Appearing in "Into the Deep!"
- Xlyym's Earth shifters
Synopsis for "Into the Deep!"
Repairs are underway at the Four Freedoms Plaza, much to the surprise of the Thing, as he was led to believe that the Fantastic Four did not have the money to make the needed repairs to their headquarters. However he happens upon Sue who has just accepted a loan of money from their long time ally, the Black Panther, ruler of Wakanada. Before signing off, T'Challa also offers any resources he has in assisting Sue in trying to track down Reed Richards. This comes to a shock to Ben, who tries once again to get Sue to accept the fact that Reed died during their last battle with Doctor Doom, however Sue refuses to believe it. Their discussion is cut short when one of the workers falls off a scaffold, but Sue promptly saves his life with an invisible crash mat. She then excuses herself, telling Ben that she has work to do. Ben decides to go check on his old girlfriend Alicia Masters and finds a throng of reporters waiting outside the Four Freedoms Plaza who demand to know where Reed Richards is as he has not been publicly seen in quite some time, as well as the groups financial situation after settling with Empire State University. Fed up with the reporters prying questions, Ben lashes out at them, sending the vultures packing. Although Ben instantly regrets it, since the Fantastic Four's popularity has been at an all time low since Johnny accidentally set fire to Empire State University.
Meanwhile back inside the headquarters, Sue returns to her room where she begins to realize that Ben is right about things. She soon loses her temper when she thinks about how her mind had been invaded by Malice and how that creature now possesses the mind of her son, Franklin who is out there in the world somewhere. Angry at how Malice has harmed her family, Sue lashes out at a mirror with her powers, shattering it. Sue begins to pick up the pieces, making a payer to her husband that she will try to remain strong through everything and keep faith that he is alive somewhere out there. While at Alicia Master's apartment, Ben knocks but is surprised when nobody answers. He is soon informed that Alicia moved out some weeks ago and when he is asked if he wants to look into a forwarding address, Ben tells the tenant to forget it and walks out, thinking its too late to do anything.
Back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, Scott Lang and Johnny are making repairs to the group's newly acquired Stealth-Hawk, which Lang is happy to over due to its alien technology. Scott admits to Johnny that even though he is secretly the super-hero Ant-Man, the type of world he feels out of scope when comparing his career with that of the Fantastic Four, although he is amazed that Sue would hire him for the job. When he mentions how Sue has him looking into the memory logs of Doom's matter transferal device, Johnny tells Lang not to hold his breath on finding results. Before he can explain why, Johnny comes rushing to the sounds of his wife shouting. Johnny comes in on her arguing with the doctor the Fantastic Four have hired to oversee the final phases of her prengancy, however Lyja refuses to let him examine her due to his lack of knowledge of Skrull physiology. When the doctor and Lyja part company, Johnny goes after his ex-wife and gets her to talk. He tells her that he intends to see this through and asks her to try and find some middle ground regarding how to give birth to the baby. Before this strained couple can allow this romantic moment to bloom further, they are interrupted by the sound of the emergency monitor alarm. Johnny rushes to the com room where he finds that it is a call from the Sub-Mariner. Namor asks for Reed's help, but Johnny informs him that Reed is dead. After Namor gives his condolences and told how Sue is handling things, Namor terminates the conversation deciding that the rest of the team cannot help.
Still Johnny believes something can be done and calls the team together and shows them what his research has pulled up. He tells Scott, Sue, Ben, and Lyja that he has picked up two devices in both the Amazon River and Mariana's Trench that are causing Earth's axis to shift, which could potentially cause a global catastrophe. The group decides to investigate with Johnny and Lyja going to the Amazon, and Sue and Ben going to the Trench. When Scott asks to tag along, Sue tells him to stay behind and continue going over the data she hired him to examine. Soon, Johnny and Lyja are en route to the Amazon River in the Fantastic Four's bathysphere ship. After showing her his specially made suit that allows him to flame on in water, Johnny begins flirting with Lyja much to her shock. Realizing that things are about to get intimate, Ant-Man decides to come out of hiding and reveal that he has been stowing away. As Johnny gives Ant-Man grief for not following orders, Lyja spots Triton of the Inhumans and the villain known as Tiger Shark being drawn below the ocean floor by strange tentacles. Johnny and Lyja exit the ship and use their powers to blast the two free. With Tiger Shark in a berserker fury, he tries to attack them, but Lyja shape-shifts into a massive creature and subdues him. The Inhuman and man-shark are then brought aboard the ship. When they revive, Tiger Shark apologizes for attacking them, telling them that that creature apparently killed his love Tamara. Having divined that the device they are seeking to stop a planetary thruster, Lyja tells them that they need to find its exact location. This is where Ant-Man steps in to help, using his control helmet he reaches out contacting an undersea ant species to search for the device.
