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Quote1 No Johnny, I still cherish what Ben and I once had, but he belongs in my past. My present, my future... they belong to us. Quote2
Alicia Masters

Appearing in "Prisoner of the Flesh"

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Synopsis for "Prisoner of the Flesh"

The Wasp checks in on Mister Fantastic who is working away in the Avengers lab, making repairs after their encounter with Marvel Girl earlier. He remarks the entire encounter has got him thinking of his old foe Doctor Doom, who is supposed to be dead. He recalls that after Doom's death, he somehow was present during the Secret Wars that they were all involved in with the Beyonder. Knowing how Doom has countless contingency plans to cheat death, Reed has cobbled together a device that will try to locate him by his brainwaves. He hopes to confirm that Doom actually died during the Fantastic Four's last "official" encounter with him when they battled Tyros. Sue interrupts their conversation to inform them that its time for her and the Wasp to go see Janet's hairdresser, they are also joined by the She-Hulk. While Reed has no interest in hairstyles, he tells the women he will walk them to the mansion foyer on his way to work on the new Fantasticar. As they leave, none are aware that Reed's device has picked up on a mental pattern closely matching that of Doctor Doom.

Later, as Sue is getting her hair done by Janet's hairdresser, they are suddenly interrupted by the sound of an explosion from outside. Going to the window they witness someone dressed up as the Invincible Man attacking the Latverian embassy. Sue finds this impossible since the Invincible Man was originally the Super-Skrull. The Wasp rushes out to stop him and is soon joined by Sue and She-Hulk, who quickly subdue him. The man in the Invincible Man costume tells them to stop, explaining that he is an enemy of Doctor Doom and appeals to them for help. When Sue tells the mystery man that Doom is dead, he points up to a nearby window in the embassy where they see what appears to be Doctor Doom standing within. When Sue mentions the possible diplomatic problems of attacking the embassy, the man tells them that Doom kidnapped his wife and child in order to get access to the technology in his invincible suit. Believing in the man's plight, the three women agree to try and help and storm the embassy.

Meanwhile, in Queens, an elderly woman named Sara gets a visit from her neighbor Peggy McArthur and her baby. Peggy is frantic as she has been forcibly confined to her home for months. She explains it all started when her husband Norman, went out for groceries. He was caught in the middle of the Fantastic Four's battle with Tyros and Doctor Doom. Afterwards, when her husband returned home he was acting strange and speaking with an accent. He then locked his wife in the house and began working on a suit of armor. When he recently left the house wearing it, Peggy later broke out and came looking for help. As she finishes her story, Peggy catches a news story on the television and is shocked to see her husband attacking the Latverian embassy.

At that very moment She-Hulk and the others are smashing through the front door to the embassy and are greeted by a group of Doom's Servo-Guards. As the four combatants fight it out, they notice that the Impossible Man is slipping away, and Sue decides to follow him invisibly. Losing him in one of the hallways, Sue decides to start checking the rooms. Opening one of the doors reveals what appears to be Doctor Doom, who detects her presence. While outside, Peggy and Sarah have come to the embassy determined to find out what is wrong with Norman. Despite Sarah's warnings, Peggy goes inside. Back indoors, Sue battles it out with what she quickly deduces is really a Doombot and destroys the robotic construct. However, the danger is not over as she is blasted from behind by the Invincible Man, who claims that he is really Doctor Doom. When Sue uses her powers to make his mask invisible to confirm this, she sees the fact of Norman McArthur -- someone who she doesn't recognize. As Sue and the Invincible Man battle it out, Peggy and Sarah enter the room. Conflicted about what to do, Peggy decides to help the man who she thinks is her husband and smashes a vase over Sue's head when she has the Invincible Man on the ropes. When Peggy rushes to her "husband" he chastises her and tells her that he is really Doctor Doom. Removing the Invincible Man mask underneath, the man in the suit is also wearing a Doctor Doom mask.

