- Hi! I'm the alien -- Max! But you can call me "late for dinner!"
Appearing in "Cold Storage!"
- Alicia Masters (Secretly the Skrull Spy Lyja)
- Shanna the She-Devil
- Michael Morbius
- Comet Man
- Fortisquians (Origin revealed)
- Caretakers of Arcturus (Only in flashback)
- Kull (Only in flashback)
- Deviants (Only in flashback)
- Atlanteans (Only in flashback)
- Children of the Comet (Only in flashback)
- Nuwali (Only in flashback)
- Arcturus IV (Only in flashback)
- Ancient Atlantis (Only in flashback)
- Lemuria (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Cold Storage!"
Story continued from last issue...
As a USAF pilot flies Alicia Masters to an Antarctic research facility in the frozen wasteland that used to be the Savage Land, they nearly have a collision with the villain known as Master Pandemonium who is busy fleeing the scene. When they arrive, the Human Torch is happy to see his wife and explains to her who the villain was that flew past them. He introduces Alicia to the others gathered to this site including Ka-Zar and his wife Shanna, Comet Man, the Fortisquian known as Max and the former living-vampire Michael Morbeius. He explains to her that they were on the planet Arcturus IV when they located a teleporter that brought them back here on Earth.
Alicia is reunited with her former lover Ben Grimm, whom she provides her sympathy, telling him that she had heard of his further mutation and asks to feel his features. Ben allows this, and tries to stifle the pain he still feels, remembering how Alicia used to do this when they were in a relationship. He also resists showing feelings toward Alicia knowing that it may disrupt his budding relationship with Sharon Ventura, and give Crystal more reason to continue pursuing the Human Torch. As Ben is thinking this, Sharon and Crystal are looking at Alicia with jealous, when the two women realize what they are doing they look away from each other in shame. As Johnny fills Alicia in on their recent travels to Subterrania, a demonic world and Arcturus IV they realized that there is some connection between all these realms and have called in all the experts to have a summit to learn what that connection is.
Before an explanation can be made, the site is attacked by a legion of humanoids made of ice. Pushing Alicia to safety, Johnny, Sharon, Crystal and the military security on the site begin fighting off this invasion. As the Torch flies across the area using his heat to melt all the warriors in his path, he spots a tank that is firing a ray that is creating these creatures out of the ice. Johnny easily destroys the tank and it's occupants -- members of AIM -- flood out and are easily captured. Brought into the building for interrogation, one of the AIM soldiers refuses to explain what their mission was in coming to Antarctica. With the AIM minion taken away, Ben informs the others that he has managed to piece together to connections between the Savage Land, and Arcturus IV:
He starts by explaining that Max is a member of the Fortisquains, an alien race created by some mysterious beings to act as colonizers of alien worlds, their mandate is to proliferate to worlds across the universe and monitor other worlds and get a foothold across the universe. They sent a ship into space to check on these various worlds, one of which was mistaken for Hailey's Comet. He then goes on to explain the origins of the Savage Land: Saying that he learned from Ka-Zar that the Savage Land was made some 200 million years ago b an alien race known as the Nuwali, agents of the same beings that created the Fortisquains. They had gathered a sample of all the prehistoric races on Earth in what eventually became the Savage Land, creating a giant heating system beneath the planet to keep it a temperate zone after the continents shifted and much of Antarctica turned to ice. Around 200,000 BC around the time of the rise of homosapiens, the Nuwali decided that their jhob was done and left Earth. By about 15,000 BC, Atlantis -- still a surface continent -- became a major world power and mounted an expedition to the Savage Land. Curious about it's unique happenstance, they explored the area and found the Nuwalian heating system and replicated it to create the neighboring region called Pangaea, which became an Atlantean amusement park. However, at about 10,000 BC, the Deviants of Lemuria attempted to invade Atlantis as part of a plan to enslave the human race. Their invasion attempt was thwarted by the Celestials who crushed the Deviant uprising, however Atlantis was sunk in the process. The resulting geological upheaval caused the Savage Land to sink below sea-level and it was the regions mountains that prevent it from flooding, however the cataclysm also damaged the regions heaters. The aliens who originally dispatched the Nuwali then sent the Fortisquains to repair the damaged heaters. The party sent to do so ended up crashing on Earth, but repaired the heaters none the less. They also found a transporter that brought them back to their homeworld Arcturus IV, and found their civilization ruined. They also found a portal back to Earth and used it to create androids called the Children of the Comet to suit their own motives until they were destroyed by Morbius. He finishes by explaining that a year ago, the Savage Land was decimated when Terminus destroyed the heaters. Having found other portals to Arcturus in places like the Land Withing (home of the Cat people) they have decided to search the facility under the former Savage Land to try and finish the still remaining questions -- such as who the employers of both the Nuwali and Fortisquains were.
