Appearing in "My Enemy, My Son!"
- Fantastic Four
- Ant-Man (Joins team)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "My Enemy, My Son!"
The Fantastic Four have returned form the Skrull throneworld to Earth where the Thing finds that his ex-girlfriend Sharon Ventura has been stolen from the medical bay where she was kept in stasis after being mutated by Doctor Doom. Ben goes on a rampage in the lab until he is stopped by Johnny and Sue who remind him that with Reed either dead or missing, they do not have anyone with the expertise to repair anything. When Sue goes to review the security system to see if they have a recording of whoever stole Sharon, they find that the tape is blank. When Ben tells them that they need to get into some money in order to repair their headquarters, Sue tells them that they cannot borrow any money because the banks see them as a financial risk, but she is exploring other avenues. Sue tells them that she has enough surplus money to hire a temporary replacement for Reed. When Johnny hears Sue talking like Reed wasn't killed in Latveria, he tries to get her to come to terms with this reality, Sue snaps back, reminding them that they saw no body and it could all be a trick being played on them by Doom. The argument is cut short when Roberta calls up to inform the group that Reed's temporary replacement has arrived. Sue goes down to interview their would be applicant, telling Ben and Johnny to clear the place up while she is gone. While Ben and Johnny begin cleaning up, they start talking to about Reed, and Johnny asks why Ben never let Reed look at his face, Ben tells him that Reed wasn't a plastic surgeon and he figured it didn't make a difference if his face was scarred or not, a monster is a monster. When Johnny remarks that this isn't the Ben Grimm he remembers, Ben suggests that maybe after Reed the group could use some change.
The conversation is interrupted again, this time by Sue arriving with the new applicant, scientist Scott Lang, who has been recommended to the group by Tony Stark. Lang introduces himself and tells Ben and Johnny how his daughter Cassie is a huge fan of the Fantastic Four. When Johnny offers to sign an autograph for Cassie, Ben becomes agitated and makes a sarcastic comment about sending Cassie a dumbbell bent into the shape of a heart before storming off. Sue tells Scott to ignore the outburst and takes him on a tour of the Four Freedoms Plaza.
Johnny meanwhile directs his thoughts on the baby that his ex-wife Lyja is about to have. He enters her room just as Lyja is waking up from a horrible nightmare where she is being terrorized by Paibok, who murders Johnny. Lyja tells Johnny that there is something she must tell him, but asks her if she really wants to get into it right now, and Lyja decides against telling him, for now. At that moment above Grand Central Station, Franklin Richards watches the city move below him, remarking at the contrast of the wasteland New York has become in his future. The Richards youth is realizing that his grandfather Nathaniel Richards has been intended to send someone else into the past and stop the one responsible for the downfall of the Fantastic Four. Believing that this person is his own mother, Franklin dawns his Psi-Lord armor and heads toward the Four Freedoms Plaza intent on carrying out his mission, regardless of the truth.
Meanwhile, Sue has taken Scott Lang into Reed's Time/Space Laboratory, where Lang is blown away by the technology found there. She explains that his primary job will be to search the data on Doctor Doom's memory module for any trace that indicates that Doom used his matter transferal device to abscond with Reed as some sort of trick to convince the Fantastic Four that both he and Reed perished during their last battle. While outside at a nearby news stand, Ben gets a newspaper and is shocked by a report that Doctor Doom may have resurfaced in Latveria. He decides that he has also been putting off checking in on Alicia Masters and becomes determined to look in on her. Before Ben can go on, he is bumped into by some children buying X-Men comics, who are frightened when they see Ben's scarred face and go running. As Ben processes this, he sees a beam of light head towards the Four Freedoms Plaza and suspects trouble. Ben's right, as Sue and Scott's interview is interrupted the the arrival of Psi-Lord who vows to destroy Sue.
