Appearing in "In Search of Doom!"
- Nathaniel Richards
- Human Torch
- Kristoff Vernard (Shadow only)
- Boris (Shadow only) (Secretly Zarrko in disguise)
- Thing (Earth-534834) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- Human Torch (Earth-534834) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
- New York City
- Himalayan Mountains
- Monastery of Doom
- Himalayan Mountains
- Earth-534834 (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only)
Synopsis for "In Search of Doom!"
In the nation of Latveria, the people are led to believe that their ruler Doctor Doom is alive, little suspecting that the man striding before them is actually a Doombot controlled by Nathaniel Richards, who has taken over Latveria following Doom's apparent demise. The Invisible Woman has come here since the break up of the Fantastic Four in search of her husband Reed Richards, who has gone missing. She demands that her father-in-law explain why he is keeping up the illusion that Doctor Doom is still alive. Nathaniel explains that he is doing it to keep Latveria's enemies at bay, stating that he has a personal interest in the fate of this country. He then tells Sue to get ready to retrieve his son, when Sue ask's which son he is referring to -- Reed or Kristoff -- Nathaniel says it is not important. Sue puts up an invisible force field in his way and demands that Nathaniel explain himself. When the Servo-Guards come to Nathaniel's defense, Sue easily destroys them. Nathaniel stands down, and Sue begins demanding answers, including the truth about Nathaniel's claim that Kristoff is his biological son as well. Nathaniel jests that if she doesn't like that story, he could just as easily craft another tale. Nathaniel points out that while Sue is seeking out her missing and presumed dead husband, Nathaniel's goals are more loftier. He then reminds her that since his credibility is in question, she has no choice but tag along for the ride if she wishes to learn the final fate of Reed Richards. Sue resigns to this reality, but secretly thinks to herself to be on guard, and take advantage of any situation where Nathaniel may underestimate her.
Meanwhile in New York City at the Four Freedoms Plaza, the Thing comes rushing into the entertainment room when he hears Scott Lang screaming. Instead of an emergency, Ben realizes that Ant-Man has been watching the latest Fantastic Four animated series and is mocking the quality of the program. Ben is less than impressed by this mockery and responds by smashing the television set. While Lang is trying to calm Ben down, suddenly the burning apparition of Sue appears again. However the burning effigy of their former teammate has no words to say this time and disappears as quickly as it appeared. Elsewhere in a secret citadel far away, the Watcher observes the Thing and Ant-Man from his monitors. A shadowy figure appears before him and mocks the Watcher for trying to fool the Fantastic Four, and how they only grow suspicious now. When the Watcher mulls over the idea of being challenged by the Fantastic Four, he remarks that such an event will lead to the destruction of the group.
The following day in Latveria, Sue is preparing the Time-Sled for the next step in her journey when she is joined by Nathaniel who is coming along. With the Time-Sled ready to go, they teleport away. Trying to get a hold of Sue, Ben and Scott are tracking the location of the Time-Sled in New York. They then detect when Sue uses the device and track her to her location, intend on using the Time-Platform to follow after her. Meanwhile, the Time-Sled materializes in the mountains of Tibet. When Nathaniel continues to be cryptic about their mission here, Sue begins to argue with him. Suddenly they are attacked by an army of monks armed with plasma cannons who have come to defend the Monastery of Doom. As Sue and Nathaniel begin to defend themselves from the monks, Sue realizes that they have come to the temple of the secret order of monks that once taught Doctor Doom the dark arts. While Sue is distracted with their foes, Nathaniel breaks off from the fight and runs toward the opening of a nearby cave. When Sue realizes what's going on, she tries to go after her father-in-law only for the monks to regroup and resume their attack.
Half a world away, Johnny is still in Oklahoma at the archaeological dig, he is happy to be free from the Fantastic Four and enjoying being out, thinking it was a great idea for his friend Bridget O'Neil to invite him along. Spotting the mysterious blonde named Laura Green, Johnny flies down and flames off to talk to her. Unaware that this woman is secretly his ex-wife Lyja in disguise, Johnny tires to sweet talk her when suddenly the apparition of Sue appears before him as well. Just like with Ben and Scott, it says nothing and quickly vanishes. Realizing there must be some kind of emergency, Johnny flames on and flies away. Once he is out of sight, "Laura Green" gets a ride to the airport so she can follow after her estranged husband.
Back in Tibet, Sue has made short work of the monks outside and has entered the cave. There she is attacked by a massive man with an axe. He is blindfolded and has honed his other senses so that Sue's ability to turn invisible is useless to him. However Sue utilizes her invisible force field to toss her attacker about the room until he is knocked out cold. Sue then continues on through the monastery and comes across some sophisticated machinery which run to two stasis pods containing two bodies inside. Suspecting they must be Doctor Doom and her husband, Sue wonders which one is the right pod to free Reed. Before she can activate the machinery, she is blasted from behind by Nathaniel, knocking her out. Nathaniel, talking to himself, explains that he wishes to spare her the terrible consequences that her actions would have carried out, and then activates the release mechanisms for the stasis pods.
- The Fantastic Four broke up in Fantastic Four #392 to pursue their own individual interests. The group reforms next issue.
- Nathaniel Richards took over Latveria in Fantastic Four #381 after the seeming demise of Mister Fantastic and Doctor Doom. In reality, Reed and Doom are prisoners of Hyperstorm as revealed in Fantastic Four #406–407.
- Nathaniel made the claim that Kristoff Vernard is his son during last issue. These claims are never substantiated.
- Scott Lang is watching the 1994 Fantastic Four animated series which aired for two seasons, ending in 1995. As explained in Fantastic Four #10, the Fantastic Four license out their adventures for adaptation. This is not the first time the Fantastic Four have mentioned a cartoon being based upon them, they also mentioned the 1978 animated series in Fantastic Four #209. Incidentally, the 1994 cartoon exists in its own reality, indexed Earth-534834.
- The burning apparition of Sue first appeared in Fantastic Four #387. Our heroes last saw it in Fantastic Four #392. 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.
- This is not really Uatu the Watcher but actually Aron the Rogue Watcher in disguise, as revealed in Fantastic Four #398, his shadowed companion is revealed as the Dark Raider in next issue.
- The Tibetan monastery seen here is the same secret order of monks who trained Doctor Doom in the dark arts and created his armor, as first seen in Fantastic Four Annual #2.
- Lyja has been spying on her ex-husband Johnny as "Laura Green" since Fantastic Four #393. Johnny rejected Lyja in Fantastic Four #390–392 after she revealed that their "child" that she claimed to have been carrying since Fantastic Four #358 was actually a Sha'Barri assassin implanted by Paibok.
- As revealed next issue, the stasis pods contain Kristoff (who has been recovering from near fatal injuries in Fantastic Four #352) and who appears to be Doom's long time servant Boris. In reality, this is Zarrko the Tomorrow Man, who is an agent of Hyperstorm, as revealed in Fantastic Four #409.
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