Appearing in "It's Always Darkest Before the... Doom!"
- Ms. Marvel
- The Watcher
- House of Agon
- Franklin Richards
- Agatha Harkness
- Matt Murdock
- Makio Yakaki
- Nathaniel Richards
- Secret Defenders (Only in flashback)
- Mr. Losey
- Blue Area of the Moon
- New York State
Synopsis for "It's Always Darkest Before the... Doom!"
The Fantastic Four are gearing up for a showdown with the Secret Defenders, when all of a sudden, they disappear in a flash of blinding light. They reappear at the citadel of Uatu, the Watcher who exists in the blue area of Earth's moon.
Uatu informs the Fantastic Four, that recently Doctor Doom had come to the moon and usurped the power of Aron, the mad renegade Watcher. Doom announced his intentions to conquer Uatu as well. Although Uatu is confident that he can defend his citadel by himself, he is concerned that Doom may pose a threat to Earth even more grave than any he has ever posed before. Uatu disappears to seek council with his fellow Watchers.
Elsewhere in the Watcher's citadel, Doctor Doom has crafted for himself a new cosmic armor designed to hold the power of Aron the Watcher. Doom surveys the advanced alien technology of the palace and schemes on his plan to destroy Uatu. After he’s finished with the Watcher, he fully intends on turning his attention towards the destruction of the Fantastic Four.
Meanwhile, the Inhumans of Atillan learn of a strange presence coming from the area of Uatu's citadel. They fly over towards it to investigate, and are amazed at how easily it is to pierce Uatu's defenses.
Within the citadel, Ben and Sharon begin poking around looking for Doom. Ben is still in a great amount of pain due to the injuries to his face suffered at the hands of Wolverine. Sharon notices that he is using his injury as an excuse to avoid dealing with their relationship issues. But before the two can discuss the issue any further, a robot warrior emerges and begins attacking them. The robot pounds on the Thing's face causing him even greater injury. The Thing responds by thrusting a huge piece of metal debris through the robot’s abdomen.
Elsewhere, Johnny Storm and Lyja are exploring another section of the citadel. Johnny is concerned because Lyja is carrying his baby. Although he is loathe to admit it, he still cares about her. Lyja however, expresses nothing but contempt for humanity and especially for the Fantastic Four.
Johnny and Lyja are the first to encounter Doctor Doom. Lyja fires a blast of energy from her laser fist at Doom, but Doom repels the energy sending back onto her, knocking her out. Johnny assaults Doom with a stream of flame, but this proves ineffective against Doom’s new cosmic armor. Doom blasts Johnny back, dousing his flame. He promises to return to finish them off at a time of his own choosing.
- Reed mentions Uatu's vow of non-interference. Watchers are forbidden to interfere in the actions of others due to a solemn vow of non-interference. This was due to the fact that the last time the Watchers got involved in the lives of other races it led to the Prosilican race annihilating itself, as seen in Tales of Suspense #53 and expanded upon in Original Sin #0. Although Uatu has occasionally assisted the Fantastic Four, as early as Fantastic Four #13, he has not done so relative to this story. This is because he had recently been put on trial by his peers in Captain Marvel #39 and is on a tighter leash.
- Sue's abrasive personality is due to the fact that she merged with Malice, the dark side of her personality, in Fantastic Four #368.
- Aron the Rogue Watcher had his powers stolen by Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #373.
- The Thing's face was horribly slashed by Wolverine at the end of last issue. His face remains scarred until Fantastic Four #409.
- Sharon's reservations for battling Doctor Doom are due to the fact that he was able to cure her of being the She-Thing in Fantastic Four #350.
- While exploring the Watcher's trophy rooms, Sharon and Ben come across statues of the Fantastic Four as they appeared when they first began wearing costumes in Fantastic Four #3, this includes the helmet which the Thing wore briefly in that same story before discarding it. Ben wore it again briefly in Fantastic Four #239 and variation of it in Fantastic Four #301. Ben begins wearing this helmet again to protect his face from further damage until Fantastic Four #385.
- Johnny and Lyja's quarrel is very complex:
- As revealed in Fantastic Four #358, Lyja took the place of Alicia Masters in order to spy on the Fantastic Four circa Fantastic Four #265. Due to the fact that the Thing was no longer part of the group, Lyja pursued a relationship with Johnny in order to maintain ties to the group.
- Johnny eventually married "Alicia" in Fantastic Four #300.
- Lyja was eventually exposed in Fantastic Four #357 and was seemingly slain the following issue during a mission to rescue the real Alicia Masters from the Skrulls.
- Lyja and her commander Paibok survived and have been trying to ruin Johnny from Fantastic Four #371-374.
- As revealed in Fantastic Four #390 and 393, Lyja and Johnny's "child" is not their offspring but a Gha'Barri implanted in her by Paibok.
- Murdock and Yakaki are dealing with the administrators of Empire State University due to the fact that Johnny set it ablaze by accident while battling Lyja, Paibok and Devos in Fantastic Four #371.
- Sue's powers are overloaded by Dr. Doom causing her great strain whenever she uses her invisible force field thereafter. This limitation persists until Fantastic Four #401.
- Franklin's powers have been flaring out of control ever since the boy was manipulated by Occulus in Fantastic Four #365.
- Nathaniel Richards appears here following his last appearance in Fantastic Four #273.
- Doom reveals that he has had Sharon spying on the Fantastic Four since Fantastic Four #365.
- This issue features a prismatic foil-enhanced cover.
- There are several shots taken at current popular trends to be found in this issue. When the Fantastic Four first arrive at the Watcher's citadel, Susan remarks, "Why isn't he a fan of the X-Men like everyone else?" At the time of publishing, the X-Men was Marvel's hottest selling title, and individual members of the team (mostly Wolverine) were known to make guest appearances in other titles on practically a monthly basis. Later in the issue, Sue complains of a headache and wishes for a bottle of Tylenol 2099. This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Marvel's line of futuristic comics published at this time that take place in the year 2099. Also, the Fantastic Four find themselves fighting against Doctor Doom with large heavy laser rifles. Johnny Storm remarks, "We don't need no steeeeenking weapons". This is a commentary on the popularity of massive guns being used in popular comic books, notably X-Force Vol 1.
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Links and References
- The Grand Comics Database: Fantastic Four Vol 1 
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