Appearing in "Skull Session"
- 🢐 Franklin Richards 🢒
- 🢐 Alysande Stuart 🢒
- 🢐 Puppy 🢒
- 🢐 Matt Murdock 🢒
- 🢐 Jeryn Hogarth 🢒
- Judge Richard Wolf
- 🢐 She-Hulk 🢒
- 🢐 Bounty 🢒 (Mentioned)
- 🢐 Chris Claremont 🢒
- Salvador Larroca 🢒 (First appearance)
- Carlos Pacheco 🢒 (First appearance)
- Jack McCoy (Mentioned)
- Spider-Man (Photo) (First appearance)
- Rosetta Stone (Photo) (First appearance)
- Doctor Doom (Photo)
- Baroness von Doom (Photo)
- Franklin Richards (Earth-99315) (Mentioned)
- 🢐 Namorita 🢒
- Damage Control (Mentioned)
- Genosha (Mentioned)
- New York City
- Aircraft carrier (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Skull Session"
Mister Fantastic is standing before a judge to testify about an incident happening at the San Diego Comiccon involving the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Represented by both Matt Murdock and Jeryn Hogarth, Hogarth is concerned that Richards testimony could cause them to lose the case. Although the case is all about a brawl that happened at Comiccon between the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, Reed explains that things actually got their start in New York City. He begins to recount his tale following the battle between the Fantastic Four and Absorbing Man and Titania, where the couple managed to enthrall both the Thing and the She-Hulk....
.... With the nanites controlling their allies being scrubbed out of their system, Sue and Johnny talk to Murdock and Hogarth about the legal side of things. The two layers mention how the Hulk's recent activities have made the authorities leery of similar such acts of violence. With Ben and Jennifer facing potential jail time, Jeryn asks to talk to Reed, but Sue tells the lawyer that he is dealing with the family problem. Not far from this discussion, Reed Richards and Alysande Stuart are examining a strange new addition to Pier Four: Valiera von Doom's bedroom. While Alysande wonders if Valeria comes from a possible future or an alternate reality, Reed is certain that her appearance here has some kind of purpose. Reed explains that Valeria come here by accidentally using a "time dancing" technique and believes the story she tells of her future. The conversation takes an upsetting turn when they find a wedding photo of Valeria's mother and father: Sue and Doctor Doom. However seeing Valeria's inventive genius they both wonder if she is some kind of Trojan horse put in place by the Fantastic Four's greatest enemy. However, Reed considers how Franklin once used his powers to create an entire world and wonders if he in turn used them to bring a sister here to cure his loneliness. Elsewhere in the facility, Franklin and Puppy are watching as Valeria uses a device to clean out the mind controlling nanites from Ben's body. As she explains the process to Franklin he wanders over to a window that gives him a view of the harbor underneath Pier Four. There he is surprised to see Johnny's friend Namorita and is shocked when her costume suddenly changes briefly as she waves at him, but it changes back to normal as she swims away. When Franklin turns to tell his sister what he saw he notices that his father saw the same thing as well. Reed is impressed that Valeria has gained access to his lab as well as come up with a solution to their nanite problem. When Franklin tells his father that his "spyglass" is registering a storm coming their way, Reed tells his son he is aware of that as well, but tells his son that they're going to save his uncle Ben and Jennifer first before saving the universe.
With the means of purging the nanites being found at a former subsidiary of Stark-Fujikawa, the Fantastic Four make a trip out to San Diego. While Johnny and Caledonia take Franklin off to see Comiccon, the rest of the team plan to take what they need. Valeria, Sue and Reed break into the Stark-Fujikawa facility. There they manage to break into the computer network they need, but Valiera accidentally sets off a trap that sprays the room with more nanites. Protected by both Sue and Valiera's respective force fields, they manage to teleport away by Puppy with the information they needed. At that moment, Johnny and Alysande are showing Franklin around Comiccon. Johnny is a little leery over actors wearing realistic uniforms. Nor does he like the acronym on their uniforms S.K.U.L.L.: Sinister Kabal for Undermining of Life and Liberty. However he thinks nothing of it until they bump into the Avengers who are there making a live appearance. Johnny notices that the SKULL soldiers are getting tense and that the apparent mock-up of the Awesome Android is the real thing. Suddenly the SKULL soldiers begin spraying the Avengers with their weapons and the Android springs to life.
It turns out that the Avengers, Alysande and Franklin were all sprayed with the mind controlling nanites and given orders to attack people. Unaffected both Johnny and Wonder Man try to contain them until Reed, Sue and Valeria arrive on the scene. While Valeria knocks the Awesome Android into the harbor, Reed tries his counter-measure, freeing the enthralled Avengers from the nanites control. The Fantastic Four follow after the android but are suddenly attacked by what appears to be a SHIELD helicarrier. However they find that the vessel is under the control of the Red Skull and his ally the Mad Thinker. With their plan foiled, the two villains take the Awesome Android and escape in their ship.....
... With his story complete, the judge learns that the heroes were not responsible for their actions at the comic book convention. Knowing that the heroes will be needed to stop menaces like the Red Skull in the future he declares them cleared of all charges and allows them to go free. Thinking to himself, Reed finds the judges words to sound hollow as the Red Skull is a paltry threat to the danger facing the entire universe.
- The FANTASTIC FOUR invade the 1999 San Diego Comic Con! Racing against the clock, the FF must find a cure for the nanite infection that has attacked the THING and guest-star SHE-HULK - which leads them to... a comic book convention?!
- Valeria von Doom is actually an adult version of Valeria Richards the stillborn second child of Reed and Sue. Valeria didn't survive the child birthing process as depicted in Fantastic Four #267. This is revealed in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #49. Franklin ultimately uses his powers to restore Valeria to her newborn state so Sue can give birth to her again in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #50.
- This story features cameo appearances by the Marvel staffers Chris Claremont, Salvador Larroca and Carlos Pacheco. Usually most real life people appearing in comics are considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, Marvel Comics staff are exempt from this rule. On Earth-616 they all exist in the modern age in their relative prime.
- Jeryn Hogarth mentions that the Hulk has "gone rogue" this is a reference to the fact that the Hulk (unknown to everyone) is being manipulated by his foe Tyrannus as seen in Hulk #1–11.
- The "storm" that is coming in reference to the impending threat of the Dreaming Celestial and the return of Doctor Doom as seen next issue.
- Johnny calls Marvel Comics rival "Distinguished Competition" which is the term used whenever someone mentions the DC Comics.