Appearing in "Shadows of Alarm"
- New York City
- New Jersey
- Washington, D.C.
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.
- 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.
- The mysterious villain planting the device on the Four Freedoms Plaza was Doctor Doom. He joined the "Prime Movers" of the Acts of Vengeance Conspiracy in Spectacular Spider-Man #158. He device he uses here is not unlike the Emotion Caster used to amass an army of super-villains to crash Reed and Sue's wedding back in Fantastic Four Annual #3. Doom appears here between Web of Spider-Man #59 and Avengers #311.
- Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben and Franklin were all last seen in Death's Head #9 where they all encountered Death's Head. Sharon was last seen in Fantastic Four Annual #22 when she and the Fantastic Four took part in the Atlantis Attacks crisis.
- Reed mentions how is beefing up security due to a recent break-in at their headquarters. He is referring to when the Frightful Four bypassed security in Fantastic Four #326–327.
- Ben comments about how he attempted to go and see the 1989 "Batman" film directed by Tim Burton. At the time this comic was originally published, that movie had just been released. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- The Constrictor makes his appearance between Captain America #311 among the members of the Serpent Society and Marvel Comics Presents #74 where he is operating solo.
- The woman here claiming to be Alicia Masters is actually a Skrull spy named Lyja as revealed in Fantastic Four #358. She replaced the real Masters woman in Fantastic Four #265 to spy on the group. Following her appearance here, "Alicia" is next seen in Fantastic Four #337.
- 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 #1–7.
- The Beetle makes his appearance here in Iron Man #227 and Spectacular Spider-Man #164. He mentions the "last time" he was humiliated by the Human Torch "a long time ago". The writer intended this to be a reference to the time the Torch and Spider-Man defeated the Beetle back in Amazing Spider-Man #21. But this could also be a reference to the flashback in Amazing Spider-Man #657 that takes place after that encounter when the Beetle briefly joined the Frightful Four and were defeated by the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.
- 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.
- The Shocker makes his appearance here between Spectacular Spider-Man #157 and 160. A police officer states that he usually battles Spider-Man. The Shocker has been a regular Spider-Man foe since his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #46.
- Some facts about Captain America and Thor's appearances here:
- Thor appears here between Damage Control (Vol. 2) #1 and the 3rd story of Avengers Annual #19.
- Captain America appears here between Captain America #365 and Quasar #5.
- The narrative states that this story happens before the events of Thor #411.
- Cap makes mention of Hydrobase has been destroyed. This was carried out by the "Prime Movers" of the Acts of Vengeance conspiracy in Avengers #311.
- Cap mentions that "some of" the Avengers have stayed with the Fantastic Four in the past. He is referring specifically to the She-Hulk who was a dual member of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers from Fantastic Four #265–Fantastic Four #301.
- The Fantastic Four mention the clones who caused the group grief. This is a reference to the clones created by Aron the Rogue Watcher in Fantastic Four #328 that ran amok in the real Fantastic Four's place until Aron took them away last issue.