Appearing in "A Christmas Tale"
Synopsis for "A Christmas Tale"
Detecting a disturbance near the planet Mercury, the Silver Surfer flies to the planet to investigate and finds that unconscious body of the Human Torch, whose magically enhanced flame will not go out, even in the depths of space. Stabilizing the Torch with his Power Cosmic, the Surfer learns how the Torch was abandoned in space by Kang the Conqueror after he helped moved the planet Mercury out of alignment to save the life of Mantis. Upon hearing Mantis' name the Surfer rushes to Earth so he can be reunited with the woman he had grown to love and thought he lost in space.
On Earth at the Four Freedoms Plaza, the Thing and Ms. Marvel have brought Mantis to the roof so she can use one of the Fantastic Four's space ships to return to the stars and rescue her son from the Cotati. While they are discussing their plans, they also realize that they are going to have to rescue the Human Torch after Kang left him to die in space. However, before they can take off the Silver Surfer arrives with the Human Torch in tow. This leads to a happy reunion between the Surfer and Mantis after the Surfer believed she had died during his battle against the Elders of the Universe. She explains after her "death" she was reborn on Earth but lost her cosmic powers and ability to transfer herself to other worlds through plant life. She explains that she was also stranded on Earth with no memory of her past until recently and has become determined to rescue her son. The Surfer vows to remain by her side and help her in her cause.
Before the Surfer and Mantis can disembark on their quest, the Torch asks the Surfer if he can use his Power Cosmic to restore the control he once had over his flame powers. The Surfer tries his best, but the magics involved prevent him from succeeding. Before they can do anything else they are suddenly under siege by Kang who has returned to Earth with a ship carrying a number of Cotati trees, bent on stopping Mantis from recovering her child. Not far from the Cotati ship is another sphere which contains the plant form of the son of Mantis. Kang and the Cotati give Mantis an ultimatum: give up her quest, or die. Mantis refuses to leave her son to become an unemotional being among the Cotati and refuses, and the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer agree to side with her.
Upon hearing this, Kang orders the Priests of Pama hiding aboard his ship to attack. While the Fantastic Four and Mantis battle the Priests, the Silver Surfer faces off against Kang. The heroes make short work of the Priests best fighters, and the Surfer eventually bests Kang's 30th century technology. Things begin to turn when the Torch is knocked out, leading to Sharon and Ben coming to his aid and being felled by the Priests as well. As the Surfer continues to battle on against Kang, Mantis pits her mental powers against the Cotati and wins, forcing them to flee from Earth. With the Torch recovered, he defeats the last of the Priests of Pama. With the battle over, Kang takes this opportunity to flee the scene, teleporting away in his time ship. The Torch vows to get revenge against Kang, vowing to be waiting for the next time Kang returns to their era. In the aftermath of the battle, Mantis tells her friends that the Cotati have escaped into a realm of pure thought and that to go after them and rescue her son she will have to go alone. After a farewell kiss to the Surfer, Mantis then sheds off her mortal body in order to send her mind after the Cotati, seemingly dying in the process. When the Fantastic Four try to console the Surfer, he angrily pushes them away before flying off into space to return to the stars.
- The Torch's recap at the beginning of this story is about the events of last issue.
- The Silver Surfer had short term romance with Mantis in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #3-9 until she seemingly perished during the Surfer's battle with the Elders of the Universe. She was reborn on Earth in Silver Surfer Annual #1 and briefly had amnesia in West Coast Avengers Vol 2 #37-39.
- Mantis' child was the product of a union between herself and a member of the Cotati following the events of Giant-Size Avengers #4. Mantis got to raise her child for a short time before the Cotati took the boy away as explained in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #4.
- The Surfer thanks Ben for helping free him from the barrier his former master Galactus placed around the Earth. The Surfer was formally a herald of Galactus and was exiled on Earth in Fantastic Four #50 after betraying his master to the Fantastic Four. The Surfer eventually was freed with the assistance of the Fantastic Four in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #1.
- Sharon mentions how she was changed "against her will", this is a reference to the cosmic rays that turned her into a She-Thing in Fantastic Four #310.
- Johnny mentions the "Inferno", this story takes place shortly after the Inferno crisis. New York City was being invaded by demons from Limbo led by N'astirh. The primary battle against N'astirh was taking place in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #239-Uncanny X-Men #243 and X-Factor #36-39. The Fantastic Four had their own trouble in the Inferno in Fantastic Four #323-324.
- The son of Mantis appears here following the flashback in Avengers: Celestial Quest #2 and appears next in Avengers: Celestial Quest #3.
- The Priests of Pama are an order of Kree monks that came to Earth to raise Cotati plants in exile. They were last seen in Giant-Size Avengers #4 when Mantis was wed to a member of the Cotati.
- After his defeat here, Kang is next seen in Infinity War #1 where he teams up with Doctor Doom to stop the Magus and the Infinity Gauntlet.
- Although she appears to die here, Mantis is restored to her physical form by Moondragon in Fantastic Four Annual #24.
- The Silver Surfer is next seen in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #23 where he ends up on an unknown world battling a creature called the Dragon.
- Ben, Sharon, and Johnny are all next seen celebrating Christmas in Marvel Comics Presents #18.
- The script credit on this issue is to "S.F.X. Englehart" due to Steve's unhappiness with the editorial direction he was obliged to undertake.
Links and References
- The Grand Comics Database: Fantastic Four Vol 1 
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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