Doom explains that during the battle between the Silver Surfer and Tyros, Doom used a technique he learned from the Ovoids to swap minds with Norman McArthur who was spectating the battle from afar. While Doom escaped into Norman's body, Norman was left to be atomized in Doom's body. Although Peggy does not believe this, Doom continues, explaining after he completed the swap he tried to gain access to the embassy but due to his different body and voice the defenses would not allow him to enter, as such he devised this plan to gain access to his American base. Doom then finishes by telling Peggy that he intends to escape his current state and destroy his enemies. On that note, he looks through Sue's belt and recovers the Fantasti-Flare....

Meanwhile, in Central Park, Johnny and Alicia are out on a romantic horse buggy ride, where they talk about their feelings for one another. While she reiterates her past with the Thing, Alicia explains that she loves Johnny more than anyone. Johnny once again tries to muster up the courage to ask Alicia to marry him when suddenly he sees the Fantasti-Flare fire in the sky. Suddenly the groups new signal beeper goes off notifying Johnny that his sister is in trouble. Johnny quickly flames on and flies away. Alicia then ask the buggy driver to take her to the nearest taxi stand, telling him that there is nothing she can do now but pray.


Continuity Notes[]

  • Members of the Fantastic Four were last seen in other publications:
  • Reed mentions repairing the lab after their encounter with Jean Grey. This is a reference to the events of Avengers #263 and last issue when Jean Grey was discovered at the bottom of Jamaica Bay and revived. She had been there recovering after being replaced by the Phoenix Force in X-Men #101. Jean later went on to be reunited with the original X-Men to form X-Factor in X-Factor #1.
  • Reed mentions how he questions if Doctor Doom is alive or dead. Some clarification:
    • Doctor Doom launched a plot using Tyros, the former herald of Galactus against the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #258.
    • The battle took place in the pages of Fantastic Four #259260 and ended with Tyros and Doom apparently being incinerated battling the Silver Surfer.
    • Despite this, when the Beyonder gathered heroes and villains to take place in his Secret Wars, Doom was among the villains gathered. There, Doom usurped the Beyonder's powers and tried to use them himself before the Beyonder ultimately regained them and banished him. This happened in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #112.
  • Sue recognizes the Invincible Man costume from the time the Super-Skrull posed as her father/the Invincible Man in Fantastic Four #32. Sue forgets to mention that Doctor Doom also once brainwashed her own husband to take on the Invincible Man identity in Fantastic Four #196.
  • She-Hulk mentions that it "couldn't be" the Super-Skrull because they had recently defeated the Skrulls. This is a bold statement on the status of the Skrulls following the detonation of a Hyper-Wave Bomb that stripped them of their shape-shifting powers in Avengers Annual #14/Fantastic Four Annual #19. However the Super-Skrull's situation at the time of this story was far more complicated than that:
  • Sue mentions her recent traumatic episode causing her to become a more fierce fighter. She is referring to the emotional rape she experienced from the Psycho-Man in Fantastic Four #280284.
  • Doom specifies he was able to swap bodies with Norman McArthur thanks to the mind-swapping technique he learned from the Ovoids in Fantastic Four #10.
  • "Alicia" mentions her past relationship with the Thing. Some history on that:
    • Alicia and the Thing had been dating consistently since Fantastic Four #9.
    • They had been re-evaluating their romance between Thing #210 when suddenly Ben, Reed and Johnny were captured by the Beyonder to participate in the Secret Wars.
    • In Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 Ben decided to stay behind on Battleworld because he could change back and forth between his human and Thing forms. He remained there between Thing #1122.
    • In the meantime, Lyja replaced Alicia, just as the Fantastic Four returned in Fantastic Four #265. Per Fantastic Four #358 When Lyja learned the Thing stayed behind she pursued a relationship with Johnny in order to maintain Alicia's ties with the Fantastic Four.
    • Johnny and "Alicia" officially began dating in Fantastic Four #276 and the Thing found out the following issue which led to Ben's departure from the group in Thing #23. He remains estranged from the Fantastic Four until Fantastic Four #296.

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