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Appearing in "The Cross-Time Express!"

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  • Cross-Time Central Express Railroad (First appearance)

Synopsis for "The Cross-Time Express!"

Cornered by the Time Variance Authority in the Null-Time Zone while trashing the place, the Thing and Human Torch take a pause when Mr. Mobius orders them to stand down. He has Sharon Venture as his prisoner and has now offered to change history so that Ben never becomes the Thing and remains human forever. Ben pauses to think about this and Johnny tries to talk him out of it, saying that if history is changed there is no Fantastic Four. Ben considers it and realizes that if there is no Fantastic Four then the team won't exist to travel into the future and stop Galactus and the Time Bubble. Mobius insists that they will make the necessary adjustments, but they when he uses the phrase "you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs", Ben calls the whole deal off. With that, Mobius orders his Minutemen to destroy the Thing and Torch.

As Ben and Johnny fight off the Minutemen, Justice Peace has realized that they are only creating a distraction. Without Reed and Sue accounted for he begins searching for them. Not far away, at an invisible TVA work station, Reed and Sue work hard to decipher TVA software to help them escape by programming a virus into the TVA's mainframe. They are found by Justice Peace's scanning devices and he begins firing at Sue's invisible force field. Reed tells her to keep it held as he is almost finished his work. Suddenly Reed has succeeded and the virus kicks in, creating splitting the timeline the TVA exists in, creating infinite copies of everything. Not only does this make it impossible for Justice Peace to destroy Reed and Sue, this also helps give Ben and Johnny an edge over their battle with the Minutemen. With Mobius distracted, he admits to being responsible for previously trapping the Fantastic Four on a prehistoric island earlier. Hearing this, Sharon realizes that the TVA is responsible for her recent identity crisis and decides this is the moment to make a break for it. The trio manage to flee the scene of the battle and run to a massive garage filled what appears to be locomotives.

There they find Reed and Sue who have commandeered a ride aboard a Cross-Time Central Express train piloted by a being calling himself Casey... for a price. With time growing short, Ben, Johnny and Sharon hop aboard and the train is off into the time stream. Justice Peace and his Minutemen catch up and begin giving them chase. Sue tries to ward them off with invisible force spheres. She keeps the Minutemen back, but Justice Peace manages to hop on board the train. Seeing this, Johnny tires to attack, but has his flame smothered in a sticky foam that leaves him pinned to the top of a train car. Ben then climbs up and tries to stop him as well, but has the top of the train car blasted out from under him. Sue then intervenes using her powers to disarm and incapacitate Justice Peace. Sue then threatens to toss him over the side of the train, but Reed cautions her against it as it will kill Justice Peace.

Suddenly they notice a massive white void racing toward them, and Reed informs Sue that it is the last portion of his computer virus that will erase all reference to their reality from the TVA's databanks. With this erasure, Justice Peace's function as a law officer has changed as with this erasure the Fantastic Four have done no wrong. With the void racing toward them, he offers his aid to help them gain enough speed to out race the void and not be erased. On Justice Peace's directions, Johnny fires a nova flame into the engines of the train while Ben smashes free the main engine from the train cars. Gaining enough speed, the Fantastic Four out race the void and re-enter the timestream. With the danger having passed, Justice Peace then leaps out of the train engine as they pass through his own time.

Getting closer to their own era the Fantastic Four prepare to jump out as well, but before they do must give Casey his payment: their uniforms. As it turns out Casey is a huge fan of the Fantastic Four. With Johnny, Sharon, Sue and Reed stripped of their uniforms the group takes a dive out of the vehicle. Protected by one of Sue's invisible force fields, they come crashing into their own era safe and sound in the Four Freedoms Plaza, some twenty hours after they left Latveria. In the aftermath of the escape, the group has noticed that Ben has reverted back to his standard rocky form. With the danger now over things appear to be back to normal when Ben and Johnny begin bickering between themselves as usual.


Continuity Notes

  • When contemplating allowing the TVA to restore him to normal and erase the existence of the Fantastic Four, Ben realizes they they wouldn't be able to stop the Time Bubble of Earth-8810 which the group managed to do in Fantastic Four #337341.
  • Mobius admits that the TVA is responsible for trying to trap the Fantastic Four on the prehistoric island they were stranded on in Fantastic Four #345346.
  • Sharon Ventura departs from the Fantastic Four following this story, she is next seen in Fantastic Four #365, where she is spying on the Fantastic Four for Dr. Doom in payment for him restoring her to human form.

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