- But Ms. Marvel is the new freak on the block. And she's already crazy!
Appearing in "The Turning Point!"
- Brinkman (Latverian)
Synopsis for "The Turning Point!"
Johnny and Crystal arrive in Wakanda and are shocked to see that the transformations Ben and Sharon have undergone during their battle against Fasaud. When they offer their condolences, Ben brushes it off as being mutated is nothing new to him. But when Crystal promises that they will find a cure for Sharon, Ms. Marvel bursts out laughing and then angrily reminds them how many times the Fantastic Four failed to cure the Thing, and how without Reed Richards on the team anymore they don't stand a chance of succeeding. Ben calms everyone down and tells them that they should meet their host, but warns Johnny and Crystal that they are in for a shock. In the next room, Doctor Doom is meeting with T'Challa to seek aid to liberate Latveria from Kristoff Vernard, the young ward programmed to think he is the real Doctor Doom. Johnny protests to this request for aid, pointing out that Kristoff shouldn't be ousted just to replace him with someone who is no different. The Black Panther reminds Johnny that his role as a fellow king is to provide sanctuary for Doom and has no intention of putting his people in harm's way in a conflict with Latveria, on top of his personal feelings and his allegiances to the Fantastic Four and Avengers. T'Challa then tells the group that once Doom has left, he wishes to accompany them back to the United States. Hearing this, Doctor Doom insists that he return to the United States with the Fantastic Four as well. This leads to a brief argument between T'Challa and Doom on whether they will allow the deposed leader to accompany them. After some posturing, then reluctant respect from Doom, T'Challa decides to take him with them. Meanwhile, in Latveria, Kristoff Vernard receives reports that his "impostor" is heading to the States.
When the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom, and Black Panther arrive in New York City it is in the middle of a massive parade. Landing on the Wakandan embassy, T'Challa and his allies find the celebration is for X-Factor, who had just recently saved the city from Apocalypse. When Crystal suggests that they go down into the parade crowd to watch, Sharon is the only one reluctant to go, but Crystal convinces her that people won't be scared of her appearance if they're having a celebration for mutants.
Down on the street level, the Fantastic Four, Doom and Black Panther watch as X-Factor passes them on the parade route. Suddenly the celebration is attacked by Kristoff's minions on flying devices. The Fantastic Four and their allies are joined by X-Factor. During the fight, Beast and Sharon are blasted aside. Beast asks why Sharon isn't fighting, and she tells him that it's because she is a monster, while the Beast's reason for not fighting was a promise made to his teammate Iceman. Eventually, the combined forces of the Fantastic Four, X-Factor, Black Panther and Doctor Doom turn the tide of battle forcing the remaining shock-troops to retreat.
In the aftermath, Doctor Doom asks the group of mutants to join his fight to liberate Latveria as his allies, an offer that Cyclops refuses. Furious at this latest denial, Doom then uses his armor to incapacitate and ensnare both Ms. Marvel and Beast. Doom threatens to kill both of them if the Fantastic Four and X-Factor do not agree to launch an attack on the Latverian embassy, giving them an hour to comply. Doom blasts the ground under them and makes his escape with Sharon and Beast as his prisoners. Once the smoke clears, neither team agrees to follow Doom's terms and instead decide to follow him. With Black Panther leading the way, the two groups search for Doom and their captured friends.
Farther down the tunnels, Doom uses a secret elevator to breach the Four Freedoms Plaza, entering through the lab once used by the Reed Richards. This comes to a surprise to Sharon, but Doom explains it was easy to plant spying devices within the Four Freedoms when it was being constructed so that he could spy on the Fantastic Four and learn all of Reed's secrets, including the secret elevator he used. Gloating over his ability to hide surveillance equipment in the headquarters of his most hated foes, Doom then contains Sharon and Beast within a stati-cage. Left to their own devices, Beast asks Sharon why she won't break them out of the cage with her strength. She tells him that she doesn't know how. Recognizing the machine Doom is working on, Beast realizes it is dangerous, but cannot remember why. When Sharon tells Beast to deal with it himself, he tells her that he can't because of the promise he made to Iceman not to fight, because every time he uses his strength he loses some of his intelligence.
Frustrated, Beast chastises Sharon for having the power to do something but choosing to do nothing instead. When Beast decides to do something in spite of his promise, it snaps Sharon out of her funk. Sharon throws herself into the energy walls of the stati-cage, eventually causing it to short out just as Doom finishes examining Reed's Nega-Neutrino Displacement Diaphragm. Doom is surprised but is able to blast Sharon with the weapon. This causes Beast to leap to the attack. When Doom knocks Beast aside, it sends the mentally diminished mutant berserk. The rest of the Fantastic Four and X-Factor arrive. Not recognizing who is who anymore, Beast attacks everyone in sight, prompting the Thing to leap in and try and contain him.
During the confusion, Doctor Doom grabs Crystal and takes her hostage. He then demands the Black Panther promise him safe passage out of the Four Freedoms Plaza or he will kill the girl. Panther agrees grudgingly. As Doom makes his leave and X-Factor takes custody of Beast, Sharon realizes that she has been a fool the past few days since her transformation. She explains to Ben that after seeing Beast sacrifice his own intelligence to help those in trouble, regardless of the repercussions, she realized that she should stop looking at her transformation as a curse but as a blessing, because the power she has now can do so much good and looks forward to continuing her tenure with the Fantastic Four.
