Appearing in "Marooned"
- Fantastic Four
- Martha (Mentioned)
- Annihilus (Mentioned)
- Iron Man (Tony Stark) (Mentioned)
- Hank Pym (Mentioned)
- Captain America (Steve Rogers) (Mentioned)
- Onslaught (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Negative Zone
- Pilgrims Rock
- Pandora (Main story and flashback)
Synopsis for "Marooned"
After receiving a call to action the Human Torch returns to the Baxter Building to find that the rest of the Fantastic Four have ventured into the Negative Zone without him. Using the computers he tries to scan for life signs of his teammates but finds nothing. Even Noah Baxter is unable to help because Reed has kept his Negative Zone technology on a need-to-know basis. Left to his own devices, Johnny breaks down because this is a problem that only Reed could solve and unfortunately for Johnny, he is not the Fantastic Four's genius leader....
Meanwhile the three other members of the Fantastic Four are stranded on some alien world in the middle of the Negative Zone. There they have discovered an ancient sailing ship the S.S. Pandroa. Reed recognizes it as a 15th century Spanish Galleon style ship and they all wonder what it could be doing on some distant world in another dimension. The Fantastic Four then begin examining the ship, with Ben resuming his human form in order to help with the search and maintain a low profile. As they look around they find that it is authentic but incredibly old and petrified. They soon peak outside to the other side of the ship and see an impossible site: a number of 15th century pilgrims performing a funeral service. When the Fantastic Four accidentally reveal their presence, the pilgrim's patriarch -- an elderly blind man -- orders his people to attack the intruders. The Fantastic Four are shocked to discover that instead of flintlocks and muskets, these pilgrims are carrying rifles adapted from Negative Zone technology and are forced to defend themselves. While the pilgrims has an advantage in numbers they are no match for the Fantastic Four's super-human abilities, especially when Ben transforms back into the Thing. With the pilgrims fought to a standstill, Reed smooths things over and proves that they are not witches or demons by snatching the Seer's Bible and reading a passage from the Gospel of Luke. When the Fantastic Four apologize for their intrusion on their funeral the pilgrims welcome them into their community.
Elsewhere in the Negative Zone, the Trapster and his warriors in the Gideon Trust's N-Explorers wipe out an entire alien civilization in order to secure their energy resources. Back at what these pilgrims call Pilgrim's Rock the Fantastic Four are shown the place in which the pilgrims live. Their leader informs them how centuries ago their ancestors were sailing the Pandora across the Atlantic to restart in the New World. One day their ship was swept in a whirlpool that was also a portal into the Negative Zone. They have spent the centuries fighting Annihilus -- whom they view as the literal Biblical Devil. Reed finds this discovery fascinating because up until this point they believed that up until his discovery of the Negative Zone, he had been the only one to traverse into it. When Reed talks about the potential dangers involved in traveling between dimensions, Ben gets into a sour mood when they talk about taking the proper precautions, alluding to the fact that it was Reed's lack of precaution that caused his transformation into the Thing, and storms off. Let to his own devices, Ben realizes that he was being too harsh on Reed -- transforming back into his Thing form -- he knows things are looking better for him now since he first became the Thing. His thoughts are soon interrupted by the arrival of the children of Pilgrim's Rock, who are curious about Ben. When he is about to show them how he can transform back-and-forth between his human and Thing forms, he is suddenly attacked by the Pilgrim's greatest warriors, Hellscout, who had been out on a hunt and is unaware that the Thing is an ally. The two come to blows until Reed, Sue and the elders come and break up the fight. With the fight over the Hellscout is most impressed with the Thing's strength.
Back in New York City, the Human Torch meets with Spider-Man at the Statue of Liberty, his last line trying to get help finding his teammates. When Johnny fears that they might be dead, Spider-Man reminds him how many other times the Fantastic Four went missing only to turn up alive and well. When Johnny asks the Wall-Crawler if he ever lost family before, Spider-Man suddenly has lost his appetite and tosses his burger and fries off the top of the Statue. At that moment in the Negative Zone, the N-Explorers begin transporting their stolen materials back to the Gideon Trust on Earth. The transport across barriers is seen in the sky over Pilgrim Rock, and Reed instantly realizes the danger that could result in such untested means of transporting materials between worlds. The Fantastic Four prepare to head out and stop whoever is responsible. The Hellscout offers his services to fight by their side. Back on Earth the material transfer brings the stolen materials to a Gideon Trust oil rig out in the Atlantic Ocean, killing thousands of fish. As the Gideon Trust reports a successful transfer and that there was "nothing wrong" they are full unaware that they are being watched by the Sub-Mariner who is furious at their wanton destruction of his domain.
- Reed first discovered the Negative Zone in Fantastic Four #51, he has kept a tight lid on the technology needed to travel there until he was forced to sell some of his patents in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #35.
- Noah Baxter helped Reed rebuild the Baxter Building in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #38. The original building, which the Fantastic Four first started using as their headquarters in Fantastic Four #3 was destroyed by Kristoff Vernard back in Fantastic Four #278.
- The Thing regained the ability to change back and forth between his human and Thing formsin Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #39. He maintains this ability until Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #58.
- Some facts about Johnny and Spider-Man's conversation:
- The Statue of Liberty is the Torch and Spider-Man's regular meeting place. They started this practice years ago in Strange Tales Annual #2
- Johnny states that Henry Pym, Iron Man and Captain America are out of town. At the time of this story all three members were on a mission to Greece with their fellow Avengers to contain an entire population of Hulks, as seen in Avengers (Vol. 3) #40.
- Johnny and Spider-Man talk about how they go "way back" and have not always been friends. The pair first met back in Amazing Spider-Man #1 and initially were rivals with each other.
- Spider-Man mentions two instances where the Fantastic Four disappeared and were believed dead only to return again:
- He mentions the more recent Onslaught crisis when the Fantastic Four and Avengers seemingly sacrificed their lives to stop Onslaught in Onslaught Marvel Universe #1. In reality, the Fantastic Four and their allies were transported to Counter-Earth a duplicate Earth in a pocket dimension created by Reed and Sue's son Franklin where they lived reborn lives as seen in Fantastic Four (Vol. 2) #1–13. The Fantastic Four and their allies were eventually returned home in Heroes Reborn: The Return #1–4.
- He also mentions the earlier Secret Wars where many heroes, including most of the Fantastic Four were kidnapped by the Beyonder to participate in a battle against villains on Battleworld. This occurred in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1–12.
- Johnny asks Spider-Man if he has ever lost a family member. This causes Spider-Man to lose his appetite. There are two reasons for this at the time of the story:
- First and foremost, the death of Spider-Man's Uncle Ben many years ago in Amazing Fantasy #15. This death was caused by Spider-Man's past inaction to stop a crook and the guilt has been his motivating drive for being a hero.
- Also at this time, Spider-Man believes his long time partner Mary Jane Watson is dead. She was seemingly killed in a plane explosion in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #13. In reality her death was faked and she was the prisoner of a deranged stalker. She will be discovered alive and well in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #29.