Appearing in "Past Deceptions and Future Lies!"
- Raphael Suarez
- Psi-Lord (Possessed by Malice )
- Warlord Kargul
- Black Panther
- Silver Surfer (Only in flashback) (First appearance)
- Skrulls (Only in flashback)
- Paibok (Only in flashback)
- General Kalamari (Only in flashback)
- Alicia Masters (Only in flashback)
- Mister Fantastic (Only in flashback)
- Franklin Richards (Only in flashback)
- She-Hulk (Only in flashback)
- Wyatt Wingfoot (Only in flashback)
- Nathaniel Richards (Only in flashback)
- Watcher (Only in flashback) (First appearance)
- Fantastic Four (Only in flashback) (First appearance)
- Devos (Only in flashback)
- Castle Kargul
- Organic Power Receiver (Only in flashback)
- Worldship (Only in flashback)
- Destructor-class Cruiser (Only in flashback)
- War World (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Past Deceptions and Future Lies!"
With a dire warning that the future will lead to lead to the destruction of the Fantastic Four, the Watcher recounts the Fantastic Four's first encounter with Galactus to the Invisible Woman and Thing, while Ant-Man and the Sub-Mariner are in suspended animation on some possible future world. The Watcher explains how on that world the thanks to his own interference, the Watcher was able to assist the Fantastic Four in defeating Galactus, but he tells the two heroes that on at least one world, he failed.
Meanwhile, back on modern day Earth within the Four Freedoms Plaza, Johnny Storm has just been informed that the egg that his ex-wife Lyja gave birth to is not his child. Uninterested in the plight of Raphael Suarez -- a young man now endowed with Lyja's lost laser powers -- Johnny demands answers from Lyja as to the truth about her baby. Lyja recounts how she was selected by Paibok and General Kalamari to be their agent to infiltrate the ranks of the Fantastic Four by taking the place of Alicia Masters. How in this guise she eventually married the Human Torch, but when the truth was revealed she assisted the Fantastic Four on a rescue mission to save the real Alicia Masters from the Skrulls. During that battle, Lyja was seemingly slain in battle against the Skrulls, but her former lover Paibok rescued her before the Skrul War-World could self destruct....
... As Lyja continues her story in the present, Franklin and Huntara have traveled to Elsewhen where they have sought an audience with Warlord Kargul, where they report to him about the menace of the Dark Raider, who has been systematically killing every Reed Richards in the multiverse. When Franklin asks for Kargul's help, the warlord recalls how the youth was brought to him years ago by his grandfather Nathaniel Richards, and how his technicians created the psycho-armor that Franklin now wears to control his powers. They, along with Huntara were trained in the psi-arts while Nathaniel was allowed to view things through the Warlord's Viewing Pool to witness the sacred time streams. Suddenly, Nathaniel disappeared, leaving Huntara and Franklin as the only defenders of the timelines. Kargul then tells them that he is aware of the Dark Raider, and his presence in the timestream is nothing compared to the damage being done by their true foe: Nathaniel Richards.
Back in the alternate future, the Watcher continues his tale, he explains that on this world his counterpart appeared before the Fantastic Four just as Galactus was constructing his energy converter atop of the Baxter Building. He explains that in this reality, instead of choosing Johnny Storm to collect the weapon needed to stop Galactus, he sent Reed Richards instead, and this proved to be a grave error....
.... While in the modern era, Lyja continues her story: She explains that after she and Paibok were rescued by Devos, she was healed in a stasis pod where Paibok also implanted an organic power receiver that allowed her to utilize her laser powers. At this Raphael interrupts supposing that this is the device that has now endowed him with powers of his own. Johnny cuts him off so Lyja can get to the truth: telling him the origins of the egg she has given birth to. Lyja finally corrects him, telling Johnny that it is not a child but an artificial construct. Fed up of all the double speak, Johnny begins to lose his temper having become fed up of having his emotions toyed with by Lyja a second time. When Lyja professes her love for Johnny, he storms out of the room telling her that he is through being hurt by her.
... The Watcher continues telling his tale, saying that in this reality after selecting Reed Richards and giving him the means of teleporting to the Worldship of Galactus is where the problems occurred. Unlike Johnny, who was intuitively drawn to the Ultimate Nullifier, Reed's scientific curiosity became incredibly distracted with the plethora of devices and wasted much time testing and scrutinizing the various devices within the ship. Because Reed Richards couldn't focus on the task at hand, he took too long and the Earth was consumed, extinguishing almost all life on the planet. Sue suddenly thinks everything is starting to make sense, believing that this answers the mystery of the strange burning apparition of herself they saw earlier warning them of impending doom. However, the Thing is not convinced, even when the Watcher continues to explain the destruction of this alternate Earth in greater detail. However the Watcher insists to the Thing that the greatest secret has yet to be revealed.
While back in the present, Johnny lashes out at the current news but he is interrupted by an incoming call form the Black Panther in Wakanda. When T'Challa states that he is reporting to see how the reconstruction of the Four Freedoms Plaza is going, as well as to ask the group for a helping hand. Still enraged by the recent news, Johnny tells T'Challa that they have bigger concerns, telling the Panther that if he needs help to go to the Avengers. Johnny suddenly terminates the connection, leaving T'Challa and his aid to puzzle out what to do with a young man they call Vibraxis. T'Challa decides that if the Fantastic Four are unwilling to help now, he might seek out someone else. Back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, Johnny realizes that he has been acting like a jerk to T'Challa and is about to call him back when suddenly he hears Lyja scream.