- This story is a tie-in to the Fall of the Mutants, while not part of the main stories. They were indirectly involved in these events:
- The X-Men seemingly sacrificing their lives to save the Earth from the Adversary in Uncanny X-Men #225–227
- The New Mutants clash with the anti-mutant organization known as the Right, resulting in the death of their teammate Cypher in New Mutants #59–61
- X-Factor's battle with Apocalypse over New York City where they had to fight their former teammate Angel, who had been transformed into one of Apocalypse's Horsemen in X-Factor #24–26
- Other tie-in stories during this event include Power Pack #35, Daredevil #252, and Captain America #339. All the tie-in stories had a connection to X-Factor's battle with Apocalypse.
- Sharon chastises Crystal for suggesting that she could be cured, pointing out all the times that Reed Richards has tried but failed to cure the Thing. The last time Reed tried -- and failed -- to cure the Thing was back in Fantastic Four #238.
- Sharon mentions how Reed is no longer part of the team. Reed and his wife Sue took a leave of absence from the group in Fantastic Four #306 to spend time with their son Franklin. The couple eventually return to the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #326.
- Doctor Doom is seeking allies to liberate his kingdom of Latveria because it had been taken over by Kristoff. The events leading up to this are complex and as follows:
- Kristoff is a ward of Doctor Doom, who took the boy in as his own in Fantastic Four #247 after his mother was murdered.
- When Doctor Doom was seemingly killed in Fantastic Four #260, his Doombots reprogrammed Kristoff's mind with Doom's memories and personality in Fantastic Four #278. When the Fantastic Four later beat Kristoff they imprisoned him.
- The real Doctor Doom was later restored by the Beyonder in Fantastic Four #288.
- Later in Fantastic Four Annual #20, Doctor Doom kidnapped Franklin to use as a tool against the demon Mephisto to rescue the soul of his mother. In order to get into Doom's castle, the Fantastic Four let Kristoff free. After Mephisto was defeated, Doom was forced out of his own country after admitting he made an error. This convinced the Doombots that Kristoff was the true Doctor Doom, as the real Doom would never admit to making an mistake.
- Following his appearance here, Kristoff is next seen in West Coast Avengers (Vol. 2) #35 where he battles the Avengers West Coast.
- Doom once again makes an offer to cure Sharon as he did last issue. Sharon refuses again, but she will eventually take him up on the offer in Fantastic Four #350.
- Black Panther recalls how the United States cut a deal with Doctor Doom in the past. He is referring to the events of Super-Villain Team-Up #6 where the Fantastic Four were forced to abandon a mission to rescue the Sub-Mariner due to diplomatic relations between the United States and Latveria.
- The Panther also compares Doom's situation to what is happening to Captain America at the time of this story. This is a reference to the fact that Steve Rogers had been removed from the title of Captain America at the time and replaced with John Walker in Captain America #332–334. This was all part of a complex scheme by the Red Skull to outlaw, tear down, and eventually kill his hated enemy. The fruition and failure of that plan eventually comes to a conclusion in Captain America #350.
- Crystal mentions that X-Factor are mutants like her estranged husband. Some facts:
- Crystal is referring to Quicksilver, former foe of the original X-Men, and later an Avenger. The two met and fell in love in Fantastic Four #131–132 and were married in Fantastic Four #150. Neglected by her husband, Crystal later had an affair with real estate agent Norm Webster in Vision and the Scarlet Witch (Vol. 2) #6–12.
- Everyone believed this drove Quicksilver mad, but it was later revealed in X-Factor Annual #2 that Crystal's cousin Maximus was responsible. Quicksilver was later contained by the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #304 and turned over to the Inhuman Royal Family in Fantastic Four #306 for treatment.
- However, Crystal is incorrect in stating that her husband is a mutant. When he was a child, Quicksilver was experimented upon by the High Evolutionary. To cover up his work he made it so Quicksilver would always register as a mutant when examined. At the time of this story nobody, not even Quicksilver, was aware of the truth. This was finally revealed years later in Uncanny Avengers (Vol. 2) #4.
- Johnny recalls that he is one of the few who know that X-Factor were secretly the original X-Men. Some backstory:
- The members of X-Factor were first gathered by Professor X to be his first team of X-Men back in X-Men #1.
- The original Fantastic Four -- which included Johnny and Ben--- first met the X-Men back in Fantastic Four #28 and worked with the original team many times. The last time that occurred was back in X-Men: The Hidden Years #8–9, when the two groups battled the Z'nox.
- More recently, in Fantastic Four #286 the Fantastic Four revived the body of Marvel Girl after she was pulled out of Jamaica Bay. For years she had been in suspended animation after she was replaced by the Phoenix Force between X-Men #101–136.
- The Fantastic Four reunited her with the original X-Men in X-Factor #1. They formed X-Factor, who initially posed as mutant hunters in order to gather young mutants and secretly train them. They also operated as the "X-Terminators" when they needed to go out in costume. Ultimately, this cover was blown during the Fall of the Mutants event.
- The Beast mentions the reason why he is not fighting is because of a promise he made to Iceman. This pertains to the fact that, thanks to the touch of Pestilence in X-Factor #19, whenever Beast used his strength he would lose some of his intelligence. By this point it had gotten so bad that Iceman had the Beast promise not to use his strength anymore in X-Factor #26. The Beast is eventually cured of his this debility in X-Factor #33.
- Ben locked up Reed's lab after he took over as leader in Fantastic Four #308.
- Doom mentions he bugged the Four Freedoms Plaza and used the devices to build a secret elevator into the building. He apparently did this behind the scenes during his visit to the Four Freedoms in Fantastic Four #305.
- Sharon mentions the last trap she and the Thing had to break out of. This is a reference to when they were imprisoned by Fasaud in Fantastic Four #310.
- Following his defeat here, Doctor Doom appears next in Damage Control #2, where he enlists the service of Damage Control and clashes with the Fantastic Four again.
- The Fantastic Four and the Black Panther all have a brief cameo in Silver Surfer (Vol. 3) #10.
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