Always suspecting that this teenaged Franklin Richards was an impostor, Sue fights back. As the two fight it out, Sue uses her powers to pull Scott out of the room and seals the door so Franklin cannot harm anyone else. As the battle continues, Ben, Johnny and Lyja join Scott outside and try to break through the door, but to no avail. When all their powers fail to break through, Scott offers his assistance, opening his gym bag he pulls out the helmet belonging to Ant-Man. While inside the lab, Franklin and Sue are at a stalemate, so Franklin decides to change tactics. Dropping his Psi-Lord armor, Franklin gets his mother's guard down by talking to her. When she is sufficiently distracted, he enters her mind with his psi-powers. Inside Sue's mind, Franklin finds that Malice has taken full control of her personality again. Revealing herself to Franklin, Malice lashes out at the boy, intent to destroy him. As that battle of the minds rages, Scott Lang reveals to his new potential employers that he is really Ant-Man. Putting on his costume and shrinking down to size, Ant-Man then enters the lock on the door in order to pick it from inside. While inside Sue's mind, the battle between Franklin and Malice continues. When Franklin appears to gain the upper hand, Malice surprises him by catchin him in a mental probe. While outside, Ant-Man manages to pry the lock open, allowing the others to open the door. They arrive in on Franklin -- now possessed by Malice himself -- standing over the unconscious body of Sue.
The possessed Psi-Lord then blasts the rest of the Fantastic Four away, engages his Psi-Lord armor, and flies away. When Sue revives, Johnny tries to apologize for not believing Sue about Franklin this whole time. However Sue now believes that the boy is truly her son, but is afraid that he and his powers are now under the power of the most evil monster in the world.
- Sue, Johnny and Ben were last seen in Fantastic Four Unlimited #4.
- The continuity between this issue and Fantastic Four Unlimited #5, which sources place as happening between the events of this issue, don't entirely fit. The issues being when Sharon is captured, when the Fantastic Four become aware of it, as well as when Ant-Man is hired and when they discover that his double identity. FF Unlimited #5 shows that the Fantastic Four get home and then witness Sharon's capture, while Scott Lang is ALREADY a member of the group and they already know he's Ant-Man, which doesn't fit with the continuity of this issue. During the subsequent battle against the Frightful Four in that story, they try to explain the entire episode by having the Fantastic Four's memories of the events erased. This doesn't help much to dispel both the continuity issues with Sharon being captured, and when the Fantastic Four hired Scott Lang and discovered he was Ant-Man. It's placement before, during or after the events of Fantastic Four #384 is a matter of interpretation.
- 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.
- Ben is furious that Sharon Ventura is missing. She was mutated by Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four #378 and put in stasis in the Four Freedoms Plaza the following issue, she was kidnapped by Klaw in Fantastic Four #382.
- The group makes multiple mentions to the fact that Reed and Doctor Doom were seemingly slain in Fantastic Four #381, however as revealed in Fantastic Four #406-407 they were actually taken prisoner by Hyperstorm.
- The top levels of the Four Freedoms Plaza are seen destroyed here, as they were destroyed by a Gamma bomb in Infinity War #2/Fantastic Four #367. Repairs have been halter due to the settlement that the Fantastic Four had to make with Empire State University in Fantastic Four #375 to pay for the damages caused by Johnny to campus in Fantastic Four #371.
- Ant-Man appears here following the events of Marvel Comics Presents #137.
- Lang's recommendation from Tony Stark is because at the time, Lang was affiliated with Stark International having worked for the company circa Avengers #181.
- Lyja has claimed that she is pregnant with Johnny's child as early as Fantastic Four #358. As revealed in Fantastic Four #390 and 393 however, Lyja and Johnny's "child" is not their offspring but a Gha'Barri implanted in her by Paibok.
- Some facts about Franklin that are glossed over in this story:
- Young Franklin Richards was taken to the future of Earth-6311 at the end of last issue. Young Franklin eventually returns in Fantastic Four #414. As clarified in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #14, the teenaged Franklin seen here is not the child of Reed and Sue, but a divergent counterpart of the child.
- Franklin's mission imperative is incorrect in this story. In reality he is trying to prevent the destruction of his family at the hands of Hyperstorm. A complex series of events that finally reach their conclusion in Fantastic Four #414.
- Seen here is the computer data recovered by the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #382, and the Time-Sled last seen in Fantastic Four Annual #25.
- The man in the newspaper report about Latveria is not really Dr. Doom, but actually Nathaniel Richards, who took Doom's place following his apparent demise in Fantastic Four #382.
- Sue's mind has been possessed by her evil Malice persona since Fantastic Four #369.
- Malice possesses Franklin's mind in this story, remaining in his mind until Fantastic Four #392 when it is transferred into the mind of the Dark Raider.
- This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.
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