Appearing in "Suddenly ... The Secret Defenders"
- Ms. Marvel
- Franklin Richards
- Agatha Harkness
- Secret Defenders
- Inhuman Royal Family
- New York
- Hulk's Apartment
- The Moon
Synopsis for "Suddenly ... The Secret Defenders"
With the Human Torch on the run from the law with a bounty on his head, his friend Spider-Man has decided to try and gather some other heroes to help him track down the Torch and convince him to surrender to the authorities. Spider-Man finds himself at the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange to help gather some allies. He interrupts Strange while doing a mystical tarot card reading, which warns of death and doom, however he cannot say with any certainty what the cards truly mean. Spider-Man then asks Doctor Strange to use his mystical abilities to gather his old allies in the "New" Fantastic Four. Agreeing to help, Doctor Strange sends his spirit form out into the world and contacts the Wolverine in Westchester, the Hulk in Reno, and the Ghost Rider in Cypress Hills, all three agree to join up and help Spider-Man hunt down the Torch.
Meanwhile, Reed, Ben, Alicia and Sharon have just returned to the Four Freedoms Plaza. There Reed is upset to learn that Johnny had accidentally set fire to Empire State University and is now on the run from the law, and that repairs to their headquarters have been halted due to Sue arranging a financial pay out to ESU to make them drop their case against her brother. Sue suddenly snaps at Reed, asking him if he thinks that this is her fault. She tells him how Johnny was defending himself against Paibok, Lyja and Devos when the fire happened. As Reed and Sue's argument continues on, Sharon asks Ben if they can speak privately and they both leave the room. In another part of the building, young Franklin is with his caretaker Agatha Harkness. Hearing his parents arguing again, Franklin becomes upset and his powers begin to flare up. Quick thinking, Agatha casts a spell to cause the boy to fall asleep, ending his threat. Although Harkness fears that the boy may become a danger in the future.
At that moment in Latveria, Castle Doom glows with fierce energies amid the frightened villagers of Doomstadt. Inside, Doctor Doom is transferring the power he stole from Aron the Rogue Watcher into a battery pack which he will use to channel the power. With his technicians finished with a new suit of armor that will allow him to contain these energies, Doom sends them away. He then has his Servo-Guards strip him of his traditional armor and place on this new suit, so that Doom can wield the power of a Watcher.
Back in New York City, Reed, Sue, Ben and Sharon have taken out the Fantasti-Car in order to split up and search for Johnny in the city. From an abandoned building, Johnny spots Reed out searching for him. Ashamed of everything that has happened, Johnny doesn't call up but slinks back into the gloom of the abandoned tenement. Elsewhere in the city, the Secret Defenders are out looking for Johnny as well. When the Hulk talks about harming Johnny, Spider-Man reminds them that they aren't out to hurt the Torch, only convince him to surrender to the authorities. Johnny is also being watched from Earth's orbit by Paibok, Devos and Lyja. As Paibok gloats over the impending defeat of the Torch, Lyja feels a pang, leaving to wonder if she can kill her onetime husband and father of her child.
Johnny is suddenly found by the Secret Defenders, and with no choice, he fires a Fantasti-Flare into the sky alerting the others of his location. The Torch then flames on and fights against his pursuers until Reed and the others can arrive on the scene. While Wolverine fights Mister Fantastic, the Ghost Rider squares off against the Invisible Woman. As Ms. Marvel squares off against Spider-Man, Johnny tires to pit his flame against the Ghost Rider's. Meanwhile, the Thing battles the Hulk. The Hulk manages to knock the Thing through the floor, then pulls Reed off of Wolverine. As the battle on Earth rages on, on the Moon, the Inhuman royal family spots a strange flare of energy fly past their kingdom toward the Watcher's Citadel, prompting Black Bolt to investigate. At the Watcher's home, Uatu has placed the unconscious Aron in a stasis chamber. Suddenly he is interrupted by the arrival of Doctor Doom who announces that he has come to take all the power within the citadel.
Back on Earth, the fight between the Fantastic Four and the Secret Defenders rages on. During the battle Wolverine gets worked up into a berserker frenzy and tries to attack Sue. Although she is protected by her invisible force field, the Thing pulls the mutant off his teammate. This proves to be an error as the feral Wolverine slashes Ben's face with his Adamantium claws during the struggle. Seriously cut, the Thing lashes out, striking Wolverine as hard as he can, sending the mutant flying through the rotted walls of the building. While everyone is concerned over Ben's injury, the Ghost Rider tries to restrain Johnny with his chain. However the Ghost Rider is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Lyja who has come to defend her husband. Seeing this from his monitor in space, Paibok is furious that Lyja has now betrayed him, unaware that Paibok plots to do the same thing as well. While on Earth, the Fantastic Four, Lyja and Ms. Marvel are surrounded by the Secret Defenders. Before the fight can continue, the FF and their allies are suddenly teleported away. Witnessing this, Doctor Strange points out that the Fantastic Four seemed as surprised as they were about the sudden teleportation, and fears that this may be the last they ever see of the group.
