Appearing in "War With the New Warriors"

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Synopsis for "War With the New Warriors"

The Thing is furious at the Human Torch, whom Ben accuses of defacing a clay sculpture that was made for him years ago by his former girlfriend Alicia Masters. He smashes into Reed's lab during a delicate experiment to test if Johnny can utilizes his powers without oxygen. Johnny wonders what the big deal is, saying that Alicia can always fix it, and then quips that the squished head is an improvement. This causes Ben to lose his temper even more. Reed tries to restrain Ben, but he pulls free and when Johnny tries to contain him in a flame cage, Ben just rips off a wall panel and then wraps it around Johnny. To defend himself, the Torch blows hot air in Ben's face, but this only provokes him to strike back. Before Ben's fist can connect with Johnny's face, it is blocked by one of Sue's invisible force fields. Sue calls out Ben for acting like a child, and when Alicia calls out for her husband Johnny, Ben has had enough and storms out. In the aftermath of the altercation, Johnny asks Alicia if she can fix the statue, but she is unsure. Reed tells them to not be overly concerned about the statue, that Ben's outburst is actually a manifestation of the anxiety he feels after his recent stresses of late, citing Ben's recent reversion back into the Thing and how his girlfriend Sharon Ventura suddenly vanished after their last adventure. Upon closer examination, Reed notes that the statue was crushed, not burnt, and wonders if Ben might have wrecked the statue himself.

Sometime later, Alicia's step-father, the long time Fantastic Four foe known as the Puppet Master pays a visit to the grave of Alicia's mother and his wife to pay his respects. He confesses that he thinks there is something wrong with his daughter, noting that she apparently hasn't been to visit the grave herself in quite a long time. He notes that his step-daughter has changed ever since she married the Human Torch, and vows to find out why no matter what. Fearing intervention from the Fantastic Four, the Puppet Master goes to his radioactive clay to find a suitable pawn to bring Alicia to him. He decides on Marvel Boy, member of the New Warriors to bring her to him.

At that very moment, at the penthouse headquarters of the New Warriors, the novice heroes are currently in a training session together in order to learn how to work better as a team. Marvel Boy is keeping a massive weapon aloft with his telekinetic powers, when suddenly he loses his concentration, dropping the device and abruptly ending the training session. Marvel Boy then informs his teammates that he has had a "telepathic flash" and is aware of some deadly danger. Unsure of if their teammate actually telepathic powers or not, the New Warriors decide to follow along to see what the situation is all about. At the shared home of Johnny Storm and his wife Alicia Masters, Johnny tries again to get her to repair the damage Thing statue. Alicia tells him that she is unsure if she can as she has moved on to more surreal artwork and that all the sculptures he has seen in the recent past were nothing more than stock inventory she sold off before trying her new form of expression.

Before they can discuss things further, Marvel Boy comes smashing in through the window. Catching Johnny off guard, Marvel Boy uses his telekinetic powers to bury him in sculptures and then flee with Alicia as his prisoner. Johnny burns himself free and then chases after Marvel Boy to recover his wife. As they pass by the other New Warriors, their leader Night Thrasher orders them to defend their teammate in good faith that what he is doing is on the level. Firestar, Nova, Namorita and Speedball all rush at the Torch, trying to keep him away from Marvel Boy and Alicia. Realizing he is outnumbered, Johnny decides it is time to call in reinforcements and fires off a Fantasti-Flare to summon the other members of his team. As the Fantastic Four arrive at the scene an engage the New Warriors, Nova asks Marvel Boy what the whole situation is. Marvel Boy makes up some story about alien mind control, convincing Nova to join the battle while he slips away with Alicia. As the Fantastic Four battle the New Warriors, they manage to incapacitate each member of the team. Seeing this, Marvel Boy shakes off part of the Puppet Master's control and leaves Alicia in an alley to join his teammates. When Phillip Master confronts the woman he thinks is his step-daughter, she does not recognize his voice, making him realize that this woman is not his beloved step-daughter, but an impostor.

When the Puppet Master tosses away his puppet of Marvel Boy, it painfully releases its hold from him, sending the young hero into the Hudson River. Johnny catches him, causing the two teams of heroes to pause long enough to spot the Puppet Master with Alicia. When both groups rush at their mutual foe, the Puppet Master summons a massive robot that keeps them busy long enough for him to escape. With the robot destroyed, Johnny asks Alicia what her step-father wanted with her, but Alicia tells him that she doesn't know. As the New Warriors depart, Reed tells his team that with the Puppet Master on the loose again, he will have to take additional steps to ensure that none of them are enthralled by their foe in the future....


Continuity Notes

  • Reed mentions Ben's trials and tribulations of late that led to his emotional outburst in this issue:
    • When Reed turned over control of the Fantastic Four to Ben circa Fantastic Four #307, he invited his old ally Sharon Ventura, AKA Ms. Marvel, to join the team. Ben was attracted to her, but Sharon was disgusted with herself and hated men as she was previously raped by minions of Karl Malus behind the scenes of Captain America #330-331.
    • Sharon was later mutated into a She-Thing circa Fantastic Four #310. This allowed her to give into her feelings and start a romance with the Thing, circa Fantastic Four #317.
    • However, an accident in Fantastic Four #326 changed Ben back to human form. The following issue Ben assured Sharon that he would continue to date her because her appearance didn't matter to him.
    • Sharon got a brief taste of her humanity again for a brief period in Fantastic Four #345-346 when the Time Variance Authority briefly stripped the group of their powers. This caused friction between the couple who both had very different ideas on how to solve the problem.
    • In Fantastic Four #350, Sharon secretly enlisted the aid of Doctor Doom to cure herself, while Ben simultaneously exposed himself to Cosmic Rays again to become the Thing once more.
    • Sharon mysteriously disappeared following the events of Fantastic Four #354, she resurfaces in Fantastic Four #365, which reveals that she is now spying on the Fantastic Four for Doctor Doom as payment for his curing her.
  • This issue lays some significant hints about the true identity of the woman who everyone believes is Alicia Masters: Her inability to repair Ben's statue, her lack of skill maneuvering while blind, her alien-like sculptures, and her inability to recognize the Puppet Masters voice. This is all because: This is not the real Alicia Masters, but a Skrull spy named Lyja as revealed in Fantastic Four #358. She has been posing as Alicia since Fantastic Four #265.
  • In regards to the Puppet Master visiting the grave of Alicia's mother: While Alicia was still a child, Marcia was widowed following an explosion caused by Phillip that killed her husband. Alicia's mother married Phillip out of grief, as seen in Marvel Team-Up #6. That same explosion caused Marcia to slowly die of radiation poisoning.
  • Phillip mentions that he noticed Alicia acting strangely after she married the Human Torch. This happened in Fantastic Four #300. Phillip was present and almost crashed the wedding with the Wizard and the Mad Thinker before having a change of heart and attacking his foes.
  • Following their appearances here the Fantastic Four are seen again in New Warriors #16.

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