Appearing in "Distant Music"
- Franklin Richards
- Valeria Richards
- Stephen Crane (Unnamed) (First appearance)
- Nick Fury (Secretly a LMD)
- Michael Onoffon (Only appearance)
- Bill Gates (Only appearance) (Topical Reference)
- Galactus (Only in flashback)
- Doctor Doom (Only in flashback)
- Zius (Only in flashback)
- Modulus (Only in flashback)
- Wizard (Only in flashback)
- New York City
- San Francisco
- Air Force Base
Synopsis for "Distant Music"
Reed Richards has been watching the same world for five years and it's progress has been all too familiar to that of the human race: savage barbarism led by a period of enlightenment and advancement, followed by war and eventually planet wide self-annihilation. The leaves Reed to ponder if this is the fate for humanity or if there is something he might be able to do to stop it. His thoughts are interrupted by Sue who is telling him that supper is ready. Sue also reminds him that they are meeting with their accountant Mr. Onoffon, something that Reed has been avoiding because he finds their accountant boring. Sue asks Reed if he's okay because he's appeared lost of late, he tells her not to worry it's just a passing mood. However he pauses so he can hold his wife and watch the sunset from a balcony off the Baxter Building before joining the others.
During the meeting with their accountant, Mr. Onoffon mentions how the Fantastic Four are in rough financial shape after the government confiscated their accounts and took control of some of Reed's patents and that they are being audited by the IRS. However, Onoffon notes that the Thing's financial situation is looking very good. This comes to a shock to Ben as they all learn that he has been collecting his share of Fantastic Four Inc from the gross income and that his assets remained untouched by the government because they were not under the Power of Attorney of Reed Richards, like those of Sue and Johnny. When Ben asks Reed why he didn't mention it to him before, Reed explains that he has been busy. When Ben asks the accountant how much money he has, he is shocked by the total value he has saved away. Ben begins to rejoice and cheer about his surprise windfall when suddenly the beans and hot dogs he ate for supper take their toll and he farts. Ben then quickly makes a rush to the washroom before he has an accident, leaving Franklin and Valeria to complain about the smell.
Later that day, Nick Fury pays a visit to Reed to offer him the opportunity to get the Fantastic Four back on their feet. Fury tells Reed that some government scientists are looking to get him to join their project as a consultant. Fury then explains that Reed just needs to listen to their offer and he can choose if he is going to take the job or not. Knowing that Fury won't lie to him, Reed decides to accept the job. However when Fury goes to the copy room to run off a copy of the contract, he catches the Thing photocopying his butt and decides to get a copy done down the street instead. That evening Reed tells Sue about the job he has taken and how it will be great to improve the team's funding. Before they go to bed, Reed puts on a CD that plays music from the world he watched destroy itself earlier that day.
The following day in Silicon Valley, a wealthy software developer receives an express envelope. Opening it, the developer finds a photocopy of the Thing's butt, but mistakes it for a photo of the grand canyon. Meanwhile, Reed Richards is being flown to the secret military base in a plane disguised to look like a commercial airliner. They soon touch down on the cloaked militatry base. There Reed meets with the lead scientist who tells him that the government have spent years examining the accident that created the Fantastic Four and have noted that the type of cosmic ray storm that gave them their powers is a recurring event that happens at random intervals. With yet another cosmic ray storm fast approaching, he explains that they are trying to replicate the very incident that created the Fantastic Four so that they can bombard soldiers and turn them into super-humans as well.
- Mention is made of the Fantastic Four's failed coup of Latveria and how the government took froze the teams assets. This happened in Fantastic Four #501–508.
- The man who appears to be Nick Fury here is actually a Life Model Decoy which SHIELD has been using since Fury defected in Secret War #5.
- The appearance of Bill Gates in this story should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- The lead scientist mentions a number of cosmic ray storms similar to the one that created the Fantastic Four back in Fantastic Four #1. There have been many and they are as follows:
- In Fantastic Four #13 when Red Ghost and the Super-Apes were bombarded by cosmic rays.
- A similar storm mutated the U-Foes in Incredible Hulk #254.
- Another storm further mutated the Thing and Ms. Marvel in Fantastic Four #309.
- The Russian super-heroes known as the Bogatyri were transformed in Avengers: West Coast #87.
- A similar storm affected members of the X-Men in X-Men / Fantastic Four #2.
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