- Where Mister Fantastic goes, the rest of the Fantastic Four will follow.
- -- Sue Richards
Appearing in "Cowboys and Idioms"
Synopsis for "Cowboys and Idioms"
Having discovered a time platform in the laboratory of Reed Richards' long lost father, the Fantastic Four and Wyatt Wingfoot have decided to use the device to try and search for him. After the final preparations are made, Reed has the family butler -- Giles Peacock -- activate the device and the group are transported sideways in time to a parallel universe where Reed believes his father may have been lost. The group materializes in a strange desert where they spot what appears to be a town patterned after an old town of the American Frontier surrounded by bombed out craters. Seeking to learn more about this mystery, Reed sends Sue to do reconnaissance while invisible, stressing to her that it is important that she goes unseen until they can learn more about where they are. As Sue makes her way to the town she wishes her husband would stop treating her like she is delicate. Examining the blast craters she notes that they are quite old. Once she reaches the town she turns invisible and remarks about how it looks like Dodge City circa 1884. As she looks around, she suddenly witnesses a cowboy being thrown out of one of the buildings. This cowboy, dubbed the Kid, is being challenged to a draw by the local outlaw Bret Colby. As they prepare to draw, Sue decides to step in as she does not want there to be unnecessary bloodshed. When the two gun fighters draw, Sue puts up an invisible wall between them. She is surprised to find that they are not carrying six-shooters but high tech weapons of some future time. Colby, using a heat-seeking bullet, watches as his shot leaps over the invisible wall and strikes the Kid in the back, killing him instantly.
Realizing that something was interfering with his fight, Colby begins to look around. Unable to see any trace of anything he decides to use the infrared scanner on his gun. Sue tries to stop him by turning it invisible, but Colby can still figure out how to fire the weapon and begins firing it in her general direction. With her cover blown, Sue erects an invisible shield around her and makes herself visible so she can barrel through Colby and run out of town. As Sue gets out of town she is suddenly surrounded by three of Colby's men, riding rocket powered robot horses. Seeing that Sue is in trouble the rest of the Fantastic Four leap to her aid, She-Hulk belting out the Thing's old battle cry of "It's Clobberin' Time". The Fantastic Four make short work of the three cowboys and their mechanical steeds. As Sue tries to explain what happened, the group is then attacked by a massive tripod device resembling the martian ships from H.G. Wells' novel War of the Worlds. The device stomps on She-Hulk and when Johnny tries to use his flames to free her, is manages to cover him in particles of carbon, snuffing out his flame. As the tripod begins to move, Sue notices that She-Hulk has punched a hole into the robots foot and is smashing her way up the inside of its leg. With the leg trashed, the tripod topples over in a heap. She-Hulk then bursts out and liberates the masked pilots inside.
By this point, Bret Colby and his men have arrived on the scene who explains that he attacked Sue because he thought they were with the Warlord. When Reed tells them that they are not with the warlord, Reed introduces himself. This causes a start with Colby and one of his men, who believes that Warlord is a Richards. Wondering if Reed is family to the Warlord, they decide to try to use the situation to their advantage. Meanwhile, She-Hulk unmasks their attackers and they are shocked to discover that they are nothing more than cave-men in high tech armor. Reed explains that these throwbacks of humanity are controlled by neurological devices in their helmets. As Reed muses over the bizarre mishmash world they have found themselves on, the Fantastic Four are unaware that they are being monitored from afar.
When one of the guards monitoring the course of events he asks his mistress if they should inform their ruler of what is transpiring. The woman tells the guard that she will bring the news herself. The hard faced woman then has her servants remove the armor she is wearing and dresses her in a fine gown. It is a softer, gentler woman who then enters the chambers of her husband and son to bring news to the ruler of this society... Nathaniel Richards, Reed's father.
- The Fantastic Four have had a prior experience with a time machine of this nature since they encountered a similar model created by Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four #5.
- This strange parallel universe the Fantastic Four ended up in is identified as the same universe of their old foe Rama-Tut the time traveler the group fought in Ancient Egypt in Fantastic Four #19. This fact is revealed next issue. This universe is indexed as Earth-6311 in Marvel Encyclopedia: Fantastic Four.
- She-Hulk mentions being a member of the Avengers. She-Hulk joined the Avengers in Avengers #221, she just recently joined the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #265. At this time she retains membership on both teams.
- Reed is over protective of Sue due to the fact that she recently had a miscarriage of their second child in Fantastic Four #267.
- Reed refers to the locals as "indigents", meaning people in poverty, instead of indigenes, meaning natives. That's one of the few cases where Reed misuses a technicism.
- Reed mentions She-Hulk taking the place of the Thing on the team. Ben left the Fantastic Four in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 at the end of the first Secret Wars when he discovered that he could change back and forth between his human and Thing forms while on Battleworld. Ben remains on Battleworld between Thing #11-22.
- Nathaniel Richards wife is identified as Cassandra next issue, however their child remains unnamed.
- Prior to his appearance here, Nathaniel Richards was last seen in a flashback from Avengers: Forever #9.
- This issue is dedicated to the late Sol Brodsky.
- This issue also contains a letters page, Fantastic Forum. Letters are published from Jeff Clear, James Learue, and Malcolm Harvey.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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