- Something's happened to me, Ben! Something awful!
Appearing in "Chaos in the Courtroom"
- Ms. Marvel
- Bridget O'Neil
Synopsis for "Chaos in the Courtroom"
The trial against the Human Torch has been interrupted by an attack from Paibok, Devos, Klaw and Huntara. When the opening shots are fired, Johnny pushes his lawyer Matt Murdock to the ground to protect him, while his teammates in the Fantastic Four and his former wife Lyja faces off against their foes. Seeing his friends in trouble, Johnny is about to flame on, but is stopped by Murdock, who warns Johnny that using his powers now could harm his case. Realizing that the lawyer is right, Johnny turns to tell him so but notices that the blind lawyer has slipped away. Murdock has slipped into a back room where he can secretly change into Daredevil and assist in the battle. As spectators flee from the court room, Daily Bugle owner J. Jonah Jameson stresses over not being given priority to exit so he can report his story. Just as he begins to wonder where his photographer Peter Parker may have disappeared to, Jameson is upset to see his nemesis Spider-Man has also joined the fight as well. Also witnessing Spider-Man's arrival is his former foe Sandman, who asks his employer Silver Sable if they can join the fight, as he owes a debt to the Fantastic Four's Ben Grimm. Sable, unaccustomed to fighting for free, agrees to join the fight, just this once.
As the battle rages on, Lyja attempts to incapacitate Klaw by firing a laser blast through his chest, however the seemingly mortal wound has no effect on one who is comprised of living sound. Meanwhile, Devos is battling it out with the Thing, striking his metal mask to cause further damage to the wounds they conceal underneath. The Thing is staggered by these blows and is on the ropes when suddenly the Sandman and Silver Sable intervene, allowing Ben to significantly recover and rejoin the fight. Paibok then begins focusing his attentions o Lyja, determined to kill her for betraying him. His attempts are interrupted by Spider-Man, causing Paibok to begins blasting wildly. One of these blasts causes a portion of the ceiling to come falling down over Bridget O'Neil, the young woman whom Johnny knows from Empire State University to testify on his behalf. Johnny pulls her to safety, and Bridgett thanks him for saving her life a second time. Seeing this, Lyja becomes instantly jealous and wonders who this O'Neil woman is to her ex-husband.
While outside, Huntara battles Mister Fantastic, when Daredevil intervenes, but the blind hero finds that this new warrior is just as agile as he is. At that moment, Klaw has created some sound constructs of a massive gorilla and an elephant to terrorize people on the streets. The Invisible Woman uses her powers to protect the people, but still recovering from her battle with Doctor Doom, the strain on Sue's mind is almost unbearable. Noticing his wife in distress, Reed comes to her aid, leaving him open to being impaled by Huntara's Psionic Scythe. Sue sends her husband's attacker fleeing by firing some invisible force daggers. With his radar sense, Daredevil detects that Richards needs some serious medical attention but he is pulled away form this concern when he senses Devos hovering over the street. Devos declares the entire human race a threat to galactic peace and decides to kill everyone on site and begins wildly blasting into the crowd. Sue manages to defend people with her invisible force field, but the strain soon becomes too much and she passes out. Seeing his sister fall in battle, Johnny decides he has been standing on the sidelines too long and flames on.
Meanwhile, at the Four Freedoms Plaza, both Ms. Marvel and the teenaged Franklin Richards are passing time by going through a training session. During the discussion Sharon mentions how they are both outsiders, herself in particular after she betrayed the Fantastic Four to Doctor Doom. When she says that issue is a moot point now that Doom is dead, Franklin lets slip that Doom is still alive. Remembering that Franklin has seen the future, she begins asking him about her future and if she and Ben get back together or if he eventually chooses Alicia Masters over her. When Franklin refuses to say, Sharon believes that she sees the answer in his eyes and storms out of the Fantastic Four's headquarters in tears. Down in the streets, a heartbroken Sharon Ventura tries to come to the terms with the fact that she has ruined her relationship when suddenly two minions of Doctor Doom ambush her and knock her out with a gas grenade.
