- I was foolish... weak... I let a tragedy of life defeat me years ago! I didn't have the courage to carry on... as I should have... for you!! But now, somehow, I found my courage!! So... perhaps... I've made up for the years I'd wasted... that's why you must not cry... at last I've regained my pride...! Think kindly of me, my children... always remember... I loved you... never forget how proud you made me... with your honor... your valor... your selfless love...my life has been lonely... all these years... but now I'll be lonely no more... do you hear?? I'll be lonely no more... for I'm going to join my beloved ...Mary...
- -- Franklin Storm's final words
Appearing in "Death of a Hero!"
- Fantastic Four
Races and Species:
- Milky Way
- Andromeda Galaxy
Synopsis for "Death of a Hero!"
Reed Richards has devised yet another means of changing the Thing back to his human form. The initial test appears to work and they have 24 hours to determine if the transformation is a success or else it will become permanent. Meanwhile, a beam from deep space enters Earth's atmosphere and strikes a deserted island, freeing a being trapped below. Back at the Baxter Building, Ben wakes up from his transformation and attacks his friends. The side effect of the transformation has stricken Ben with amnesia, and he lashes out at the other members of the Fantastic Four and Alicia. With no other choice, the Fantastic Four knock Ben out and Reed reverses the process before it can be permanent. Although Ben's mind is restored, he is upset at yet another failure to change him back to normal.
At Ryker's Island Prison, Franklin Storm's cell is invaded by the mysterious being. Before he can react, Franklin is teleported away, and the intruder takes his form. The next morning, Sue and Johnny visit the warden's office, where Sue finally reveals the truth about their father: Twenty years ago, he and their mother were involved in a car accident. Surgery proved futile, and Franklin was unable to save Mary's life. Distraught by his wife's death, Franklin became addicted to gambling, racking up a massive debt. When a mobster came looking for him to pay up, the two got into a scuffle and the mobster's gun went off, killing him. Still grieving over the death of his wife and ashamed of what he had become, Franklin Storm said nothing in his own defense, and was sentenced to prison for manslaughter.
With the story out in the open, Sue and Johnny visit the man they think is their father, to inform him that they are going to try to get him paroled early. However, the impostor tells them that he won't have to wait that long, and surprises them when he suddenly turns invisible and busts through the prison wall and escapes. As the rest of the Fantastic Four are summoned, "Franklin" assumes a costumed form and calls himself the Invincible Man. With all the powers of the Fantastic Four, he terrorizes the people of New York. Because they believe their foe is Johnny and Sue's father, the Fantastic Four hold back and are easily defeated. Seeing the Invincible Man escape so easily makes the general public believe that they are going soft on him, due to his "family relation" to the group. However, Reed runs some tests and suddenly deduces the identity of the Invincible Man.
Reed constructs a hyper-wave transmitter and confronts the Invincible Man and explains that he has contacted his homeworld and that he knows that he is not Franklin Storm. With his cover blown, the mystery man reverts to his true form, the Super-Skrull. With their plans foiled again, the Skrull emperor teleports the Super-Skrull away. On their way back to the Baxter Building, Reed explains how he used his devices to deduce the identity of their attacker. He prepares a weapon and threatens to destroy the Skrull homeworld if they do not return Franklin Storm to them. Franklin is returned to Earth, but there is a bomb planted on him. Not wishing to harm his family, Franklin rolls over and smothers the blast and is fatally wounded. Before he dies, Franklin tells his children that he is proud of them. When the authorities arrive, they learn how Storm sacrificed his life.
- The final battle between the Fantastic Four and the Invincible Man occurred during the 1964 World's Fair at the World's Fair site in Flushing Meadow Park. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 relative to the time of publication.
- The Super-Skrull had been imprisoned since Fantastic Four #18.
- Emperor Dorrek VII was not named until Fantastic Four #205. He is identified as the 4th Dorrek in Marvel: The Lost Generation #11.
- The Skrull homeworld was identified as Tarnax IV in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #10.
- It is later specified in Fantastic Four #37 that Morrat (who is unnamed here) planted the bomb on Franklin Storm.
- The spirits of Franklin and Mary Storm are later seen in the afterlife in Fantastic Four #510.
- The Invincible Man identity was later co-opted by Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #196 and Fantastic Four #287.
A Flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- Flashback to Johnny and Sue's childhood. Franklin goes to jail.
- This story is reprinted in Marvel's Greatest Comics #24.
- Letter to the editor from Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin.
- Super Skrull first appeared in Fantastic Four #18.
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