- Spider-Man continues his hunt for the Human Torch here from the second story of Amazing Spider-Man #375. Following this story he is next seen in Venom: Lethal Protector #1.
- Doctor Strange keeps secret that his powers are not at their peak. He is referring to the events of Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme #49–50. During those issues Doctor Strange was stripped of much of his abilities when various magical principalities refused to allow him to evoke their names for his magic.
- Spider-Man mentions his short lived New Fantastic Four who were gathered as a team "avenge" the apparent deaths of the original team in Fantastic Four #347–349. It was all a ruse created by the Skrull renegade De'Lila.
- The Hulk appears here between Warlock and the Infinity Watch #13 and Sensational She-Hulk #56, Wolverine between Secret Defenders #3 and Wolverine: Inner Fury #1, and Ghost Rider between Marvel Holiday Special #1993 and Punisher War Journal #57.
- The Four Freedoms Plaza had its upper floors destroyed by a gamma bomb in Infinity War #2/Fantastic Four #367. Johnny set fire to Empire State University in Fantastic Four #371 and has been on the run from the law ever since.
- Sue's shift in personality and her revealing costume are the product of her personality merging with Malice, the dark side of her personality back in Fantastic Four #368.
- Franklin's powers have slowly been returning since Fantastic Four #365 after the boy was manipulated by Occulus.
- The love triangle between Ben, Alicia and Sharon is as follows:
- Alicia and the Thing began dating in Fantastic Four #9
- After Ben was kidnapped by the Beyonder to participate in the Secret Wars in Thing #10, Alicia was left alone and (as revealed in Fantastic Four #358) replaced by a Skrull spy named Lyja.
- When the rest of the Fantastic Four returned from the Secret Wars without Ben in Fantastic Four #265, (who decided to stay behind in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12) "Alicia" decided to pursue a relationship with Johnny Storm to maintain her connections with the Fantastic Four. Ben eventually returned to Earth in Fantastic Four #277.
- Johnny and "Alicia" later got married in Fantastic Four #300.
- Ben eventually was given leadership of the Fantastic Four for a period of time, recruiting Ms. Marvel to the group in Fantastic Four #307.
- Sharon was later mutated into a She-Thing in Fantastic Four #310 and by Fantastic Four #317 she and Ben were in a relationship.
- Eventually Sharon and Ben's relationship soured when Ben was cured of being a Thing in an accident in Fantastic Four #326. Tragically, as seen in Fantastic Four #350 on the same day Sharon secretly sought out Dr. Doom to cure herself, Ben purposely changed himself into the Thing again.
- Sharon disappeared after her last mission with the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #354.
- Shortly thereafter, Lyja was exposed as a Skrull spy in Fantastic Four #357 and the real Alicia was rescued the following issue. Thinking that she and Ben were still an item, Alicia has not been told about Ben's relationship with Sharon.
- Lyja mentions her and Johnny's "unborn child", however the "child" is neither of them, as explained in Fantastic Four #390 and 393, Paibok implanted Lyja with a Gha'Barri.
- The Thing states that he and the Hulk should fight it out for "old times sake". The two have been feuding for years. At the time of this story, the Thing and the Hulk have clashed many times. These clashes are as follows: Fantastic Four #12, Fantastic Four #25–26, Incredible Hulk #122, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #5, Fantastic Four #112, Incredible Hulk #153, Marvel Feature #11, Giant-Size Super-Stars #1, Fantastic Four #166–167, Rampaging Hulk (Vol. 2) #5, Marvel Two-In-One #46, Marvel Two-In-One Annual #5, Marvel Fanfare #21, Marvel Graphic Novel: The Big Change #1, Fantastic Four #320, Incredible Hulk #350, Incredible Hulk #365, Incredible Hulk Annual #18, and Fantastic Four #368. The pair next clash in Fantastic Four Unlimited #4
- The Inhuman Royal Family appears here following their last appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy #27 where they helped the Guardians cure their teammate Talon of an Inhuman illness.
- This story Wolverine seriously cuts Ben's face. His face remains scarred until Fantastic Four #409.
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