Appearing in "Deadly is the Dark Raider"
- Dark Raider (First appearance)
- Fantastic Four
- Avengers (Only appearance)
- Jane Foster (Only appearance)
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Deadly is the Dark Raider"
The Fantastic Four have ventured through time and space in the search for any proof that their former leader, Reed Richards, is still alive. Having thought they succeeded, the group finds themselves face to face with an earlier incarnation of the Fantastic Four from the past. With the past version of the Thing thinking the modern day Fantastic Four to be impostors, he tries to start a fight, but that era's Mister Fantastic restrains him in order to ensure cooler heads prevail. With a potential brawl averted, Sue confirms what this era's Reed has suspected: that her team of Fantastic Four come from the future and that they are seeking out a dangerous individual that has come back to this era. The younger Human Torch and Thing are not easily sold on this notion, thinking that they are facing impostors trying to spring a trap, leaving both of their older selves to wonder if they actually acted this way earlier in their careers. Reed tells his fiance the Invisible Girl to fetch some refereshments for their guesses, something that the younger Sue Storm does grudgingly, wondering what her husband sees in the "hussy" that has intruded upon them.
At that moment the teenage Franklin Richards approaches the Baxter Building, surprised by how new it looks and uses his powers to bypass the security to upstairs. There, Ant-Man watches as both Things and both Human Torches test their powers against each other, and can't help but feel like a fifth wheel. As both versions of Ben are about to come to blows, Franklin almost stumbles into the room but stops short of being seen. Needing to talk to his father uninterrupted, Franklin then uses his mental powers to make the modern age Ben look like a Skrull to his younger self. Convinced that he was right all along, and that these future Fantastic Four are impostors, the past Thing attacks his future self. When their fight spills into the room where the two Torches are practicing, the fight expands. Seeing the growing chaos, Ant-Man then tries to use his helmet to contact the surrounding ants to help in the battle. This has repercussions because Ant-Man's distress call is picked up by the cybernetic helmet of this era's Henry Pym. Suspecting an impostor is posing as his former alter-ego, Pym decides to put a call out to his fellow Avengers. First a all is made to the office of Donald Blake, who after dismissing his nurse Jane Foster, agrees to help and changes into the mighty Thor. While at Stark Industries, owner Tony Stark also agrees to investigate and chances into the invincible Iron Man. Pym and his girlfriend Janet Van Dyne then change into Giant-Man and the Wasp, and after shrinking down to ant-size, they launch themselves toward the Baxter Building with their launching tubes, hitching a ride aboard some flying ants along the way.
Back at the Baxter Building, Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Girl try to stop the Invisible Woman, but prove no match for the future Sue Richards' more enhanced abilities. The fight between the trio is suddenly stopped when Franklin enters the room. When Sue tells Franklin that they can help save him from Malice, her evil dark side takes control of Franklin, who then psi-blasts his mother. Before he can continue his attack, Franklin is subdued by Mister Fantastic, but even he is forced to pause when Franklin reveals that he is Reed's future son. However before the conversation can go any further, the Dark Raider suddenly teleports in the middle of the room, determined to carry out his mission of destruction. As Psi-Lord preps his armor to battle his foe, outside both Things and both Human Torches continue to battle it out. The younger Johnny's flame dies out and he begins to fall. Before his future self can catch him, he's blasted aside and the younger Torch is rescued instead by Iron Man. Meanwhile, the younger Thing is suddenly covered in biting ants, courtesy of Ant-Man. But suddenly he's ganged up on by the Wasp, Giant-Man and his ants which have suddenly taken on the more seasoned hero's side. As the older Torch makes his way back to the Baxter Building, his flame is also snuffed out by rain summoned by Thor, but this leaves him open for an attack by the future Thing.
While down below, the battle rages on against the Dark Raider who is no match for the heroes that outnumber him. With his Psi-Armor forcibly shunted back to sub-space, Franklin then sends out a telepathic distress call to the heroes battling it out on the roof. As both Sues, Reed and Franklin surround the Dark Rider, he informs them that his goal is to destroy ever Reed Richards in the multiverse. Suddenly, the other heroes come crashing in through the wall to face their real foe. While the others are distracted, the Dark Raider takes this opportunity to fire a fatal blast at Reed. Seeing this the Invisible Girl tries to get in the way, but all she succeeds in doing is killing them both. With his mission completed, the Dark Raider teleports away. In the aftermath of the battle, the younger Johnny Storm mourns over the loss of his sister. Wondering how the Dark Raider was able to negate his armor, Franklin decides to talk to his grandfather about their foe and slinks away from the others.
