Appearing in "Love's Labour Lost"
- Fantastic Four (Dream)
- Human Torch (Dream)
- Mister Fantastic (Dream)
- Invisible Woman (Dream)
- Ben Grimm (Dream)
- Ms. Marvel (Dream)
- Crystal (Dream)
- Alicia Masters (Dream)
- Franklin Richards (Dream)
- Fantastic Four
- Avatar (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- Fantasti-Car (Dream)
Synopsis for "Love's Labour Lost"
The Fantastic Four are still trapped in cryogenic suspension after being captured by Aron the Rogue Watcher. Left to his own devices, Aron's minion the android Dragon Man stares longingly at the Invisible Woman. Feeling some of his old feelings for the woman, Dragon Man pauses at her momentarily before rejoining his master Aron, who is occupied with the visions of the Fantastic Four's dreams, and those of his clones that he let loose upon Earth. As Dragon Man walks away, Johnny Storm begins to dream...
Johnny is flying toward the Four Freedoms Plaza and is excited to see a ship touching down for a landing on its roof from space. As he approaches he is happy to see Crystal of the Inhumans emerge from the ship, back from her sabbatical on the moon. Conflicted between his love for Alicia and his love for Crystal, Johnny reminds himself that he is a married man. Crystal tells Johnny that her time on the moon was terrible, that her cousin Black Bolt had the royal right to demand her return to try and get her marriage with Quicksilver working, but this latest attempt was also a dismal failure. This time however, Crystal was able to convince her family that her marriage to Pietro was nothing more than a farce and had no choice but to allow her to have her divorce. Crystal decided to leave Luna under care on the moon to see if the Fantastic Four would welcome her back into their ranks again. Johnny tells her that she should have never left in the first place. The two former lovers find their control waning, with both mentally reminding each other that Johnny is still a married man. The tension is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of Johnny's wife Alicia Masters. Johnny instantly feels guilty even though nothing happened, and quickly explains that Crystal has returned and why. Crystal then abruptly leaves the married couple to see the others.
Down below, Crystal's return is happily received, and her request to rejoin the team is accepted by Reed, who tells her that the number of people on the team doesn't matter so long as its members share the group's ideals. Crystal is ecstatic to be back, but Sue is less than impressed to have her around. This is noticed by Ben and Sharon who remark on it later, Ben telling Sharon that Sue's just being protective of her younger brother. Ben is certain that Crystal will not interfere with Johnny's marriage after he told her not to spoil it during her previous tenure with the team, and believes Johnny would be an idiot to cheat on Alicia. When Sharon gets upset that Ben is commenting on Alicia's qualities, this leads to an argument between the two over who Ben truly loves. Things escalate until Sharon painfully grabs Ben's arm and the two walk away from each other angry.
In the days that follow, Crystal assists the Fantastic Four on their various adventures and battles. As a group they take down the Wrecker, a Kree Sentry, and the Dragon Man. With each battle Crystal and Johnny appear to be getting along better and better. This doesn't sit well with Sue who later calls a Crystal for a sit down about Johnny's marriage. Crystal is unimpressed with having this conversation with Sue again, and tells her that Ben already told her not to interfere with Johnny's marriage. Sue cuts right to the point and tells Crystal it would be best if she left the Fantastic Four. Their conversation becomes heated and soon the two women come to blows with one another. At first Crystal has the upper hand, but Sue uses her invisible force field to push her away. But when Crystal seemingly smashes out the window and falls to the street below, Sue rushes to her aid, letting her guard down. Crystal leaps back into the window and catches Sue off guard. Eventually, Crystal manages to win the bout, using her elemental powers to defeat Sue in their fight. Conceding defeat, Sue warns Crystal that their fight isn't over until she leaves the Fantastic Four.
Neither woman is aware that Franklin had been watching the entire fight in his dream form and rushes to tell his father what happened. Hearing this, Reed confronts Crystal about attacking his wife. Reed is shocked when Crystal tells him that Sue attacked her first, but Reed insists that Crystal apologize to Sue or leave. Sue interrupts this argument to confirm that she instigated the fight, and likened her tussle with Crystal to the fights that Ben and Johnny always had, pointing out that after any of those scraps her husband never asked either of them to leave the Fantastic Four. Reed and Sue make up and the argument appears to be over for the time being. Seeing this spectacle, Sharon decides to try and patch things up with Ben. She tells him that she needs to come to terms with the fact that she is happy being a She-Thing while she has to accept that Ben wants to be human. The two decide to put aside their differences and focus on their love for one another.
Things get heated again when Johnny returns, confronting his sister over the fight she had with Crystal, after hearing it from Franklin. Johnny admits to Sue that he still loves Crystal, but he also loves Alicia and is determined to remain faithful to his wife. He also expresses his outrage that she can't consider that him having enough self-control not to do anything foolish. Listening to this argument is young Franklin who suddenly starts screaming in pain. They rush Franklin to Reed as they are joined with the others. Reed examines his son and determines that the mental dampeners Franklin placed on his powers are weakening. When Franklin becomes lucid again he begins remembering how he once used his powers to make himself grow up to an adult. How when he was confused about who he was, he lashed out against his family. It wasn't until Sue recognized Franklin as her son, did Franklin remember who he was and realize how dangerous his powers were. Franklin then recalls how he used his powers to restore Ben -- who had been regressed to his lizard-hide form -- back to his rocky form before returning himself to his proper age.
