- Oh, please. I know when my film's been flammed, okay? You think you're masters of subterfuge? I deal with Skrulls. A little credit here...
- -- Johnny Storm
Appearing in "Small Stuff... Part 1"
Synopsis for "Small Stuff... Part 1"
Ben is in the kitchen of the Baxter Building where he catches an insectile creature that followed them back to Earth from the Leviaverse. While chasing the creature across the building, he attracts the attention of Sue and Reed who remind Ben where the creature came from, but their attempts to capture it fail as it manages to slip away into the ventilation system.
Elsewhere in the city the Human Torch and Jian Feeta are on their way to seal the deal on licensing Unstable Molecules to fashion designer Jacob Suarti. After struggling with traffic, Johnny uses the Fantastic Four's parking privilages to park on the side of the road so he can fly himself and Jian the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Christi Stoger and Ethan Crane are enacting their plan that they hope will see Johnny fired as Chief Financial Officer of Fantastic Four, Inc and get promoted. Having orchistrated Johnny's sale of Unstable Molecules, Stoger and Crane then contact Sue to inform her of this deal. Sue is outraged and shocked when Reed confirms that he gave the Unstable Molecule formula to Johnny to license out. When Reed washes his hands of the situation -- since putting Johnny in charge of the company -- Sue tells Christi to stall Johnny until she gets there, but Stoger pretends that her cellular signal is cutting out. This puts Sue into a panic and she quickly rushes out of the Baxter Building to try and stop her brother.
With Sue out of their hair, Reed can now focus on their infestation problem and he is going to use Ben to track down the creature and capture it. When Ben points out he is too big to fit in the ventilation system, Reed suggests that they are going to use the old shrink ray, much to Ben's reservations because the device is so old. When Reed reminds Ben about the recente attack on the children he tells Ben that the creature could be responsible. This convinces Ben to bite the bullet and use the shrink ray. Reen then shrinks Ben down just enough so he can fit into the ventilation system and hunt down the creature.
While at the meeting with Jacob Suarti, Johnny gives a demonstration of Unstable Molecules by showing how his flame powers don't harm it. Johnny explains that they are only licensing out the Molecules for use and that Suarti will never know the secret. Johnny hopes that it can be use to make uniforms for firefighters and policemen, a great public relations move. With the deal over, Johnny appears to leave, interested only in getting some food while Suarti storms off to get to work. This all appears to be going according to Stoger and Crane's plans. Back in his lab, Suarti orders his scientists to find a way to reverse engineer the Unstable Molecules so he can learn their secrets and make a fortune. As Reed and Ben try to contain the creature, with much difficulty, Suarti and his scientists begin getting closer to what they think is the secret to Unstable Molecules. However when they zoom in on one of the molecules, Suarti notices something written on it. Examining it closer he is surprised to find it says "If you can read this you have just violated our contract." Suddenly the fabric comes to life and restrains Suarti. That's when Johnny and Jian enter the room and reveal that they were onto Stoger and Crane's plot the whole time and orchistrated events so that Suarti would violate their contract and maintain the secret of the Unstable Molecules. Johnny then explains that no only are Unstable Molecules very expensive, but also potentially dangerous.
No sooner do they hear this that a group of scientist enter the room in a panic as a stolen sample of Unstable Molecules has just gone haywire. Johnny and Jian enter the lab and notice that they were experimenting on his wallet, stolen from the party at Suarti's place earlier. The molecules in the wallet have become increasingly instable and begins bonding to everything, threatening to consume the building and everyone inside.
- The insect is a stow away from the Leviaverse which the Fantastic Four visited back in Fantastic Four Vol 3 #60.
- The "universal parking pass" that Johnny uses identifies Michael Bloomberg as the mayor of New York City. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, particularly since Bloomberg ceased being the mayor of New York in 2014, this reference will still become dated.
- Reed mentions the attack on his children, this happened in Fantastic Four Vol 3 #61. This is not the work of the creature from the Leviaverse but Doctor Doom as revealed in Fantastic Four Vol 3 #67-70 and Fantastic Four #500.
- The shrink ray used here by Reed is the same one that was developed by Doctor Doom while posing as Reed way back in Fantastic Four #10.
- Johnny's wallet was stolen back in Fantastic Four Vol 3 #62.
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