Quote1 Brothers have been hatin' each other since Cain and Abel, Susie. The lucky ones don't let it get the best of 'em. Quote2
-- Thing (Benjamin Grimm)

Appearing in "Closer Than Brothers!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • Previous Empty Umbra and Previous Empty Jaagur (merged into a single form) (Death)

Other Characters:




Synopsis for "Closer Than Brothers!"

The Fantastic Four are returning from a mission in space to stabilize the sun. Suddenly their ship begins to spin out of control upon re-entry forcing the Thing to initiate a crash landing. As military officials rush to the scene, the Fantastic Four bust free from the wrecked ship, narrowly escaping before the craft explodes. Back at base, the FF are reunited with Alicia, Franklin and Wyatt Wingfoot. While this is a touching reunion for most of the team, the Thing hangs back and broods since he is the odd man out. When Johnny becomes contentious of his moment of romance with Alicia, he tries to apologize, but Ben dismisses it telling them that they make a better couple than he and Alicia ever did. At this point, Johnny is forced to let everyone know that he proposed to Alicia and that she agreed that they should get married. This leads to a round of celebration and well wishing from everyone but the Thing who tells them that he has no intention of going to Johnny and Alicia's wedding. Their discussion is soon interrupted by the arrival of one of the military scientists who has some startling news for Reed.

Back in the lab, the scientist explains that while Reed's counter-phase beam managed to stop the destabilization of the Earth's sun, it also managed to draw something from a distant galaxy to their solar system, something alive. He plays back security footage taken from the Starcore space station showing a nine foot tall creature forcing his way into the station and commandeering the controls. Taking full responsibility for the arrival of the alien creature, Reed is prepared to venture back out into space and confront it and neutralize any threat it may pose.

However the Fantastic Four don't have the chance as the fused forms of the aliens Umbar and Jaagar transmit themselves to Earth with their warp harness, causing them to materialize in the dish of a radio telescope. Seeking revenge against the ones responsible for causing his fusion Umbar/Jaagar scoffs at the primitive world her appears and laughs as the soldiers ineffectually begin attack him with their useless bullets. Firing energy beams, the alien amalgam forces the soldiers back. The Human Torch rushes in and tries to keep the alien invader contained with a wall of flame. However this has little effect as Umbar/Jaagar grabs the flaming hero and begins absorbing his flame with his siphon suit. When the hybrid invader finally snuffs out the Torch's flames he is impressed by the form that attacked him. While Umbar/Jaagar is distracted, he is attacked by the Thing. As Reed and Ben move in, Sue rushes to her brother and revives him. Confused by what's going on, the fusion between the two aliens weaken momentarily, with Jaagar taking brief control before Umbar reasserts his dominance.

As the rest of the Fantastic Four try to make sense of what they just saw, Reed has already figured it out. But before Richards can explain, Umbar renews his attack. As the Fantastic Four pile in, they easily fall to their alien foe who then begins to lay waste to the airfield. When Umbar tries to blast a nearby hangar, Sue uses a force-field to protect it. The Thing then lunges in again and takes the full brunt of Umbar's energy assault, but Ben refuses to yield, pushing himself closer and closer. Soon, with his costume in tatters, Ben gets in and begins pounding on Umbar/Jaagar. Momentarily staggered, Ben then resumes the fight when Umbar tries to return his aggression towards his allies. Ben then beats the alien fusion to a pulp, beating him into unconsciousness. Ben has to be stopped by the She-Hulk before he kills their attacker and Sue places a force-field around their foe to contain him. When Umbar/Jaager revives, he explains the events that led to his fusion and arrival in Earth's solar system. Umbra's form is in dominance at this point and he explains the danger inherent in his brother Jaager, should he assert full control.

Reed suggests that they split up the two beings as they would be easier to manage in two separate, less powerful forms. Securing the amalgamated alien in a lab, Reed begins reverse engineering the warp harness in order to build a device that will separate the two beings. Restrained by Sue, Umbar/Jaagar scoffs at the science on this world and presumes that they will not have the technological means of reversing the process. As Reed activates the device, it begins to work, separating the two alien beings. As soon as they begins splitting apart, Umbra resumes his attack on his brother Jaagar while Sue tires to contain them in a force-field. The feedback knocks Sue backward and when Johnny tires to enter the fight he is similarly incapacitated. Ben enters the fray once again to pull Johnny to safety. During the course of the battle between the two alien brothers, Jaagar pulls a wire from the device causing a massive explosion that seemingly kills them both, ending their threat. When Sue wonders how two brothers could grow to hate each other so much, Ben -- finally removing the helmet obscuring his face-- tells her that brothers have hated each other since the days of Cain and Able, but puts forward that the lucky ones don't let it get the better of them.


Continuity Notes

  • The woman seen here is not the real Alicia Masters, but a Skrull spy named Lyja. As revealed in Fantastic Four #358 she was sent to spy on the Fantastic Four and took the real Alicia's place during the events of Fantastic Four #265.
  • Johnny proposed to "Alicia" last issue, they get married in Fantastic Four #300.
  • Ben's bitterness over Johnny and "Alicia" has a very complicated background involving. Some details:
    • Ben date the real Alicia Masters consistently since Fantastic Four #9.
    • In Fantastic Four #245 Reed had realized that Ben could change back and forth between his human and Thing forms at will but his belief that his girlfriend Alicia Masters only loved him at the Thing. Reed kept this a secret.
    • When most of the Fantastic Four were among those kidnapped by the Beyonder to battle in the first Secret Wars on Battleworld, Ben discovered he could change back and forth and believe it was because of Battleworld itself. He decided to stay there in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12.
    • Ben remained in Battleworld between Thing #11-22 where he eventually lost his ability to change back into Ben Grimm and returned to Earth.
    • When he arrived in Fantastic Four #257 he discovered that Johnny was now in a relationship with "Alicia".
    • Finally in Thing #23 the truth of what Reed had known came out and the Thing quit the Fantastic Four.
    • In Thing #36, Ben began to mutate into an even more hideous form and he fled hospitalization.
    • He ended up joining the Mole Man's society last issue where he was cured of his condition but still held a grudge against Reed and the Fantastic Four for everything that happened to him. Despite this he grudgingly rejoined the team.
  • Franklin mentions the last time he was at a wedding was when he was much younger. He is referring to the wedding between Crystal and Quicksilver that occurred in Fantastic Four #150. Franklin's recollection is vague because he spent most of the festivities in a coma that was induced by his father back in Fantastic Four #141.
  • Following the events of this story the members of the Fantastic Four appear in other publications:
    • Reed, Sue, She-Hulk and the Thing all make appearances throughout Comet Man #3-5 when Reed tries to assist Stephen Beckley in determining the nature of his powers.
    • Johnny next appears in Mephisto Vs #1 when the Fantastic Four are targeted by Mephisto, the first part of a major scheme to steal the soul of a god.

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