At Avengers Mansion, Earth's Mightiest Heroes become aware of the battle raging outside the court house and decide to lend their strength to help the Fantastic Four and the others heroes as well. Back at the battle, Johnny sees Lyja in the clutches of Paibok, and pulls her to safety only to be downed by Klaw. The Thing tries to battle Devos alone, despite Sandman's warnings to wait, and is blasted aside as well. As the villains begin to gloat over their progress, they are suddenly ambushed by the arriving Avengers. Realizing they are now outnumbered, Huntara suggests that they retreat. Using the scythe, she cuts open a portal in open space which the villains all flee into. Not willing to let their foes escape, Daredevil jumps in after them, only to find himself in an other dimensional void. He is quickly pulled back by one of Spider-Man's webs before the portal can close. With the battle now over, the heroes recover from the attack, but the Thing is less than happy about its results. Sometime later, Ben is walking alone through the streets of New York, having blown off an outing with Sandman due to his concerns about how the Fantastic Four performed that day. With Sue seeing double, and Reed still in the hospital, Ben has come to realize the team is not in such great shape anymore. As he wonders if he should call it quits, Ben is suddenly called out to by someone in an alley. Barely recognizing that voice as Sharon's, Ben goes to her side and is horrified to see that she has been mutated into a form even more grotesque than her old She-Thing form.
- The Thing is wearing a helmet here because his face was scarred battling Wolverine in Fantastic Four #374. He started wearing the helmet in the following issue. Ben continues to wear the helmet until Fantastic Four #385 and his face is ultimately healed in Fantastic Four #409.
- The Fearsome Foursome is not named in this story, they are later identified by name in Fantastic Four Unlimited #5.
- The Sandman says he "owes it" to Ben Grimm: The Sandman started his super-powered career as a criminal back in Amazing Spider-Man #4. He started becoming a regular Fantastic Four foe when he joined the Frightful Four in Fantastic Four #36. Years later, the Sandman went through a traumatic experience when he and Hydro Man were merged into the horrific Mud-Thing in Amazing Spider-Man #217–218. The two finally managed to separate themselves Marvel Two-In-One #86. The Sandman bumped into the Thing shortly thereafter and Ben convinced the Sandman to go straight. The two soon formed a friendship.
- 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 to 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.
- Bridget mentions that Johnny "saved her again", Johnny previously saved her life in Fantastic Four #371
- Sue strains with her ability to use her invisible forcefields, she was injured battling Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #375 putting a limitation onto Sue's abilities.
- This teenaged Franklin Richards replaced the child Franklin in Fantastic Four #376. The young Franklin returns in Fantastic Four #414. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #14 confirms that they are both divergent versions with each other.
- 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.
- The members of the Avengers appear here...
- The Black Knight was last seen in New Warriors #34 and is later seen in Plasmer #2
- Thunderstrike was last seen in Thunderstrike #1
- Sersi last appeared in New Warriors Annual #3
- Both Crystal and the Vision were last seen in Avengers: Strikefile #1
- Crystal is later seen in Infinity Crusade #1
- The rest of the team is next seen in Spider-Man Unlimited #2
- A number of events happen to the Fantastic Four between pages 20 and 21 of this story.
- Ben later appears in Deathlok (Vol. 2) #36
- Johnny and Ben make an appearance in Quasar #50
- The entire team later takes part in the Infinity Crusade event which runs from Infinity Crusade #1–6. Members of the Fantastic Four also appear in the following Infinity Crusade cross-over stories that also occur in during this event.
- Reed specifically appears in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #18, Web of Spider-Man #104, Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme #56, Warlock Chronicles #2, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #19, Web of Spider-Man #105, and Darkhawk #31.
- Sue appears in Thor #464, Marc Spector: Moon Knight #57, Web of Spider-Man #104, andDoctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme #55.
- Johnny is seen in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #18, Web of Spider-Man #104, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #19, Darkhawk #30, Web of Spider-Man #105, Darkhawk #31, and Web of Spider-Man #106.
- Ben appears in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #18, Web of Spider-Man #104, Warlock and the Infinity Watch #19, Darkhawk #30, Web of Spider-Man #105, Darkhawk #31, Alpha Flight #127, Web of Spider-Man #106.
- Ben and Reed later make a brief cameo in X-Men (Vol. 2) #25.
- Following their appearances here the following characters appear elsewhere:
- Some facts about Sharon's mutated form here:
- Sharon was originally mutated into a She-Thing when she was exposed to cosmic rays in Fantastic Four #310.
- She was later cured by Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four #350.
- In exchange, Doom had Sharon spy on the FF, which she did from Fantastic Four #365 until she was exposed in Fantastic Four #375.
- Doom's minions have mutated her again at the end of this story in retaliation for her betraying Doom for the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #375.
- Dane Whitman's pupils are colored as having white rectus muscles and brown corneas. This is an error as this story happens after the events of Avengers #361 wherein Dane becomes Sersi's Gann Josin, which turned his corneas red and his rectus muscles black.
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