Recalling how what he did was to make his uncle Ben and Alicia happy again, Franklin then startles them all by explaining that in making Alicia happy he used his powers to make her go to seek love from Johnny instead, but forgot that he did it when he put the dampers on his mutant powers. The Fantastic Four are all horrified when they realize that Franklin's powers inadvertently caused the Fantastic Four so much grief and pain between Ben and Johnny's romance lives. Insisting that he must undo the damage, Franklin then abruptly uses his powers to undo the damages done. Johnny, Alicia and Ben are suddenly bombarded by Franklin's energies. Suddenly in love with the right people, Ben and Alicia and Johnny and Crystal embrace, much to the breaking of Ms. Marvel's heart. Watching these startling events unfold, Sue believes that this is the end of the Fantastic Four. Thus ends Johnny's dream...
.... As the Fantastic Four continue to slumber, it would seem that they are forever trapped. However unseen by Aron, the temperature of the cryogenic devices begins to creep upwards.
- The Fantastic Four have been in cryogenic suspension since they were captured by Aron the Rogue Watcher in Fantastic Four #328 and replaced with Clones, Aron has been spending his time split between watching the antics of these clones and the dreams of the Fantastic Four.
- Dragon Man has a long-standing infatuation with Susan Richards since his creation in Fantastic Four #35.
- Although most of the events of this story take place in a dream, a lot of the events are based on real events:
- The central focus of this dream story is the romance lives of Johnny, Ben, Alicia, Sharon and Crystal. They are 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 believed 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. There his subconscious mind created Tarianna his idea of the ideal woman. When Battleworld was destroyed so was she.
- While Ben was away, Johnny started a relationship with who he thought was Alicia Masters circa Fantastic Four #270.
- Ben eventually returned in Fantastic Four #277 and discovered Johnny's relationship with "Alicia," between this and other betrayals, Ben quit the Fantastic Four in Thing #23. Johnny and "Alicia's" relationship continued to flourish.
- Thing first met Sharon in Thing #27 when he briefly joined the Thunderriders and fell for her instantly because she resembled Tarianna. Sharon left the Thunderriders but re-entered the Thing's life in Thing #30 when he was part of the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. She eventually joined the league in Thing #35 but the Thing was forced to flee when he was infected with a virus by the Power Broker in Thing #36.
- Ben eventually ended up living with the Mole Man who cured him of the virus. He was eventually found by the Fantastic Four who convinced him to rejoin the team, he did so grudgingly.
- 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. But the two eventually buried the hatchet.
- Sharon eventually resurfaced and was offered a spot with the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #306 Ben's romantic pursuits were quashed quickly because while he was gone, as seen in Captain America #330–331, Sharon was raped by some of the minions of the Power Broker, making incapable of touching men.
- Sharon was later mutated into a She-Thing in Fantastic Four #310.
- In Fantastic Four #313 Johnny began to realize he still has feelings for Crystal.
- Ben and Sharon decided to follow through on their romantic interest in one another in Fantastic Four #314.
- Crystal eventually was forced to return to Attilan to reconcile her marriage with Quicksilver in Fantastic Four Annual #21.
- From Fantastic Four #318 onward, Johnny was struggling with the fact that he still loves Crystal but also loves his wife.
- Reed mentions how Crystal once filled in for Sue when she was on maternity leave. This was after Sue gave birth to Franklin in Fantastic Four Annual #6, Crystal was a member of the Fantastic Four from Fantastic Four #81–105 when she was forced to return due to Attilan to escape the outside world's deadly pollution.
- Ben appears here in human form after being restored to normal following the events of Fantastic Four #326. Sharon and Ben have had issues about her comfort being a She-Thing and Ben wanting to be human as seen in Fantastic Four #327.
- Sue has a discussion with Crystal about the potential damage she could cause to Johnny's marriage, Crystal mentions how she previously had a discussion with Sue like this in Fantastic Four #307 and how Ben also mentioned to her not to interfere with his marriage in Fantastic Four #313.
- The recounting of Franklin's time as the "Avatar" are a recounting of events that took place in Fantastic Four #245. Some clarifications:
- At the time of that story, Reed had recently tried to change Ben back to his human form in Fantastic Four #238. Instead, it reverted Ben to his "dinosaur hide" Thing form he first mutated into circa Fantastic Four #1. As explained in Marvel Two-In-One #50, Ben's Thing form continued to mutate from that hide to his rock-like appearance, roughly around Fantastic Four #10.
- While the dream version of Franklin states that he used his powers to make Alicia fall in love with Johnny, in the real world the reasons for "Alicia's" romance with Johnny is far more insidious. As revealed in Fantastic Four #358, the woman who romances and eventually marries Johnny is not Alicia Masters, but a Skrull spy named Lyja.
- The central focus of this dream story is the romance lives of Johnny, Ben, Alicia, Sharon and Crystal. They are as follows:
- The script credit on this issue is to "John Harkness" due to Steve's unhappiness with the editorial direction he was obliged to undertake.