Back at Castle Kargul, Franklin and Huntara are shocked by Kargul's admission to knowing about the Dark Raider and that he is asking them to destroy Franklin's grandfather. Kargul points out that Nathaniel is the true enemy for trying to preserve a timeline that the fates have deemed abandoned. However, Franklin refuses to comply with Kargul's demands and intends to stop the Dark Raider. Insulted by this insubordination, Kargul orders his guards to incarcerate Franklin. Franklin begins fighting back, and seeing that her nephew is outnumbered, Huntara decides to betray Kargul to help the youth out. With the two working together they manage to break free from the guards and make their escape....
.. At that moment in the alternate future, the Watcher concludes his tale, telling Ben and Sue that after the Earth was nearly annihilated, the statue of the Fantastic Four was erected to remind the survivors of who was responsible for the destruction of their world. Horrified by this revelation, Sue and Ben ask the Watcher if there is anything they can do to prevent this from happening. After explaining the necessary risks, the Watcher agrees to help them. With the wave of his hand, suddenly Ant-Man and the Sub-Mariner are teleported away, followed by Sue and Ben. Back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, Johnny rushes back to the lab where Lyja is horrified to see that the egg she birthed is beginning to hatch. Before she can explain to Johnny the danger that is about to emerge, he too is teleported away. He appears before Sue and Ben and demands answers when suddenly they are blasted aside. Recovering from the blow, they realize that they are on the roof of the Baxter Building with Galactus looming over them, demanding to know who dares disturb his work.
- The cover of this issue pays homage to Fantastic Four #48
- The "Watcher" recounts the Fantastic Four's first battle with Galactus which originally took place from Fantastic Four #48–50. In the Earth-616 universe, the Watcher assisted the Fantastic Four in defeating Galactus by assisting them in obtaining the Ultimate Nullifier which forced Galactus to flee the Earth.
- This is not actually the Watcher, but Aron the Rogue Watcher in disguise, as revealed in Fantastic Four #398. Here he is trying to convince them the reality they are on (Earth-38694) is the future of the world where Galactus kills the Fantastic Four (Earth-944). Astute readers might note that this is impossible given that on Earth-944 was decimated before while the Fantastic Four were headquartered at the Baxter Building, while Earth-389694 depicts the ruins of the Four Freedoms Plaza. The Baxter Building was the Fantastic Four's original headquarters from Fantastic Four #3 until it was destroyed by Kristoff Vernard in Fantastic Four #278. Between the Fantastic Four's first battle with Galactus and the destruction of the Baxter Building was 4 years of Marvel Time.
- 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.
- The exterior of the Four Freedoms Plaza is under repairs because it was damaged by a gamma bomb in Infinity War #2/Fantastic Four #367. Repairs began in Fantastic Four #385.
- Lyja's flashback in this story covers the following:
- Her selection and training to replace Alicia Masters, originally seen in Fantastic Four #358.
- Lyja glosses over the events that led to her replacing Alicia Masters. The "cosmic adventure" the Fantastic Four were on were the Secret Wars which took place in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1–Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12. During that event, the Thing decided to stay on Battleworld because he could change back and forth from his human and Thing forms. Lyja took Alicia's place during the events of Fantastic Four #265; because the Thing did not return with the others (as explained in Fantastic Four #358) Lyja pursed a romance with Johnny.
- She recounts her wedding with Johnny Storm which occurred in Fantastic Four #300.
- Lyja was exposed in Fantastic Four #357 and she assisted in the rescue mission and seemingly died in Fantastic Four #358.
- The experimentation on Lyja took place after she and Paibok were rescued by Devos in Fantastic Four #369.
- Suarez came to the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #389 for help in understanding his powers, which he received from the Organic Power Receiver that gave Lyja her lasers. It was removed from her by the doctors assisting with the birth of her egg in Fantastic Four #386.
- Suarez errs when he says that his interacting with the egg gave him his power; he only helped to defend it in Fantastic Four #389 with the laserfist powers he already possessed. Given his embarrassment over being present at the paternity dispute between Johnny and Lyja over the egg, Suarez's attempt to change the subject and quickly leave is understandable.
- The teenage Franklin seen here was delivered to the modern age by Nathaniel Richards from Earth-6311 to replace his Earth-616 counterpart. This occurred 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 believes that his mission was to stop the Dark Raider from destroying the Fantastic Four as explained in Fantastic Four #387, however this is part of a larger scheme to stop Hyperstorm that is not realized until Fantastic Four #414.
- Huntara states that she is the sister of Reed Richards here. However this claim has been called into question in Fantastic Force #8 when Paul Alvarez claims that she is his long lost sister. These claims have not been substantiated.
- Sue mentions the premonition the Fantastic Four received recently warning them the whole team will die. This was in the visitation of a burning version of Sue Richards in Fantastic Four #387. 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.
- The Black Panther mentions the financial assistance he provided to the Fantastic Four. After Johnny accidentally set fire to Empire State University in Fantastic Four #371, the Fantastic Four brokered a deal to repair the damages and gave the university Reed's patents (as seen in Fantastic Four #375) leaving the group in a financial lurch. T'Challa provided financial assistance to the Fantastic Four to repair their headquarters in Fantastic Four #385.
- Vibraxas is a Wakandan youth with seismic powers, he does not appear until next issue. His origins are revealed in Fantastic Force #14.