- You want to buy Pier Four with all the machinery, inventions and miscellaneous material it contains? That's your deal?
Appearing in "Shadows in the Mirror!"
- Code: Blue
- Billie Lumpkin
- The Deacons (Only in flashback)
- Alicia Masters (Mentioned)
- Gregory Gideon (Mentioned)
- Thunderbolts (Mentioned)
- Iceman (Mentioned)
- Doctor Strange (Mentioned)
- New York City
- Spain (Only in flashback)
- Transylvania (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Shadows in the Mirror!"
The Thing is scuffling with the Human Torch over a magazine that features Johnny's announcement that he is pursuing a career in acting. While the Thing is just playing around, Johnny is serious and ends up accidentally burning the magazine instead. Suddenly there is a knock at the door and they answer it. It turns out to be their mail person, Billie Lumpkin. Uncharacteristically quiet she delivers a packed to the two, leaving them to wonder what it could be. Johnny notices how Ben is reluctant to open the package and wonders if this has anything to do with the letter he received in the mail from Alicia Masters, a letter he kept unopened. Johnny opens the package anyway and is surprised to find a strange mirror within. In the middle of mocking Ben about his appearance, Johnny is suddenly ambushed by tiny demons who pass through the mirrors reflective surface. As Ben tries to pull Johnny free, the Torch flames on as human hands reach out from within the mirror and grab his throat. Suddenly, the being choking out Johnny emerges fully from the mirror revealing him to be the Fantastic Four's long time foe, Diablo the Alchemist!
Meanwhile in Hell's Kitchen at the offices of Nelson and Murdock, the Fantastic Four's lawyers Foggy Nelson and Jeryn Hogarth and holding a meeting between Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman and the Gideon Trust. The Gideon Trust is a company that maintains the holdings of the Fantastic Four's long deceased former foe, Gregory Gideon. With the Fantastic Four in a financial pinch, the Gideon Trust has come to purchase many of the patents to Reed's inventions. Foggy has his misgivings about the Gideon Trust given their past dealing with Genosha as well as various European states that are presently at war. However, regardless of their questionable ethics, the Fantastic Four are just barely struggling to pay off various loans and Reed has no other choice to negotiate a deal. However before Reed can sign the contract, Foggy snatches it out of his hands and reminds Reed that Fantastic Four Incorporated is jointly owned by both Reed and Sue and in order for the contract to be finalized both of the Richards need to sign it, putting Sue in a very precarious position.
Back at Pier Four, both the Thing and the Human Torch struggle against Diablo, whose powers have been greatly increased thanks to the demonic forces at his command. For added protection Diablo then summons two of his Elementals: Air and Earth, who easily defeat the two members of the Fantastic Four. With the pair strung up by the demons, Diablo then administers his golden Ignis Aqua formula that puts both Ben and Johnny under his control. While in Hell's Kitchen, Sue has decided to sign the contract as well leaving an uncertain future for the Fantastic Four. After Jeryn and the Gideon Trust members leave, the couple confer with Foggy when they are suddenly attacked by the Water and Fire Elementals. Getting Foggy to safety, the Richards couple then utilize their powers to use Fire and Water against each other. They then rush to Pier Four where another Water elemental has enveloped their headquarters. Reed and Sue see that Code: Blue is on the scene and confer with Lt. Stone about what has been happening. Stone tells them that he arrested a strange woman who tries to sneak onto the scene.
They are surprised to find the girl wearing a monks robe. Questioning her, they learn that she is Blanca del Hierro the last surviving member of the Deacons, an ancient order that were responsible for the imprisonment of Diablo centuries earlier. She convinces the two members of the Fantastic Four that she can help them defeat Diablo. Deciding to give her a chance, the couple then breach the water around their headquarters with Sue's force fields. Not far from the scene of the chaos are the members of the Gideon Trust. They are satisfied that their deal with the Fantastic Four will soon be closed and nothing can stop them or their plans. As if in defiance of that statement, Pier Four suddenly explodes.
The cosmic quartet goes toe-to-toe with one of their oldest and most deadly foes, the master of matter manipulation known as Diablo! Even though they're up to their necks in trouble, trust us when we say the Fantastic Four have never looked better!
- The Thing's unwillingness to open the letter from Alicia Masters is due to their long standing history together. The pair had been a couple starting in Fantastic Four #9 but things got really complicated:
- After being together for years, Ben decided to stay on the Beyonder's Battleworld at the end of the Secret Wars to sort out his feelings with Alicia in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12.
- Meanwhile, Alicia was kidnapped by the Skrulls and replaced by Lyja as explained in Fantastic Four #358 circa Fantastic Four #265.
- When the Thing returned to Earth in Fantastic Four #277, "Alicia" was in a relationship with Johnny. When Johnny and "Alicia" got married in Fantastic Four #300, Ben moved on and eventually began dating Ms. Marvel in Fantastic Four #317.
- Things got rocky when Ms. Marvel got cured by Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #350 and began spying on the Fantastic Four and Lyja's exposure and Alicia's subsequent rescue in Fantastic Four #358. Ben's romance with Marvel ending in Fantastic Four #375 and the Puppet Master's subsequent failed attempts to get Ben and Alicia to get back together in Fantastic Four #393
- When Ben next saw Alicia, circa Fantastic Four Vol 3 #4 she was in a relationship with the Silver Surfer. However their romance came to an end after the Surfer returned to space at the end of Galactus the Devourer #6.
- The Gideon Trust is responsible for the financial holdings of the late Gergory Gideon. He was a brief foe of the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #34. He later died of radiation poisoning in Fantastic Four #135.
- The Gideon Trust mentions a few things that have had a negative impact on the Fantastic Four's financial holdings:
- The Fantastic Four's apparent death at the hands of Onslaught in Onslaught Marvel Universe #1. In reality they were transported to Counter-Earth by Reed and Sue's son Franklin as seen in Fantastic Four Vol 2 #1-13. They were returned to their proper world in Heroes Reborn: The Return #1-4.
- The loss of the Four Freedoms Plaza: The Fantastic Four's former headquarters was commandeered by the Thunderbolts in Thunderbolts #3 when the Fantastic Four were believed to be dead. The base was seriously damaged when the Thunderbolts were exposed as members of the Masters of Evil in Thunderbolts #10. Its ruins were later transported to the Blue Area of the Moon in Fantastic Four Vol 3 #13.
- Lastly, the Fantastic Four's recent "alliance" with Doctor Doom. In reality, Reed was trapped in Doctor Doom's armor in Fantastic Four Vol 3 #25 and was forced to portray their greatest foes to keep his Generals from Counter-Earth in line. Ultimately Reed was freed in Fantastic Four Vol 3 #31.
- This story expands on Diablo's origins first established in Fantastic Four #30 by mentioning how the Deacons were responsible for hunting Diablo for centuries. The Fantastic Four's first encounter with Diablo was in that issue and is also mentioned in this city.
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