- Still... a man-made city raised from deep within the earth, run by super-genius devolved monsters... You don't see that every day.
Appearing in "Part 1: The Abandoned City of the High Evolutionary"
- Franklin Richards
- Valeria Richards
- New York City
- Aeolus's Cave
Synopsis for "Part 1: The Abandoned City of the High Evolutionary"
Outside the Baxter Building, three Moloids emerge from a manhole in the middle of the street. No sooner are they on the surface is one of them run down by a truck. The others remove his head and take it with them before scurrying into the Fantastic Four's headquarters. No sooner than they are in, the alarm goes off alerting the Fantastic Four of their presence. When the Fantastic Four get into the lobby, the Moloids tell them that they are bringing a message from their master the Mole Man. Suddenly, the Mole Man and a massive creature burst through the floor. The Mole Man tells his oldest foes that there is peril in his domain and he has come seeking out their aid.
In the Fantastic Four's headquarters, the Mole Man and his Moloids explain that their kingdom is threatened by the Future City. They explain that it was created by the High Evolutionary and created a Darwin bubble around it to hyper-evolve everything within the city. Once completed, the Evolutionary planned to raise it to the surface. However, the machine failed and it instead devolved those who lived within the city confines and was abandoned. It was later found by the Moloids who were evolved into something similar to man. Since then Moloids have been drawn to the site, threatening to eliminate the Mole Man's kingdom. The Moloids who have accompanied them were briefly affected by the Future City and made intelligent. As the bodiless Moloid head explains that their newfound intelligence has made them outcasts among the others, Franklin and Valeria construct a device that will allow the severed head to fly about. When Johnny asks why they should help the Mole Man out, their oldest foe explains that the evolved Moloids are planning to raise the city from the ground.
Soon the Fantastic Four and the Mole Man are traveling into Subterrantea through Aeolus' Cave. Along the way they come across the spot where Reed buried the corpse of the Galactus from the future. Along the way, the Thing questions the Mole Man's motives. However, the Mole Man explains that the Moloids who have evolved in the Future City have children who are intelligent but look like their former selves and are sent out of the City causing a humanitarian crisis. Soon they descend deeper into the caverns until they come to the gates of the Future City. Reed notices that they have arrived too late as they are already raising the city. Needing action, the Thing leaps out and onto a parapet. There he is transformed by the Evolutionary Engines of the future city, giving Ben a simian-like form. They demand that they tell him where the children are. Getting the location, the Thing breaks deep into the ground and recovers the last remaining intelligent Moloids from the city. Ben pulls them into the ship and they rush back to the surface just as the Future City erupts to the surface. As the Fantastic Four try to make sense of the situation, Reed realizes that there is a lot of work ahead of them.
Over time, the Thing returns to normal. The United States tries to establish a treaty with the Future City but they break down and a border is constructed to prevent travel. Meanwhile, the Moloid children rescued by the Fantastic Four show no sign of losing their intelligence.
Kicking off the world-spanning new adventures of the Fantastic Four, this is part one of the Prime Elements arc: The Hidden City of the High Evolutionary!
Featuring the return of the Mole Man, the architecture of the underworld, and the smartest Moloid you'll ever meet.
- This story is reprinted in Fantastic Four: Jonathan Hickman Vol. 2.
- This is previewed in Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse - Executioner Vol 1 3.
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