aid in helping the Children regain dominion over the massive complex.
Meanwhile, back at the Baxter Building on Earth, young Franklin Richards wonders what is taking Alicia so long with getting him a snack. His worry turns to fear as Annihilus smashes into the room. Detecting that Franklin no longer has his powers, Annihilus lunges across the room and throws the young boy against a wall, knocking him out. The ruler of the Negative Zone then drags the young boy into the portal chamber he emerged from where the unconscious Alicia Masters has been suspended from the ceiling.
Back in the Negative Zone, the Fantastic Four watch as Taiya is being prepared to be made a bride of Ootah. They watch as she approaches the entrance into the citadel. As the door opens, Johnny quickly spots a ray cannon emerge. Realizing that they are sacrificing Taiya to their "god" he flames on and pulls her way before she can be atomized. When the people protest, the Thing demonstrates how their superstitions have gotten the better of them. Tossing a rock at the door way, the Thing shows that the cannon is primed to blast anything that enters its range. This shakes the Children of Ootah down to their very core as they realize they needlessly slaughtered so many of their women to appease a seemingly indifferent "god". Realizing that there outer defenses are a threat, Johnny, Ben and Sue begin attacking the outer walls of Ootah, smashing their way inside.
At that moment, the drugs that have incapacitated Reed wear off, and having heard everything that was said previously, rushes off to stop his teammates before it is too late. But he is too slow to arrive as he finds the rest of the Fantastic Four in the main control room, appearing just moments after Ben finished destroying Ootah's living brain. Reed explains that they had done a egregious wrong, in that Ootah was alive and it rejected it's "children" out of self preservation. In killing Ootah, they destroyed the ascension of a truly unique life form. As the Children of Ootah begin ripping the massive citadel to shreds, Reed tells his team that they have just learned their first lesson in the Negative Zone: that nothing can be taken for what it appears to be.
- Annihilus has been aware of Franklin's powers since he tried to use them for his own ends in Fantastic Four #140-141. However at the time of this story, Franklin's mutant powers have been dormant since Fantastic Four #245.
- Alicia and Franklin are next seen in Fantastic Four #255, both still prisoners of Annihilus.
- With the exception of the advertisements and the letters page, this cover and the entire issue is printed sideways.
- In this issues letters page, Fantastic Four Fan Page, letters are published from Mark Waldman, Elsizabeth Holden, Stu Krull, Matt A. Yockey, Jor Frank, Rod Wahowske, Keith McCafferty, and David Allen.
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