Appearing in "Hereafter: Part 1"
- New York City
- Fairfield County
- Fairfield County
- Latveria (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Hereafter: Part 1"
Six weeks ago.....
When the Thing was possessed by Doctor Doom, Mister Fantastic had no choice but to use a weapon designed to kill his best friend in order to stop Doom's rampage. With a large gaping wound in his chest, the Thing died. Not willing to lose his best friend, Reed tries everything he can to revive Ben, but to no avail. His attempts are interrupted by Nick Fury and his UN squad who put Reed under arrest for the Fantastic Four's attempted coup of Latveria. Reed refuses to give up, but Sue finally gets through to him when she explains to him that he's been trying to revive Ben for an hour.
One week ago....
Reed has locked himself in his lab in the Baxter Building where he has been working around the clock on a formula that can bring Ben back to life. However he is impeded as Ben's will stated that his body was to be turned over to the United States Army. When Reed requested Ben's body, the military rejected this request hoping to learn the scientific secrets of his mutation. Falling asleep, Reed dreams of Doctor Doom in Hell. Just as Doctor Doom begins taking off his mask, Reed wakes up with a solution to problem of restoring Ben to life.
In Fairfield, Connecticuit, the Human Torch has gotten a job working at a mechanics shop. Still grieving over the death of the Thing, Johnny has begun imagining Ben is still there and that he is having conversations with him. He is snapped out of his daydream when his boss berates him for slacking off on the job and complains about the Fantastic Four briefly took over Latveria. Johnny eventually goes back into his daydream world where he burns the auto shop down. The dream version of the Thing tells Johnny that he's not real, Johnny admits he knows this but these dialogues to get through his day. Johnny suddenly gets a call from Sue.
In New York City, Alicia Masters, tries to go through the grieving process by sculpting statue after statue of the Thing. Sue is watching as Alicia cries and tells Johnny how bad things are back home. Even though Sue has been staying with Alicia with the children since they got back from Latveria, she is concerned about Alicia's ability to grieve over Ben and thinks it's not healthy, but she doesn't want to go back home to the Baxter Building yet because Reed has been throwing himself into his work. Sue is also upset that Reed initiation of his plan to restore Latveria without discussing things with the team. When Johnny asks for money, Sue tells him she has nothing to send because their assets are frozen by the government and there are lawsuits are pending from former sponsors who believe the coup of Latveria damaged their reputations. When she explains how the United States is raking the team through the coals to save face in front of the United Nations. As she is saying goodbye to Johnny another call comes in, but she decides to let it to go to voice mail.
The call is from Reed, who has called to tell his wife that he is not going to be hiding anything from the team anymore and how he is going to bring Ben back to life. Later when Sue checks her voice mail she is horrified when hearing this and calls Johnny, telling him to come back to New York immediately. Johnny and Sue soon arrive in Reed's lab where they find that he has rebuilt the device that Doctor Doom invented to try and contact the afterlife. Reed explains that the human mind is just electrical impulses and how energy cannot be destroyed just redistributed. Reed explains that there is a way to find Ben's mind and return it to his body. Much to Sue and Johnny's surprise, Reed reveals that he has stolen Ben's body from the military and it still shows a small spark of light. When Reed tells them that he plans on using the device to travel to Heaven and recover Ben's soul. Sue has ethical issues about this, but both Reed and Johnny believe this is just a new frontier of exploration, like discovering the Negative Zone. With some reservation, Sue agrees to go along with them. Holding Reed's hands while he sits in the control chair. Mister Fantastic then activates the device and they disappear in a flash of light.
- All the trauma caused to the Fantastic Four by Doctor Doom occurred in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #67–70 and Fantastic Four #500. That story ended with Doom being trapped in Hell. The Fantastic Four then tried to liberate Latveria from Fantastic Four #501–Fantastic Four #508 which led to the death of the Thing. Reed's scarred face is eventually healed and Ben resurrected in Fantastic Four #511.
- Sue mentions how Ben and Alicia Masters have not been a couple for a long time. Their relationship has been incredibly complicated:
- They first began dating back in Fantastic Four #9 and dated for approximately six years per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- While the Thing was participating in the Secret Wars, Alicia was kidnapped and replaced by the Skrull known as Lyja took her place, as revealed in Fantastic Four #358 revealed. This happened circa Fantastic Four #265.
- When Lyja took Alicia's place in Fantastic Four #265, and later married Johnny in Fantastic Four #300, Ben eventually got over it and began pursing a relationship with Ms. Marvel, who had joined the ranks in Fantastic Four #307. After Sharon was mutated into a she-thing in Fantastic Four #310 they eventually fell in love with each other in Fantastic Four #317.
- Their relationship became strained when Ben was restored to human form in Fantastic Four #327 leading to Sharon seeking a cure from Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #350. Ironically, Ben mutated himself into the Thing again to try and put them on even ground. Sharon suddenly disappeared following the events of Fantastic Four #354.
- Not long after that, Ben exposed Lyja in Fantastic Four #357 and the Fantastic Four rescued her in Fantastic Four #358. Alicia still believed that she and Ben were still in a relationship, and he did not mention Sharon until she resurfaced and approached Alicia herself in Fantastic Four #365.
- Ben couldn't make up his mind over who he wanted to be with, prompting Alicia to eventually leave him in Fantastic Four #385.
- At the time of this story, per the Sliding Timescale, Ben and Alicia broke up roughly three years prior.
- Reed has recreated the device that Doctor Doom used years ago to try and contact his mother's soul in the after life when he was still in university. This was first depicted in Fantastic Four #5. Some facts about the things Reed states:
- Victor's mother was murdered by the soldiers of Vladimir Fortunov the former ruler of Latveria, as first explained in Fantastic Four Annual #2. Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment #1 and Books of Doom #1 explain that she was put to death due to her use of witchcraft accidentally killing the population of a small village.
- Reed states that Victor's mother's soul was found in Hell. This was first referenced in Astonishing Tales #8.
- Reed states that Doctor Doom probably didn't start searching for his mother's soul in Hell, supposing that everyone would believe their mother would be in Heaven. However Books of Doom #2 shows that Doom actually did go looking for his mother's soul in Hell.