The FF combine their powers to smash through the layers of ice until they find the metal surface of the heating facility. With Thing and Ms. Marvel peeling back the metal, Ben is shocked to see among the various devices a name that he has every reason to fear: Beyonder.
This story is continued next issue...
- The woman here who appears to be Alicia Masters is not really her, but a Skrull spy named Lyja. As revealed in Fantastic Four #358, Lyja took Alicia's place in order to spy on the Fantastic Four. This happened around Fantastic Four #265.
- The Savage Land is a frozen wasteland here because its ecosystem was devastated by the Jorro the Terminus impostor in Avengers #256-257. It is later restored to normal by the High Evolutionary in Uncanny X-Men Annual 1988.
- Following his departure here, Master Pandemoneom appears in Avengers: West Coast #50-52 where he is responsible for the destruction of the children on the Vision and the Scarlet Witch.
- Johnny's glad to see "Alicia" because while adventuring with the Fantastic Four he has been tempted by Crystal. This is to do with their long and complex romantic past. Which is as follows....:
- Alicia used to date the Thing for years, starting in Fantastic Four #9.
- Johnny and Crystal dated between Fantastic Four #65-105 until the outside world's pollution forced her to return home to Attilan.
- Crystal ended up rescuing Quicksilver along the way and the two fell in love as seen in Fantastic Four #131-132. Crystal and Quicksilver later got married in Fantastic Four #150. Johnny had a series of failed relationships while Ben and Alicia remained together over the years.
- 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.
- As explained in Fantastic Four #358, Alicia was secretly replaced by the Skrull spy Lyja who was sent to infiltrate the Fantastic Four. With the Thing no longer part of the team she focused her attention on Johnny. Lyja took Alicia's place during the events of Fantastic Four #265.
- Johnny recently married "Alicia" in Fantastic Four #300
- Meanwhile, Crystal had and affair with Norm Webster and was eventually caught during the events ofVision and the Scarlet Witch Vol 2 #6 through 12.
- In Fantastic Four #303 Ben realized that he still loved Alicia Masters.
- Reed elected Ben to replace him as leader of the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #304
- Ben then asked Crystal to join the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #305, partially to spite the Torch.
- Johnny went so far as to accuse Crystal of trying to break up his marriage in Fantastic Four Annual #20.
- The two buried the hatchet though in Fantastic Four #306.
- Johnny mentions how he tried to contact the West Coast Avengers to warn them of Master Pandemonium being on the loose again, but they were away from their headquarters. At the time of this story the Avengers were busy battling Kristoff Vernard in West Coast Avengers Vol 2 #35.
- Ka-Zar and Shanna the She-Devil make their appearance here following their last appearance in the pages of Iron Man #202 when Iron Man rescued Ka-Zar from the Fixer.
- Michael Morbius was last seen in West Coast Avengers Vol 2 #6 when he led the West Coats Avengers into the domain of the Cat People.
- Sharon mentions being "pinned down" by the minions of the Power Broker. Sharon was raped by these men in Captain America #331 as revealed in Fantastic Four #306. Although the fact she was raped was heavily implied instead of outright stated because of the censorship and content limitations imposed by the Comic Code Authority which was enforced at the time this comic was published.
- The origin of the Fortisquians was first explored back in Comet Man #1.
- the Nuwali's ties to the Savage Land and how they maintained the original ecosystem was first revealed in Ka-Zar the Savage #34.
- Ben recounts the Namor's oral history the ancient event that is known as the Great Cataclysm. Which involved the sinking of the nation of Atlantis. These events were first seen in Strange Worlds #2. Some specifics on what he is talking about:
- The "major world power" he speaks of was the reign of King Kull who ruled Atlantis thousands of years ago before it sank.
- This story reveals the origins of Pangea a sub-domain of the Savage Land which was first seen in Ka-Zar the Savage #1.
- The wars between Atlantis and Lemuria and the subsequent sinking of both Atlantis and Lemuria at the hands of the Celestials was first depicted in Eternals #2.
- The portion of the story about the Caretakers and the Children of the Comet was first depicted in Fear #20-26.
- Of course Ben is upset at seeing the name of the Beyonder who had been a cosmic level threat to Earth's heroes in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1-12 and Secret Wars II #1-7.
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