- The power within Mjolnir doth rage like the winter storms bursting upon the shore in furious assult!
- -- Thor
Appearing in "Visit to a Large Empire!"
- Shi'ar starships
Synopsis for "Visit to a Large Empire!"
In the heart of the Time Bubble, the Fantastic Four have discovered that it is caused by Galactus trying to consume the entire universe. They soon find their Time-Sled being sucked into the massive maw of the device feeding Galactus. Loose from the ship is the Human Torch, whom Reed manages to pull back aboard before he can be drawn into the black hole. Almost pulled into the hole, the Fantastic Four and their allies Thor and Iron Man struggle to get free. Ultimately the manage to free themselves when Thor and Iron Man channel their weapons power into the Time-Sled, giving them enough thrust to blast free from the pull of the black hole. However they are far from safe, their activities have attracted the attention of the mysterious beings who begin to monitor their activities. Also, Sue checks on her brother who seems to be all right, unaware that he's actually been possessed by the mind of Nebula, who is seeking to take control of the powerful Celestial weapon said to be hidden within the Time Bubble. However, Sue suspects that there is something wrong with her brother, and Reed suggests that she keep an eye on him.
Free from the danger, the Fantastic Four and their allies begin putting their heads together to try and figure out how they can destroy Galactus before he consumes the entire universe. Sharon comes up with a solution: Using the weapons of the Shi'ar. Remembering how in their own time that the Shi'ar are in the midst of a civil war, she suspects that they would have the sufficient firepower to destroy Galactus. Without further delay, Thor teleports them to the Shi'ar galaxy. There they arrive among massive warships about to engage in battle. Because they are out of synch with time within the Time Bubble, everything appears to be motionless, allowing the Fantastic Four to travel unseen among the massive galactic battalion. They come to a planet that has massive weapons dumps and they begin loading up explosives that will be flown out in massive ships and directed at the massive weapon that is using Galactus to consume the universe.
However their work does not go unnoticed as this eras Gladiator is able to observe the Fantastic Four and their friends working thanks to his Hyper-Vision. Able to vibrate in synch with them, he attacks. This leads to an all out brawl between Thor and Gladiator that is suddenly stopped by Sharon who points out that they are battling it out in the middle of live explosives and they could all be annihilated if a stay blast sets them off. With a temporary truce called, Reed explains what they are doing. After Gladiator uses his Hyper-Vision to confirm Reed's claims, he agrees to help them end the menace of Galactus. Gladiator leads them all to a massive weapons pit that he offers them to use, even at the risk of leaving the Shi'ar with less weapons to defend themselves, Gladiator insists that they are taken as preventing the destruction of the universe overrides the needs of the empire.
As they are preparing, Nebula -- using Johnny's body -- questions why Gladiator never overthrew his emperor and took over. This line of questioning does not impress Gladiator who says he is a loyal servant and suggests the Torch reunite with his teammates. Not seeing a usable ally in Gladiator, Nebula uses Johnny's flame powers to damage his ship. Soon enough, the Fantastic Four and their allies get the weapons pits into the air, and Thor uses his powers to teleport them to the massive fleet of destruction at the massive weapon in space.
Having been monitoring events from their domain, the observers decides it is time to intervene in what is happening. Back on the future Earth, a bolt of energy suddenly strikes the Mount Diablo mountain range of California, decimating the area. From the rubble rises the Black Celestial, finally awake and ready to carry out his intended mission.
- The Time Bubble, according to Marvel Encyclopedia: Fantastic Four, is designated in the future of Earth-8810. In this story Reed states that the Time Bubble exists between the years 2005 and 2020. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 this should be considered a topical reference. As the Sliding Timescale moves forward, then the dates that the Time Bubble exists should change and should be generalized in the context of this story. The Time Bubble exists 15 years in the future relative to this story . This story was published in 1990, thus 15 years from that perspective is the year 2005. 1990 falls under "Year Eight" of Marvel time. Per the rules of the Sliding Timescale, new comics are considered to have been published 2016 are part of "Year Fourteen". New comics are also considered as happening "today". That said, in the year 2016 this story took place in 2010 per the Sliding Timescale. Based on that calculation the Time Bubble would exist 15 years from 2010 in the year 2025. When Marvel time rolls over into "Year Fifteen" in 2018, this story would have taken place in 2011 and the Time Bubble will in turn exist in the year 2026.
- Johnny was possessed by the mind of Nebula last issue.
- The beings that are monitoring events are the Deviants, as revealed next issue.
- The plot includes the "Kurtzberg engines" on Reed Richards's vehicle, which may be related in-universe with one of the partners of the firm Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway. Kurtzberg was the real surname of Jack Kirby, artist and co-creator of the Fantastic Four.
- Sharon mentions that how in their native universe the Shi'ar are in the middle of a civil war. As of Uncanny X-Men #162 Shi'ar ruler Lilandra was usurped from the Shi'ar throne by her sister Deathbird. Since then Lilandra and the Starjammers have been trying to overthrow her rule. Ultimately the X-Men help Lilandra regain her throne during the events of Uncanny X-Men #274-277.
- Sue asks Reed if he regrets previously saving the life of Galactus in their home time. She is referring to the time he saved Galactus in Fantastic Four #244.
- The Black Celestial in this story is Earth-8810's analogue to Earth-616's Dreaming Celestial who at the time of this story is still slumbering in the Mount Diablo ranges on Earth-616 as seen in Eternals Vol 2 #1-12.
- This issue is reprinted in comics and books, see references for more info.
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