Meanwhile, deep within the Marianas Trench, the Sub-Mariner and Walter Newell are trapped within their disabled sub the Fenris-3 when they are suddenly found and rescued by Sue and Ben in the Stealth-Hawk. When Namor and Walter come aboard, the Sub-Mariner offers his sympathies for Sue. As Ben begins to close the hatch to the ship, he spies a strange crab-like creature in the water and begins to wonder what it is. While back in the Amazon, the heroes gathered there have dicovered the location of the planetary thruster and have determined that the only way they can get to it is allow the tentacles to capture them. Pulled beneath the surface, the four heroes begin to fight back against the tentacles in order to disable the thruster and free Tamara. However when they free Tamara, Tiger Shark is shocked to discover that she is under some kind of mind control and is forced to knock her out. Having his lover back in his arms, Tiger Shark makes a hasty exit, no longer wishing to be involved in the conflict. While Tiger Shark makes his retreat, Lyja sets the planetary thruster to self destruct and Triton swims both her and Johnny to safety.
While back aboard the Stealth-Hawk, Walter Newell explains that the planetary thrusters have been placed on Earth by Xlyym of the Formaluatuti who is a member of the space pirates known as the Starblasters, who was attempting to flood the entire planet Earth for his own purposes. Just as Namor explains how the Starblasters use mind controlling symbiont to enslave people, they are ambushed by Ben who has just been taken control of by just such a Symbionte.
This story is continued in Namor the Sub-Mariner #48...
|Starblast #1||Quasar #54||Secret Defenders #11||Starblast #2||Quasar #55||Namor the Sub-Mariner #47|
|Fantastic Four #385||Starblast #3||Namor the Sub-Mariner #48||Quasar #56||Fantastic Four #386||Starblast #4|
- Chapter 7 of the Starblast event, wherein the Starblasters have undergone a complex scheme to obtain the Star Brand. The story is told on two fronts, the first features Quasar and a group of other heroes stopping the Starblasters in space, and a second front where Earth heroes are trying to stop Xlyym from flooding the Earth. The primary event is told in Starblast #1–4 and Quasar #54–56. The Earthbound saga is covered in Namor the Sub-Mariner #47–Namor the Sub-Mariner #48 and this issue and next issue.
- The members of the Fantastic Four were last seen in Fantastic Four Unlimited #5.
- 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. Up until this story, repairs have been halted 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.
- This story marks the first issue where Ben stops wearing the helmet he's been wearing since Fantastic Four #375 after Wolverine slashed his face in the previous issue. Ben's face remains scarred until Fantastic Four #409.
- The Black Panther appears here between the second story of Fantastic Four Unlimited #1 and Fantastic Four #390.
- 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.
- One reporter asks if Sue is going to start wearing a black costume. This an vague reference to the fact that Spider-Man had begun wearing a black costume in Amazing Spider-Man #252. Between that story and this story, a character changing to an all-black costume was considered a comic book trope.
- The reporters mention how the Fantastic Four are having financial problems after settling with Empire State University. This is reference to the fact that Johnny accidentally lit the school on fire in Fantastic Four #371. In Fantastic Four #375, the Fantastic Four's lawyers reached a settlement with ESU which involved turning over many of Reed's patents to the school, thus cutting off a significant portion of the FF's income.
- Sue recalls how she was possessed by her Malice persona. This happened in Fantastic Four #369 and lasted until last issue when Malice transferred herself into the mind of Psi-Lord.
- Alicia Masters was last seen in Fantastic Four #376. She has left the lives of the Fantastic Four for many complicated reasons:
- She had spent two years of Marvel time as a prisoner of the Skrulls while she was replaced with the Skrull spy Lyja. This was revealed in Fantastic Four #358 as happening circa Fantastic Four #265.
- During this time, Lyja married Johnny in Fantastic Four #300 and Ben began a relationship with Ms. Marvel in Fantastic Four #317.
- When Lyja was later exposed and Alicia rescued, she had problems coping with all the damage Lyja had done to her life. Particularly when she created a fantasy world thanks to the devices created by Aron the Rogue Watcher in Fantastic Four #371–373.
- Alicia is seen again in Fantastic Four #393–394 when her father the Puppet Master forces both Alicia and Ben to live an ideal relationship in Liddleville.
- 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.
- Namor, Walter Newell, Triton, Tamara and Tiger Shark all appear here following the events of Namor the Sub-Mariner #47. Wherein they begin their quest to try and disable Xlyym's planetary thrusters.
- The entire cast of this story are next seen in Namor the Sub-Mariner #48.