Appearing in "When Everything's Lost, The Battle is Won..."
- The Beast (Nathaniel Richards) (First appearance) (Cameo)
- Immortus (Nathaniel Richards) (Only in flashback)
- Professor Brandt (First appearance)
- Alternate dimensions of Nathaniel Richards (Only in flashback)
- Night Machine (Nikola Tesla)
- Oppenheimer (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Future (First appearance)
- Collapsed Chronopolis
- The Fortress
Synopsis for "When Everything's Lost, The Battle is Won..."
Returning from his visit to his own childhood birthday party , Franklin travels up the timestream, arriving in a featureless landscape. Thanks to his efforts, he now has his reality-warping powers back - much to the relief of his sister and his grandfather, Nathaniel. With his victory, Valeria travels back in time to try to something, and Nathaniel leaves to deal with a long-standing piece of old business. Meanwhile, Franklin decides to use his powers to create a garden pocket reality, as a bolthole for when their missions are complete.
Meanwhile, at State University in the past, Professor Brandt is teaching a class in Ethics. He poses the question, "What is 'right doing'?" A student named Reed suggests that right doing is what is best for all mankind, while another, Victor von Doom, suggests that right doing is whatever will allow oneself to transcend ones limitations. This is clearly a long-standing argument between the two students.
Returning to their dorm, Reed and another student, Ben, are discussing their plans for the weekend... when Nathaniel Richards walks through a hole in time. Overcome with joy at seeing his father, Reed introduces him to Ben. When asked about his appearance, Nathaniel explains...
Years ago, Nathaniel Richards left his family so that he could engage in secretive work for the Brotherhood of the Shield. This work led to him facing a madman with a quantum device. In defusing the device, Nathaniel was dragged into the far future of Earth-616 and landed in a field. This changed him, granting him superhuman longevity and an ability to move himself in time. However, it also dragged every other alternate version of Nathaniel Richards to the same field, and similarly empowered them.
This incurred the ire of Immortus, who polices space/time for the Auditors and their shadowy masters, the Time Variance Authority. He presented the alternative Nathaniels with a sadistic choice - kill each other so that only one remains, or be all slaughtered. Thus began the Great Hunt.
Nathaniel tried to avoid the Great Hunt by hiding out of Earth-6311. But now the number of his alternates has been cut down to just himself and one other. He came to Reed to say goodbye, and he came while Reed was in college because he didn't want to tempt his son's older self into trying to help him. However, Reed and Ben are determined to help - and they know another they can call on.
With armaments which Victor von Doom had been building in secret, the four men set out...
Meanwhile, in the present, Valeria arrives at the Baxter Building. Invisible Woman tries to trap her, but once Valeria reveals her identity, the two sit down to some tea.
In the far future, Nathaniel, Reed, Been and Victor arrive at the counterpart's stronghold, Collapsed Chronopolis. Victor notes that while the place is a fascinating concept, in its current form it is merely unnerving.
The quartet make their way to the stronghold at the centre of the city. There, they find the counterpart... and the Great Hunt can end at last.
The first of a two-part story featuring the return of Nathaniel Richards. Follow us as he jumps through time back to the college years of Reed, Ben and Victor Von Doom and recruits them for an impossible mission in the future.
- As Franklin travels through time, he sees a few quotes from the near future: "So, we have a deal?" from Fantastic Four #583, "You don't wish it any more than I do," and "Here, I can build." All seem to relate to the upcoming "Three" storyline in some way.
- The events in the past take place prior to Doom's face getting scarred in an experiment gone wrong, as first seen in Fantastic Four #5.
- The scene in which Nathaniel Richards is sent through time by Night Machine occurred in S.H.I.E.L.D. #2.