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The Thing

Appearing in "Nobody Gets Out Alive!"

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Synopsis for "Nobody Gets Out Alive!"

Within his citadel on the Moon, the Watcher spends some time with his display commemorating the formation of the Fantastic Four and mourns that the world's greatest super-hero team is about to come to a tragic end. Lamenting over the fact that his sacred vow of non-interference prevents him from doing anything, the Watcher thinks back to when he first met the Fantastic Four when they first came to explore the moon many years ago, and how not long after that he assisted the group in obtaining the Ultimate Nullifier in order to defeat Galactus. He then turns his thoughts toward the most recent tragedies the Fantastic Four has had to endure recently: How Nathaniel Richards, Reed father, kidnapped young Franklin and replaced him with a future, teenaged version of the boy. He also reflects on Mister Fantastic's apparent demise at the hands of his old enemy Doctor Doom. Knowing where all of these events are going to lead, Uatu the Watcher wishes that he could tell the Fantastic Four, but must stay determined to his vow not to.

Meanwhile, at the Four Freedoms Plaza on Earth, the Thing is startled when a strange prehistoric creature skitters by his legs while he is reading the newspaper. Out from Reed's Time/Space Lab comes Scott Lang who accidentally released the creature while working on Reed's time platform. Also entering the room are Sue and the Sub-Mariner who have just returned from a shopping trip, as well as Johnny and Lyja. As they all try to contain the creature, Johnny uses his flame powers to try and trap it around a circle of fire, but only startles the creature more. Lyja then shape-shifts into a form similar to the creature and calms it down -- chiding Johnny all the way -- until Sue can contain it in an invisible force field. As the bring the creature back to the lab and return it to it's proper time on the Time Platform, Scott explains how he has been working with the data taken from Latveria along with the Time Platform and Time-Sled to try and locate Reed Richards and confirm if he is alive or dead. When Scott explains that he has he has completed his task and they can use the data to hopefully find Reed, much to Sue's elation. As Sue and Namor leave the room to tell the others, Scott briefly considers the idea of pursuing a romance with Sue, but decides against it. Meanwhile, Ben is cleaning up his newspapers, when he comes across an article about Doctor Doom's apparent return from the dead. He rushes out of the room to find the others and tell them about this latest development, unaware that "Doom" is actually Nathaniel Richards posing as the Latverian monarch. While in the medical lab, Lyja watches over the incubator containing the egg she claims is the child she and Johnny have produced. When Johnny interrupts her, she advises him that Skrull physiology is much different than a human's. But Johnny is very positive about the prospect of being a parent, even though Lyja is keeping something away from him. When she hears Sue and Ben calling for them, she breaks off the conversation so they can join the rest of the group.

At that moment in Latveria, Nathaniel Richards' thought imaginer has helped him locate his grandson Franklin Richards on the rooftops of New York City. Nathaniel reaches out to contact his grandson and warns him that the great threat he is coming to face is almost upon them and that Nathaniel's son is the key to his defeat. Franklin tries to tell his grandfather that Reed has apparently died at the hands of Doctor Doom, but Nathaniel cuts off the transmission abruptly. As Franklin laments over his situation, he is mocked by Malice -- his mother's dark side -- which has been trapped in his mind for days. When Malice baits Franklin with the prospect of contacting his supposedly deceased father, Franklin agrees to look into it. Back in Latveria, Nathaniel resumes his Doctor Doom guise and reflects on how poorly he feels for manipulating his grandson, but remarks that the secret being Nathaniel's son was true, although Nathaniel did not specify which son he has been talking about.

Back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, Ben insists that they confirm reports that Doctor Doom is still alive, although Johnny is dead set against it because he feels it is probably a trap. He also points out how they were there when Doom and Reed apparently died. Before Sue can suggest they put it to the vote, the group are suddenly interrupted when an image of Sue -- wearing her original Fantastic Four uniform -- appears ablaze in the middle of the room. This apparition warns those gathered that she saw Ben and Johnny die, that the Fantastic Four died on a quest she led them on. Before they can get answers from this harbinger of doom, the burning Sue Richards apparition vanishes as suddenly as she appeared before them, leaving the Fantastic Four to wonder where it came from. While in the Time/Space Lab, Ant-Man is busy working on preparing the Time-Platform when he is suddenly confronted by Franklin, who activates his Psi-Armor upon being noticed. Hearing Scott cry out, the rest of the group go into the lab and he explains how Franklin attacked him and used the Time-Sled to go after his father to stop what he called the Dark Raider. When Sue believes they have no way of tracking Franklin, Scott points out that the Time-Platform is linked to the Sled and they can track it. Although Sue is insistent that they go right away, Johnny reminds them of the grim premonition they just received and storms off.

