Appearing in "With Malice Towards All!"
- Fantastic Four
Synopsis for "With Malice Towards All!"
New York City is in flames thanks to the hatred stoked by the Hate-Monger. He gloats over his victory from a rooftop alongside his master the Psycho-Man, and their slave Malice -- formally the Invisible Girl of the Fantastic Four. People all over the city are now fighting, rioting, and destroying everything in sight. Hate-Monger is particularly proud of twisting Sue Richards into the leather tressed femme fatal before him. His gloating is abruptly stopped by the Pscyho-Man who orders his Hate-Monger to go out and complete his mission: the destruction of the Fantastic Four. With that, Hate-Monger orders Malice to seek out her former teammates and kill them. Without a moment’s hesitation, Malice leaps off the building, eager to kill her friends and family, her husband Reed Richards in particular.
Elsewhere in the city the hero known as Daredevil is leaping from rooftop to rooftop when he hears a cry for help. In a nearby alley a homeless African-American woman is being terrorized by members of a gang. Daredevil easily trounces the two gang members, but is suddenly shocked when the black woman suddenly strikes him and calls him a "honkey" before running off. Confused by this altercation, Daredevil gathers up the two gang members to the police hoping they can give him some answers.
While back at Avengers Mansion, the temporary home to the Fantastic Four, Reed continues his analysis of the strange hate filled pamphlets that are the root of the chaos in the city. Johnny Storm is also trying to reach his girlfriend Alicia Masters by phone, but cannot get a hold of her, although she should have arrived at home by now. Reed tells Johnny not to worry because Sue is the most powerful member of the FF and she can take care of herself and protect Alicia. Their work is interrupted by the Avengers’ butler Jarvis who tells them that the city is erupting with violence. Reed sends Johnny outside to see what he can do. Seeing the city in flames, Johnny tries his best to absorb flames wherever he can. As he does so, he recalls that the Wraith-War was not too long ago, and wonders if the world would be a more peaceful place without super-heroes around. His thoughts are cut off when he spots Alicia on a rooftop and goes to her side. She tries to explain her encounter with the Hate-Monger. After explanations are made, Johnny takes Alicia back to Avenges Mansion for her own safety.
Down in the streets below, She-Hulk revives from her battle with Malice. Contemplating how Malice defeated her, Jen finds it almost impossible to believe the true identity of her attacker. Back at Avengers Mansion, Reed has completed his device to stop the violence in the city and has Jarvis accompany him to the roof of the mansion to help him set it up. There they are confronted by Malice. Reed tries to defend himself, but is unprepared for his wife's unique use of her invisibility powers. When Johnny arrives on the scene, Malice uses her powers to cut off his oxygen supply so his flame goes out. Left to fall to the ground, Johnny is saved by the timely arrival of Daredevil.
Suspecting who their attacker might be, Reed asks Daredevil to use his enhanced senses to see what might be protecting Malice. When Daredevil confirms that there is some kind of force field around her, it confirms to Reed who their enemy is. As this fact sinks in for both Reed and Johnny, Sue unmasks herself. When Johnny tries to appeal to Sue’s love for him in order to snap her out of it, but she knocks him out for his trouble. Witnessing Malice harm her younger brother so viciously leads Reed to realize that Malice is fully capable of killing both him and Johnny as Franklin predicted, and also that Sue’s emotions have been inverted, so that all of the love she felt for Reed and Johnny has been turned into hatred. Realizing that the one and only way to free her and save his life and Johnny’s is to make Sue hate him, Reed is forced to deliberately say cruel things to his wife. When Malice, enraged, tries to kill him in response, Reed slaps her, and that snaps Sue out of the inverted emotions put in place by the Hate-Monger. Sue, finally free, then breaks down in tears in her husband’s arms. Reed gently comforts her, and Sue tells Reed that she knows who is responsible and wants to make them pay for what they did to her.
- The appearance of the Twin Towers at the site of the World Trade Center should be considered a Topical Reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. The twin towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2011. As Marvel time slides forward the earliest date of the Age of Heroes pushes fowards as well. As Marvel history has gone on for fourteen years in Marvel time, there are no longer any periods where the twin towers can exist in the modern age.
- Daredevil makes his appearance here between Daredevil #221 where he travels to Italy to battle the Council of Ten and Daredevil #222 where he and the Black Widow battle the Mud Brothers.
- The homeless woman Daredevil comes to rescue is Elsie Gertz, last seen in Marvel Fanfare #20 where she was also being hassled by a gang. She appears next in Secret Wars II #2 where she meets the Beyonder.
- The Fantastic Four are temporarily staying at Avengers Mansion because their headquarters the Baxter Building was destroyed by Kristoff Vernard in Fantastic Four #278.
- Johnny references the rocket flight that gave the Fantastic Four their powers. This is a reference to Fantastic Four #1.
- He also mentions the recent war against the Dire Wraiths, the events of that story mostly occurred in Rom #72-75, but the conflict also spilled into the pages of Fantastic Four #277.
- This is not really Alicia Masters by a Skrull spy named Lyja who took the real Alicia's place in order to spy on the Fantastic Four, as revealed in Fantastic Four #358. The switch happened during the events of Fantastic Four #265.
- "Alicia's" recounting of her and Sue's meeting with the Hate-Monger disguised as Reed Richards is expanded upon in Secret Wars II #2. During this recounting Sue mentions that "Reed's" arm is not broken, Reed broke his arm in Fantastic Four #276 while battling Elspeth Cromwell.
- Johnny mentions the prolific number of shapeshifters that exist in the world. He refers to:
- Snowbird then a member of Alpha Flight.
- States that there is always one "hanging around" the X-Men. Which is technically not accurate. At this point in their history, the X-Men did not have any shapeshifters among the group. However during this period one of their primary foes was Mystique and her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as seen in X-Men #141.
- Ironically, Johnny also mentions the Skrulls, who have been regular antagonists of the Fantastic Four since Fantastic Four #2.
- Jarvis mentions how the Avengers are currently busy, explaining why they are not available to help the Fantastic Four. This is putting it mildly as the group were busy containing a battle between Spider-Man and Firelord as seen in Avengers #258.
- Mr. Fantastic's slap of his wife here represents the second time that he has hit Sue. The other instance was in Fantastic Four #222.
- Although defeated here, the Malice persona persists and returns again in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #14.
- This story concludes in Secret Wars II #2 where the Fantastic Four go looking for Psycho-Man and the Hate-Monger. In that story the Hate-Monger is killed by the Scourge of the Underworld and Psycho-Man flees into the Microverse.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- This issue contains a letters page, Fantstic Forum. Letters are published from Stan Lee, Chuck Wilson, James Grattan, Joe Frank, Jeffrey Lowndes, Evan M. Lanctor, Danierl Roberts, and Josh Tretakoff
- The letters page reveals that the late Art Simek provided the inks for Fantastic Four #1. This information was given by Roz and Jack Kirby but is considered by many comic historians to be incorrect. Some would cite inaccuracies in Kirby's memory of events that took place decades prior.
- Write your own review of this comic!
- Discuss Fantastic Four Vol 1 281 on the forums
- Images from Fantastic Four Vol 1 281
|Like this? Let us know!|