Appearing in "The Heart of Darkness"
- Fantastic Four
- Fantasti-Car (First appearance)
Synopsis for "The Heart of Darkness"
In the nation of Wakanda, Africa, an exploratory force led by M'Tomba has been dispatched to investigate a strange object that fell out of the sky. Unfortunately the entire team, including M'Tomba, has been wiped out.
A world away in New York City, Johnny Storm is in a toy store when he is suddenly accosted by a group of young teenage girls forcing him to flee. As he runs down the street he notices the FF signal and flames on and flies off to the Baxter Building. Johnny is spied on by a strange man who decides to follow him to the Baxter Building as well. In the Soho district, the Thing is being driven around as he searches in vein to find Alicia Masters or her studio. When he thinks he spots her, he smashes out of his transport and greets the woman. He soon learns the mistake and finds out that the woman is nothing more than a Fantastic Four groupie. When Ben notices the signal he charges off toward the Baxter Building as well.
When Johnny arrives at the Baxter Building he finds Sue on the roof waiting for him. Sue is surprised to find that Johnny is wearing a red variation of his uniform. He points out that it is a marketing ploy for a new line of Fantastic Four action figures, a costume variation means one more toy that can be made. They are called down into Reed's lab, there Reed advises them that he has completed a full analysis of their condition since they got their powers. He points out that even though they got their powers very recently they've been using them as though they've always had them, but Reed has no answers at to why. He tells them though that the anomaly that they encountered in space has crash landed in the nation of Wakanda and that since their prince T'Challa is an old friend of the Storm family, Reed and Sue are seeking a private audience there. When Ben asks if he and Johnny can come along, Reed tells them to stay behind and tells Ben that Alicia Masters had called and asked him out on a date. As Reed and Sue rocket off in the newly built Fanasticar to Wakanda, Ben worries over what to do for his date with Johnny mocking him. The two are suddenly alerted when the alarm goes off and they find someone has broken into the Baxter Building.
Arriving in Wakanda, Sue and Reed meet with T'Challa who agrees to take them out into the wilderness to find the crash site that they seek to find. In order to better travel, T'Challa changes into the Black Panther and leads them into the bush. That night as Reed and Sue retire for the evening they have a romantic interlude. The next morning they continue their search and come across strange lizards. They are then attacked by dinosaur like creatures when a bomb is dropped. Sue only manages to protect Reed and herself with an invisible force field however the Black Panther survives the explosion as well. Spying a plane near the crash site they notice that Wyatt Wingfoot is overseeing the operation. Deciding to go investigate further they set off a trap sealing a metallic box around them and jolting them with a neuron disruptor.
The awaken sometime later to find themselves captive in the nation of Latviera and that they are in the castle of Dr. Doom. Doom appears before them and advises them that they will never leave Latveria alive.
This story is continued next issue...
- As becomes evidence in Heroes Reborn: The Return #1-4 this world is exists in a pocket universe created by Franklin Richards to save the lives of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers after they sacrificed their lives to stop Onslaught during Onslaught Marvel Universe #1. While the members of the Fantastic Four, the Black Panther and Doctor Doom come from Earth-616, all the other characters in this story are creations of Franklin's imagination.
- This story is a reimagining of the event of Fantastic Four #52 when the Fantastic Four first met the Black Panther.
- The man in disguise here is Wyatt Wingfoot, and the man posing as him in Wakanda is revealed as Kl'rt the Skrull, as well as the being captured being revealed as the Silver Surfer are all revealed during next issue.
- When Reed talks about how they gained their powers (in Fantastic Four Vol 2 #1) he remarks how they intuitively knew how to use their powers as though they were already familiar with them. Following the events of Onslaught Marvel Universe #1 the natives of Earth-616 existing on Counter-Earth have no recollection of their past lives. They regain these memories in Heroes Reborn: The Return #4. At the time of this story, the Fantastic Four have had roughly 9 years experience with their powers, per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616.
- Reed and Sue's romantic interlude leads to Sue discovering that she is pregnant in Fantastic Four Vol 2 #11. However this plot thread is abandoned when the Fantastic Four and the other characters involved in the Heroes Reborn event are brought back to Earth-616 in Heroes Reborn: The Return #4.
- Regular cover by Jim Lee
- Variant "Christmas" cover by Whilce Portacio
- The name of the toy store that Johnny is hanging out in is called Toy-Biz. Toy-Biz was the name of the toy manufacturer that created Marvel brand toys (primarily action figures) based on various Marvel properties in the 1990s. The company later rebranded themselves as "Marvel Toys" in the late 90s. In 2007 Marvel signed an exclusive licensing deal with Hasbro to make Marvel action figures, without their flagship franchise to support the company, Marvel Toys went out of business in 2008.
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