Sometime later, Sue retires to her bedroom with Namor where she tries on her new uniform, which is slightly less revealing than her previous one. When Namor asks what prompted the change, Sue tells him that she never really liked her last costume. When Namor tries to talk sense into Sue about going on what may be a suicide mission for her husband, who may be dead, Sue refuses to listen to him. While in the medical lab, Johnny spends time looking on the egg that he believes is his son. Lyja enters the room and scolds him for making excuses on why he doesn't want to go on this mission, and Johnny admits that he is scared about what might happened next, and how he used to think being part of the Fantastic Four was all a game to him until Reed died. When he admits that he doesn't know what he wants anymore, Lyja tells him that he needs to hurry and make up his mind. Back in the lab, Sue is preparing the Time-Platform to try and track down her husband and Franklin. Ant-Man soon joins her, feeling responsible for allowing Franklin to steal the Time-Sled. He is soon joined by Ben, who has decided to go on the mission because he believes nobody ever gets out alive. Johnny also joins them having become ashamed of his previous outburst and coming to realize that his family needs him.

As they activate the Time-Platform to follow after Franklin, the Fantastic Four are unaware that the Watcher is observing their activities. Uatu witnesses as the heroes vanish on the platform and mourns for what will happen to them next. The Fantastic Four materialize in what they quickly recognize as their old headquarters the Baxter Building. When they begin looking around they enter Reed's lab and Sue is shocked to see Reed, alive and well, and working away in the laboratory. Sue rushes to the man she believes is her husband, glad she was right in believing her husband was alive the whole time. As she hugs this Reed Richards, he suddenly pulls her away and begins demanding to know why she is acting so strangely, and about what she has done with her costume and hair. Suddenly, the Fantastic Four are shocked when Reed is joined by younger versions of the Thing, Sue and Johnny, who want to know who these impostors are.


Continuity Notes

  • Uatu's laments over his 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.
  • The statues of the Fantastic Four on display represent the group circa Fantastic Four #3 when they first started wearing costumes. The reason the Thing has a lizard-like appearance in this representation, as opposed to his trademark rock-like appearance, is that he continued to mutate after being exposed to Cosmic Rays in Fantastic Four #1, as explained in Marvel Two-In-One #50. Eventually Ben's form mutated into his rock-form around Fantastic Four #10.
  • The Watcher recounts his first encounter with the Fantastic Four which occurred in Fantastic Four #13. He also recalls how he assisted the group in defeating Galactus, which happened in Fantastic Four #4850.
  • The entire sequence where Ant-Man accidentally unleashes a prehistoric animal in the Four Freedoms Plaza mirrors a similar incident that happened in Fantastic Four #23 where Reed accidentally did the same thing while experimenting with Doom's time-machine.
  • Ant-Man has been hired to work with the Fantastic Four in order to determine if her husband Reed is actually dead and locate him if he is not, as revealed in Fantastic Four #384.
  • The "Doctor Doom" that Ben sees in the newspaper is, of course, Nathaniel Richards. He took over Latveria and has been posing as doom since Fantastic Four #381.
  • Nathan's warnings about the Dark Raider and that his son is the key is a rather cryptic clue that the Raider is an alternate reality version of Reed Richards as revealed in Fantastic Four #392.
  • Malice has been stuck in Franklin's head since he pulled her out of his mother's mind in Fantastic Four #384.
  • As revealed in Fantastic Four #398 the projected image of Susan Richards in this story is a holographic projection created by Nathaniel Richards which he uses to subtly manipulate the Fantastic Four into place for his much larger goals of defeating Hyperstorm. Her dire warnings are actually of the Fantastic Four of Earth-944 who perished battling the Galactus of their native reality, as revealed in Fantastic Four #390391.
  • Sue's comment that she abandoned the look that the apparition had years earlier is a reference to the fact that the Fantastic Four switched from their trademark blue and black costumes (which they started wearing in Fantastic Four #3) in favor of their white on black costumes in Fantastic Four #256.
  • Starting this issue, Sue abandons the revealing costume she was wearing since Fantastic Four #371, which she started wearing after she merged her natural and Malice personalities in Fantastic Four #369.

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