Meanwhile the future Fantastic Four decide that it's time to go and teleport away in the Time Platform. They are observed by the Watcher who observes that the Dark Raider succeeded in his task. Recalling the premonition that they group received, the Watcher laments that all he can do is watch, instead of act.
- The Watcher seen here is not Uatu, but Aron the Rogue Watcher in disguise, as revealed in Fantastic Four #398.
- The Dark Raider's costume is based off of that worn by the Super Skrull when he posed as the Invincible Man in Fantastic Four #32. This guise was also worn by Mister Fantastic in Fantastic Four #196 and Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #287.
- Although stated as being their past, the Fantastic Four have actually visited the alternate reality of Earth-49487. It was indexed in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #3. Analogous with the early days of Earth-616 history, the placement of this story can be attributed as happening prior to Fantastic Four #22 and Avengers #3. This can be ascertained by the following facts:
- The Invisible Girl cannot create invisible force fields in this story, as skill that Sue didn't master until Fantastic Four #22.
- The Avengers featured here do not have the Hulk (who quit in Avengers #2) or Captain America (who joined in Avengers #4) among their ranks. Since Henry Pym is Giant-Man and Iron Man is still wearing his original armor this places these events before Avengers #3.
- The Thing's face is scarred here after he was slashed in the face by Wolverine in Fantastic Four #374. His face scars heal in Fantastic Four #409.
- Franklin is a teenaged counterpart of the Franklin-616 that comes from Earth-6311. The two were swapped by Nathaniel Richards in Fantastic Four #376. Although everyone reacts as though this is Earth-616's Franklin all grown up, the young Franklin is returned in Fantastic Four #413. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #14 confirms that they are separate entities.
- Franklin marvels over the FF's original headquarters the Baxter Building, which they occupied since Fantastic Four #3 until it was destroyed by Kristoff Vernard in Fantastic Four #278.
- Franklin tricks the younger Ben Grimm into thinking his older self is really a Skrull impostor. Which works because a Skrull once posted as the Thing back in Fantastic Four #2.
- The reason Ant-Man's distress call alerts this era's Henry Pym, is because the Ant-Man equipment was first invented by Pym back in Tales to Astonish #35. He acted as Ant-Man until he upgraded himself into Giant-Man in Tales to Astonish #49. Years later Scott Lang stole the Ant-Man armor to rescue his daughter Cassie and was allowed by Pym to keep the armor, as seen in Marvel Premiere #47.
- Thor is depicted as having the alter ego of Donald Blake in this story. As first revealed in Thor #159, Odin trapped his son Thor in the body of Donald Blake to teach him humility. As Blake he pursued a love interest with his nurse Jane Foster as early as Journey into Mystery #84.
- Iron Man is wearing his original armor first designed in Tales of Suspense #39 and worn until Tales of Suspense #48.
- Giant-Man and the Wasp use the catapult that Pym started using in Tales to Astonish #36.
- Mention is made to the fact that Franklin has been possessed by Malice, Sue's dark side. Some facts:
- Malice was the product of the Hate-Monger's emotional tampering in Fantastic Four #280.
- Usually submerged in Sue's mind, Sue merged with her Malice persona during the Infinity War in Fantastic Four #369.
- Later, Malice transferred herself into Franklin's mind when he and Sue fought in Fantastic Four #384.
- The era this story takes place in is prior to Reed and Sue's wedding in Fantastic Four Annual #3 and subsequent birth of Franklin in Fantastic Four Annual #6.
- The reason the Dark Raider is setting out to kill the Reed Richards of every reality is because he failed to destroy the Galactus of his reality, blaming himself for the death of his teammates, he set to kill every version of himself across the multiverse. This was revealed in Fantastic Four #390-392.
- This comic features a tribute to Jack Kirby, who died on February 6, 1994.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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