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Human Torch doppelganger

Appearing in "Day of the Dark Side!"

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Synopsis for "Day of the Dark Side!"

An evil doppelganger of Reed Richards has tricked most of the heroes of Earth to meet at the Four Freedoms Plaza in an attempt to assassinate them with a gamma bomb. However, even though the upper floors of the Four Freedoms Plaza have been destroyed, the blast is contained by the Invisible Woman in a massive force field. Just barely able to contain the blast for too long, Sue has Thor use his hammer Mjolnir to create a vortex that sends the blast out into space. Meanwhile, the other heroes restrain the impostors of both Mister Fantastic and Iron Man for questioning. Before answers can be taken from them, the Magus and his Thanos doppelganger appear through a teleportal and attack, pulling their impostors into the portal before vanishing, leaving the heroes to believe that Thanos is in league with the Magus.

With more questions than answers, Captain America takes command of the situation, and Sue gives the gathered heroes access to the Fantastic Four's resources. When Johnny suggests that Sue take some personal time after what happened to Reed, she refuses to stand down while her husband is in danger. When the Hulk begins mocking the Fantastic Four, this leads to some harsh words being words being exchanged between the two before Speedball of the New Warriors intervenes and stops them from coming to blows.

Needing some space, Johnny takes off and flies over the city to mull over recent events. Namely how Reed had been replaced with a evil duplicate, how he and Reed have not been getting along as of late, their recent battle with Occulus which may have awoken Franklin's long dormant mutant powers. With all the pressures and anxiety among the group, Johnny wonders if it's time to quit the Fantastic Four. His thoughts are suddenly interrupted when he barely manages to avoid an optic blast fired from a doppelganger of Cyclops. Johnny soon realizes he is under attack by a whole group of X-Men doppelgangers including Storm, Colossus, Jean Grey, and Wolverine. Among these impostors is also a doppelganger of the Human Torch as well. At first he is caught off guard, especially after learning that the Wolverine doppelganger was killed by the real Wolverine. But the shade tells Johnny that there are plenty more where he came from. The doppelgangers have come to replace the real Human Torch, and have come in superior numbers to overpower him. Johnny tries to keep them at bay with flame duplicates, and later by causing steam to rise up from the quickly evaporated water of a nearby water tower. Out numbered, Johnny realizes that he has to pull back and plan his next move.

Back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, utilizing Reed's equipment, the coalition of heroes have managed to track Magus and his associates back to another dimension. When Sue asks how they are going to get to this other dimension, the Scarlet Witch enters the room with mystics Dr. Druid and Agatha Harkness to help them. Although Sue is happy to see Agatha after such a long time, the Avengers are less than willing to trust Dr. Druid who betrayed the Avengers the last time he was with them. Druid assures the group that he has changed and intends to help. Suddenly they are distracted by what sounds like a fight between the Thing and the Hulk, but as it turns out it's not an actual fight, but the pair playing a table top hockey game against each other.

Meanwhile, back in the city, the evil duplicates of the X-Men get past the steam while the Torch doppelganger manages to close the distance between himself and the real Torch. The faux X-Men then pile on the Torch, keeping him entirely on the defensive from the multiple attacks. When the shade of Wolverine almost gets close enough to slash Johnny, he has no choice but to unleash the full fury of his flame on his foe. When the incinerated Wolverine reverts back into its natural tentacled form, Johnny realizes that he's not fighting against living creatures and realizes that he can unleash the full fury of his powers on his foes, much to his joy. While back at the Four Freedoms, Sue asks Agatha if she would be willing to come back to help with looking after young Franklin, however Agatha tells her that she has other concerns that are more pressing. Nonetheless, she is taken to Franklin who is happy to see his former governess. After seeing the boy, Agatha changes her mind and agrees to remain to help raise the boy. While outside, Johnny allows himself to be ganged up by the phony X-Men, and right when they're guards are down, Johnny unleashes the full power of his nova flame, destroying all the impostors.

Even though he knows these are merely unliving impostors, Johnny is still disgusted by what he was forced to do. He is soon joined by his doppelganger who mocks Johnny, telling him that he has become as dark as himself, before escaping in a teleportal. After grimly thinking of those mocking words for a moment, Johnny returns to the Four Freedoms Plaza to rendezvous with the others. He is right on time to join a group consisting of members of the Fantastic Four, both Avengers teams, the X-Men, and X-Factor on a journey into another dimension to stop the Magus. With the group all selected, Agatha Harkness, Dr. Druid, the Scarlet Witch and Alpha Flight's Shaman pool their powers to teleport the heroes to their intended destination.


Continuity Notes

  • The heroes are led to believe that Thanos is helping the Magus. As revealed in Infinity War #1, this is actually a doppelganger of Thanos.
  • Johnny mentions his recent arguments with Reed over the direction the team is taking, that happened in Fantastic Four #366. The Fantastic Four's battle with Occulus took place in Fantastic Four #362365. That battle has led the group to believe that Franklin's mutant powers might be resurfacing since he dampened them in Fantastic Four #245.
  • Johnny mentions that the Wolverine doppelganger was reportedly killed by the real Wolverine. That happened in Infinity War #1.
  • Although Johnny seemingly destroys all the impostor X-Men other copies appear later on in Infinity War #5. The only other duplicate that is not seen thereafter is the doppelganger of Jean Grey. The doppelganger of Storm is seen again next issue while the Torch duplicate is seen again in Wonder Man (Vol. 2) #15.
  • The events of this story continue in the pages of Infinity War #3, wherein the heroes who are teleported into the other dimension are tricked into battling Adam Warlock, the Infinity Watch and Thanos, while the heroes who decided to remain on Earth are attacked by a swarm of doppelgangers.

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