Appearing in "Hero Worship"
- Harvey Jessup (First appearance)
- Exiles of Central City (First appearance)
- Roxxon (Main story and flashback)
- Avengers West Coast (Only in flashback)
- Iron Man 'Silver Centurion' Armor (Only in flashback)
- Salvation Generator
Synopsis for "Hero Worship"
The Fantastic Four and their ally Wyatt Wingfoot have been exploring Central City searching for their missing teammate She-Hulk. The city has been caught in a time accelerating dome where in mere hours outside, thousands of years have gone on within. While exploring the group has just discovered a massive statue worshiping the original Fantastic Four. After recounting recent events prior to their entering the dome, they mull over the possibility that She-Hulk may have died in the hundred and fifty years that passed between their own entry into this place. With nobody in sight, Johnny becomes impatient and flames on to explore, although Reed cautions the Torch to be careful. As the group continues to search for their missing comrade, they are secretly observed by some of the beings that live in this city, who have taken note of Reed and Sue's Fantastic Four costumes. As Johnny continues his search in the sky he is suddenly attacked, snuffing out his flame and causing him to fall. As he plummets the Torch manages to use his powers to create the Fantastic Four's signal flare alerting the others to his plight. Before Reed and Sue can go to Johnny's aid, Wyatt is ambushed by a massive man shouting "Clobber-Time!"
They are soon attacked by an army of similar men, garbed in outfits that have a helmet similar to the one the Thing once wore early in his career. They are also attacked by strange flying men with bo staffs and strange two-headed people who can project invisible force fields just like Sue. As the trio fend off their attackers, Johnny recovers from his fall. As he tries to get to the others he is attacked by a group of diminutive beings that can turn into fire balls. Flaming on, Johnny tries to fly away from his attackers, but the living fire-balls manage to strike Johnny, leaving flaming goo on him that begins to weight him down. In an attempt to get his attackers off of him, Johnny tries his nova flame, but accomplishes nothing but knocking himself out. Meanwhile, the others are not faring any better, Wyatt is knocked out by one of their flying attackers, while Reed is overpowered by the Clobberers, and Sue is about to fall when suddenly their attackers are stopped by a regal woman who is introduced as Princess Livia.
Princess Livia orders them to stand down, and tells her minions that they have been attacking their gods. Conjuring up images of the Fantastic Four as they first appeared, their former attackers bow before the FF and Wyatt. Soon a parade is thrown in the honor of the group. As the quartet travel through the procession, they begin to consider their options on what to do next. Soon a celebration is thrown, and the people of this strange world ask the Fantastic Four to help heal their troubled world. When Reed asks what happened, Livia is confused that "Richards the All-Knowing" could not know what is going on. This is where Wyatt steps in and convinces her that Reed's question is merely a test of her faith.
She explains that centuries ago a man named Jessup was developing a new type of nuclear reactor for the Roxxon corporation. When the Roxxon execs wanted to rush the design, Jessup refused for fear of a nuclear cataclysm and was promptly fired. Soon a nuclear pact with Russia was scrapped and Jessup began to fear that a nuclear Armageddon was coming. He suddenly found inspiration one day when watching the Fantastic Four on the news, and Reed Richards himself expressed an interest in studying field-effect phenomenon. Inspired, Jessup began developing a device that would protect Central City in a field-effect dome that would keep it safe in the event of nuclear war until the outside world was safe to inhabit again. This device was later known as the Salvation Generator. According to Livia, such a moment happened thousands of their years ago and Central City has been safe ever since. Jessup helped advance their society and they formed a religion based on the Fantastic Four. She finishes her tale by saying that their people would be set free the day the Four returned to their homeland.
Reed takes his group aside and realizes the woman was talking about Harvey Jessup, a former colleague who had the expertise. Richards theorizes that Jessup must have attempted to make time move slower on the inside of the dome, but something went wrong and believes that the reason the dome is expanding outside is because it is about to come down, leaving them to wonder what they will do with all these exiles from the "future world" of Central City that will be unleashed upon their world. When Reed asks to see the Salvation Generator. Much to their surprise Livia agrees and also orders Jessup himself to be brought out. They soon are greeted by a decrepit old Harvey Jessup who has been kept alive by being kept in suspended animation of the ensuing centuries. Jessup demands to know what is going on, but when Reed tries to explain what is going on and offering his help, Harvey finds it hard to believe. He suddenly believes that they are impostors, like the green woman that he saw over a hundred years ago.
Reed gets his team to stand down and tries to convince Harvey that he is the real Reed Richards. Jessup decides to use his Ultimate Adjudicator helmet to determine if they are lying or not. Sue doesn't fully trust him and Jessup proves right, not willing to give up his title as savior of the people of Central City, Harvey activates a weapon on his helmet that seemingly disintegrates the Fantastic Four and Wyatt.
- The statue of the Fantastic Four depicts the group as they appeared circa Fantastic Four #3. The representation of the Thing has lumpy dinosaur-like skin which is how the Thing appeared between Fantastic Four #1–10. Marvel Two-In-One #50 explains that the Thing continued to mutate after his initial transformation and eventually evolved into his trademark rock-like appearance.
- The members of the Clobber Patrol wear helmets similar to the one that the Thing briefly wore in Fantastic Four #3.
- As per Iron Man: The Iron Age #1–2, which centers around the early career of Iron Man leading up to the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D. states that the Roxxon corporation was actually operating under the name of Republic Oil and Gas Company at the time of this flashback. It was after their failed attempt to steal S.H.I.E.L.D. technology from Stark that the Republic Oil and Gas Company rebranded itself as Roxxon. That series was published in 1998 years after this story, as such this should be considered an incidental continuity error.
- References to the Soviet Union in this story should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- The newspaper Jessup is reading in the flashback has a story of the Fantastic Four's first battle with Doctor Doom, placing some of these events as happening around Fantastic Four #5.
- In the flashback, the Thing is wearing a full Fantastic Four uniform. He abandoned this uniform shortly after getting it in Fantastic Four #3. Although Jessup is seen watching that interview after the events of Fantastic Four #5, one could assume that he is watching a pre-recorded interview.
- Plot by Byrne, script by Stern.
- This issue contains a letters page, Fantastic Forum. Letters are published from Thomas Wheeler, Mark Szymczak, Mike Merriles, Richard Merlin, Scott Ringler, George O'Malley and Mike Lambert.