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Quote1.png I think I hear my microchips calling, Sharon. Quote2.png
Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards)

Appearing in "Shadows of Alarm"

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Synopsis for "Shadows of Alarm"

Outside of the Four Freedoms Plaza a figure concealed by shadows lands on the roof and attaches a strange device that manages to infiltrate the headquarters of the Fantastic Four without setting off the alarm. Satisfied with his completed task, the intruder takes off as quickly as he arrived.

Down below, Ms. Marvel and Ben Grimm enter the private floors of the Fantastic Four and are shocked when they somehow manage to set off the security systems. Dodging an electrical blast the two are then quickly snatched up by mechanical shackles that incapacitate them until Reed arrives to shut the security system down. Reed explains that the systems needed to be upgraded and tested after the recent break-in at their headquarters. This puts Ben in a grumpy mood, and after telling Reed that they went out for groceries after their attempt to see the latest super-hero movie was sold out, Ben tries to storm off with a sense of dignity, but fails when he slips on a can he neglected to pick up and falls down again. At Sharon's suggestion, Reed retreats back to his lab before Ben can recover and berate him some more.

While outside, a strange figure arrives outside the Four Freedoms Plaza seeking to destroy the Fantastic Four. He quickly doffs his trenchcoat, sunglasses, and hat and begins scaling the walls of the building. Back inside, Sue and Sharon are helping Ben back to his feet. They talk about Sue and Reed's recent return to the team, but when Ben presses his luck with too much tough talk and wisecracks, Sharon literally carries him out of the room. While in the lab, Reed is working away, while Alicia's taking notes on the government's latest announcements regarding the newly proposed Super-Hero Registration Act, as read to her by her husband Johnny Storm. As they joke about Ben slipping on the can, the mystery intruder continues to scale up the wall. At that moment, Reed has completed his latest addition to the security in the building, a retinal scanner and scans his, Johnny and Alicia's eyes for the database. Suddenly the alarm goes off in the building and Reed and Johnny rush to investigate, with Johnny speeding past Sharon, Sue and Ben. He gets to the source of the intrusion first and sees that the security system's stun-beams have already dispatched the intruder. Reed recognizes the man as the Constrictor, a criminal for hire, from the files he keeps. Confused as to why this villain -- whom none of them ever encountered previously -- had tried to break into their headquarters, the Fantastic Four turn the Constrictor over to the authorities.

Regrouping in their headquarters, Sue reminds Reed that they have been asked to travel to Washington, D.C. to discuss the merits and detriments to the proposed super-hero registry before a special Congressional subcommittee. Discussing it among themselves, Alicia expresses her concern about super-heroes being forced to be drafted into military service, and Johnny voices another issue: that outlawing super-powers would lead to criminals have an advantage over heroes.

As they discuss things further, the Beetle arrives outside the Four Freedoms Plaza and doffs his disguise before flying toward the building. Back inside, the Fantastic Four come to the belief that this registry is not any different than the bigoted attempts to get mutants to register. Reed and Sue then go to put Franklin to bed before their big trip the next day. As they are doing so, the Beetle comes smashing into their headquarters, setting off the alarms again. Reed, Ben, Sharon and Johnny rush to the source of the intrusion only to find that the security systems have handled it, as the Beetle is confined in manacles. The group is once again confused by this villain's attack and likewise turn him over to the authorities as well.

The following morning the Fantastic Four are having breakfast and talking about the registration act again. Ben mentions how those with secret identities would not be happy with the idea and the potential compromise to their identities. Suddenly the alarm goes off yet again, and the same results: Another villain captured by Reed's security systems to turn over to the authorities, this time it is the Shocker. After the Shocker is taken off, the Fantastic Four prepare to leave for the the congressional hearing. As they take off in the new Fantasti-Car, they are unaware that the device planted in their headquarters has now latched itself onto their ship. The Fantastic Four just miss the arrival of Captain America and Thor as they arrive at the Four Freedoms Plaza to ask the Fantastic Four to let the Avengers operate out of their headquarters after Hydrobase was recently destroyed. When Cap inserts his security card and tries the code, it is rejected and the security systems activate. With no way to shut the system down, and not willing to wreck Reed's security devices, Thor and Captain America are forced to leave.

Meanwhile, all over New York City, disguised super-villains are suddenly leaving the city and heading for Washington, D.C. all intent on trying to destroy the Fantastic Four. As the Fantastic Four head towards Washington, Ben wonders if they'll have to explain the damage done by their clones earlier. Reed is convinced that he can convince the Senators of the validity of their claims. Ben sarcastically claims that this entire episode will be fun as he pulls them into Washington, with none aware of the danger that is following them.


Continuity Notes

  • This issue is part of the Acts of Vengeance event which saw a secret cabal of super-villains trying to destroy their foes by sending villains that the heroes had not faced before. The start of that event began in Avengers Spotlight #26.
  • Incidentally, all the issues that the Fantastic Four bring up against the Super-Powers Registration Act in this story are also concepts explored years later during the Civil War event seen in Civil War #17.
  • Johnny makes mention to the Mutant Registration Act, which was sought to force mutants to register their powers with the government. The concept was first visited in Uncanny X-Men #141 and later passed into law in Uncanny X-Men #188.

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