- Is your spirit broken yet? It soon will be --
- -- Psycho-Man
Appearing in "Torment"
- Thing (Hallucination Only)
- Undead Franklin Storm (Hallucination Only)
- Undead Mary Storm (Hallucination Only)
Synopsis for "Torment"
The Invisible Girl is plunging into a pit of fire screaming before she is pulled out out of danger by Mister Fantastic -- who appears incredibly old. He is there with the Thing (who has a human face) and an incredibly young Human Torch. The strict and stern Richards chastises his group for acting out of turn and the continue on to a fortress that Johnny has spotted up ahead. As they reach the fortress, a massive cannon fires a ball of energy at Johnny. Reed orders Sue to use her powers to deflect the blast, but she is too late. The energy ball strikes Johnny and he falls to the ground, his flame sputtering out. Sue rushes to his side, but she is too late, Johnny is dead. Furious that his little buddy is dead, the Thing charges toward the fortress. As he crosses the moat of green water, he realizes too late that the liquid is actually acid. As it begins to eat away at his body, Reed tells Sue to try and save his mind. But Sue is too shocked to do anything and the Thing dies. Reed berates her for not acting fast enough, costing them the lives of Johnny and Ben in the process. The more Reed berates his wife, the older he appears to get and the younger she becomes. By the time Sue musters up the power to create a bridge across the acid, she is a prepubescent girl and Reed is a very elderly man. As they approach the fortress, Sue notices a deadly spike trap and tries to warn Reed of it. Reed ignores her pleas to listen, and walks right into the trap and is killed. Now a little girl, Sue breaks down into tears over the loss of Reed as well. suddenly she is called by her parents and rushes to their side, only to be horrified by the fact that they are nothing but undead skeletons. When they touch her, she screams....
.... And as it turns out this is all an illusion cast into her mind by the Psycho-Man who holds the Fantastic Four prisoner. As Johnny yells at the Psycho-Man to stop, Reed points out that while they are trapped in these specially constructed cylinders there is nothing they can do. The Psycho-Man --- towering over his foes -- gloats about how he had been monitoring the Fantastic Four the whole time and knew about Sue's desire to get revenge against him for raping her mind. He then set up a device that caused their Reducto-Craft that caused them to shrink even smaller once they got to the Microverse, allowing him to capture them so easily. With his plan a success, the Psycho-Men then decides to enjoy his victory by torturing Sue further by twisting her emotions.
Elsewhere in a dungeon the She-Hulk is being held prisoner. Coming to she demands to be freed. One of her guards obliges her by opening her cell door. But when he says "boo!" to her, She-Hulk becomes instantly frightened and crumples to the floor in fear.
Back in the Psycho-Man's lab, Reed deduces that air must somehow get into their containers, and allows his body to become as lax as possible so it flows out of the opening below. Having deduced the Psycho-Man's deception, Reed rushes his foe and wraps his body around Psycho-Man's head. As Reed applies pressure, their foe activates his control box causing Sue great pain. Suddenly, Psycho-Man's head pops off like a cork from a champagne bottle, revealing their foe was actually using a massive mechanical body to trick them. Reed quickly explains how the Psycho-Man deceived them, when suddenly Sue realizes that She-Hulk is not among them and wonders where she is. Deep below their feet, Jennifer is being forced to lug loads of ore in a filthy mine.
- The Thing was, of course, a founding member of the group since Fantastic Four #1. During the time of this story, the Thing is estranged from the Fantastic Four after a long running stint on Battleworld in the Thing #11-Thing #22, Ben returned to Earth to discover that Johnny was in a relationship with what he thought was his girlfriend Alicia Masters (in reality the Skrull spy Lyja posing as Alicia) and quit the group in Thing #23. Ben remains estranged from the Fantastic Four until Fantastic Four #296.
- The undead forms of Sue's parents Franklin and Mary Storm appear here. Mary died in a car accident when Sue was very young, as told in Fantastic Four #32. In that same issue, Franklin sacrifices his life to save Sue and the Fantastic Four from a Skrull bomb. While these are merely hallucinations brought on by the Psycho-Man, Sue meets their spirits years later while visiting the afterlife in Fantastic Four #528.
- The Fantastic Four's first encounter with the Psycho-Man helped Reed realize that their foe was using a massive suit of armor to trick them in this story. When they first encountered him in Fantastic Four Annual #5, the Psycho-Man used a suit of armor to hide his diminutive size from his enemies.
- This issue has no letters page. In its place are adverisements for Squadron Supreme Limited Series and the Eternals Limited Series.
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