Appearing in "So Little Time, So Much to Do!" or "If I Could Save Time in a Klein Bottle!"
- Time Variance Authority
- Supergirl (See Notes)
- Null-Time Zone (First appearance)
- Time-Ship (First appearance)
Synopsis for "So Little Time, So Much to Do!" or "If I Could Save Time in a Klein Bottle!"
For their crimes against synchronicity, the Fantastic Four have been captured by Justice Peace to be brought to the courts of the Time Variance Authority. Aboard Justice Peace's ship, they are brought to the massive Null-Time Zone in order to be processed. Upon landing, Peace brings them before the Sub-Committee of Time Lapses and Synchronicity to be questioned. When they note that there are only five individuals and not six in custody, Peace explains that he was forced to terminate who he thought was Doctor Doom. The head of the committee is thankful because it requires less paperwork. When Reed asks the chairman what is going on, it is explained that the Fantastic Four are to determine the full scope of the group's chronal infractions and initiate procedural alterations. They also intend to prevent further meddling in their futures as well as review their timeline for any damages to continuity.
As explanations are being handed out, one of the members of the council advises the chair that the Fantastic Four were responsible for the destruction of the Time Bubble, which was supposed to wipe out their timeline some 40 years in their future. This is not met with good favor at all. When Reed interrupts to ask how long this trial will take, the chairman advises him that it could take at least five years. Having had enough of the situation, the Thing loses his temper and tosses a chair at the councilmen, but it is disintegrated by a protective barrier before it can strike the chairman. After restraining Ben, Mister Fantastic questions the TVA on why the Fantastic Four were singled out, pointing out the various time both the Avengers and the X-Men have traveled through time, insisting that the infractions in question are much more widespread than the TVA is painting. The chairman considers the meeting adjourned for the and has the Fantastic Four remanded into custody. The group suddenly finds themselves in a locked room which is just an endless void.
While they consider what their options are, Reed is able to contact one of the senior administrators of the Time Variance Authority and convinces him to allow them on a tour of the TVA's operations, since they are prisoners of the organization. Along the way, the Fantastic Four notice that Sharon is suddenly speaking with a southern accent. They soon find themselves being taken on a tour by Mr. Mobius M. Mobius of the Time Variance Authority. He takes them past the training room where the Minutemen prepare for battle, there the Fantastic Four discover that they are both man and machine. He then takes them past the Departure Gates for the politically corrected, repatriated refugees heading back to their original timelines, and lastly where they dispose of discontinued timelines. In showing them this, Mobius warns the five heroes that their activities of late may result in their world meeting the fate of so many other discontinued timelines. He then takes them to the Hall of Chronometry where an infinite number of workers study and record all events happening in every timeline and alternate universe in the Omniverse, where a tachyon field creates new administrators whenever new timelines come into existence.
Growing bored of all this talking, Ben leans on a unoccupied desk to yawn and stretch but his excessive weight causes it to collapse under him. While Mobius is distracted, Reed uses the opportunity to snatch some computer discs that spilled out of the desk while it shattered and has his wife turn them invisible. With their tour over, the Fantastic Four are placed back in their void prison cell, however without Sharon who Mobius had apparently developed a liking for. Reed quietly tells his team that he took some software and now needs to determine a way to examine it. To this end, Sue turns invisible in order to trick the Minutemen into thinking that she managed to escape somehow. When they go to open the Fantastic Four's cell, Johnny flames on and rushes them with Ben not far behind. The Fantastic Four then manage to escape before Justice Peace could arrive and investigate the situation.
At the Hall of Chronometry both Ben and Johnny run interference by destroying the desks and sending the administrators fleeing. In all the chaos and destruction, Sue has made one of the computer terminals invisible so that she and Reed can access it and make use of the discs of software he took earlier. Johnny and Ben then go elsewhere in the complex in order to lure the TVA away from Reed and Sue. Finding another location, the pair begin ripping wires and destroying machinery. Finally, Mobius and his armies catch up to them. Mobius orders them to stand down telling them that he has Sharon as his prisoner. In order to try and sweeten the pot, Mobius informs Ben that if he stops the destruction they will alter his timeline so that he never becomes the Thing, ensuring that he remains human forever.
- Reference is made to how Justice Peace killed Doctor Doom Fantastic Four #352. In reality this was actually Kristoff Vernard who was posing as Doom. Kristoff is not killed either, as he is sent off to be revived in Tibet as seen in Fantastic Four #396.
- The Time Variance Authority is not impressed at the Fantastic Four for destroying the Bubble at the Heart of Time that was located in the future of Earth-8810. The Fantastic Four investigated and destroyed the Time Bubble in Fantastic Four #337–341.
- Reed mentions the various times both the Avengers and the X-Men were involved in time travel. At the time of this story, the following time travelling infractions occurred:
- For the Avengers they occurred in Avengers #8, 10–11, Avengers #23–24, 56, Annual #2, 69–71, 85–86, 125–139, Giant-Size Avengers #2–4, Avengers #142–143, 167, 173–177, 267–269, 296–297, 300, West Coast Avengers (Vol. 2) #18–21. Avengers: West Coast #61–62.
- The X-Men meanwhile have traveled through time in: X-Men #141, Uncanny X-Men #142, 184, Uncanny X-Men #190–191, 194, 202–203, 209, 225–227, 247, Annual #14.
- Conversely, the Fantastic Four's ventures into time are: Fantastic Four #5, 19, Strange Tales #134, Fantastic Four #151–153, Marvel Two-In-One #4–5, Giant-Size Fantastic Four #2, Fantastic Four Annual #11, Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1, Marvel Two-In-One #20, 50, Fantastic Four #172–173, Marvel Two-In-One #69, 100, Fantastic Four #288, 303, Fantastic Four #323–325, 337–346, Fantastic Four Annual #23.
- Sharon's sudden southern accent is pointed out, but never explained, as that plot thread was dropped.
- In the scene where the Fantastic Four are brought to the department of discontinued timelines, DC Comic's Supergirl can be seen floating in the void. This is a reference to 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths which saw the DC Multiverse merged into one singular universe as seen at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths #12. On of the victims of this event was Supergirl of Earth-One which was erased from existence at this time. However years later in Convergence #8 the original DC Multiverse was restored to normal.
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