Appearing in "Cataclysm!"
- Tempus (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Cataclysm!"
While in orbit above the Earth testing out a new space shuttle for NASA, the Fantastic Four witnesses a bright flash of light that envelops the entire planet. This causes Ben to be blinded and they crash land back on Earth. However, they find that the entire planet has regressed into a prehistoric jungle. They are confronted by the Watcher who explains that someone had accessed Dr. Doom's time machine within the Baxter Building and altered history in such ways that it caused all of humanity to never develop into the society it's in today. The FF agree to being sent back in time to prevent these things from happening.
The Watcher sends Reed and Johnny back in time to the days of the Revolutionary War, disguising themselves as locals from that era, the two quickly learn where history changed in this reality: George Washington has been captured by the British army, and the Americans are at risk of winning the war. Attacking the British military base, Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch easily free Washington from his prison. After getting Washington to safety, they learn that he was captured due to the appearance of a man who appeared in a bright flash of light. This event spooked his horse enough to buck him off and be captured by the British. With Washington free, Reed and Johnny are transported out of that time, leaving Washington to resume his proper role in history.
Medusa and Thing are transported to the 1930's prior to the depression, where Ben is amazed to find that he's been changed back into his human form. Stealing some clothing, they begin to look for point where history has changed. They find it in a speak-easy where they find Willy Lumpkin, the FF's mailman sitting with some gangsters. Realizing that Willy may tell them about the financial future of the world during this time and thereby give organized crime another edge during the depression, Ben and Medusa grab Lumpkin and run. The mobsters chase after them as Ben steals a car and tries to drive away. However he crashes the vehicle, but then changes back into the Thing and makes short work of the mobsters tailing them. With Willy secure, the trio are transported out of that point in history.
The FF and Willy are not returned to their own time however, they are brought to the timeless realm of Tempus. Tempus tells them all he had manipulated events in the hopes that all the time paradoxes created by Willy would cause all reality to crumble apart and thus end his millennial long existence. Desiring to destroy the Fantastic Four, they find that Tempus' control over time can cause them to rapidly age. However, they manage to defeat him by tripping him up causing him to shatter. Soon after the world of Tempus crumbles as well, however the Fantastic Four and Willy are transported back to their own time, everything seemingly restored back to normal. The Watcher then erases Willy's memories of the whole situation before departing.
Appearing in "The Fantastic Four Versus the Red Ghost and His Indescribable Super-Apes!"
- Watcher (First appearance)
- Red Ghost (First appearance)
- Super-Apes (First appearance)
- United States of America
- Russia, Soviet Union (Topical reference)
- The Moon
- Atmo-Web (First appearance)
- Freeze Gun (The Red Ghost)
- Paralysis Ray (Mister Fantastic)
- Tunguska Event (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "The Fantastic Four Versus the Red Ghost and His Indescribable Super-Apes!"
After an experiment on a strange meteor fragment, Reed Richards wants to take a rocket to the Blue Area of the Moon where it came from. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union, a Russian scientist named Ivan Kragoff completes his training of three apes who will pilot his own rocket mission to the moon.[Continuity 1] As the Fantastic Four are blasting off so is Kragoff and his apes. Seeking to duplicate the accident that gave the Fantastic Four their powers, Kragoff had designed his ship to be transparent so that he and his apes would be exposed to an even greater dose of cosmic rays.
Although they are spotted by the passing Fantastic Four, Kragoff's attempt worked. Gifted with the power of intangibility, Kragoff rechristened himself the Red Ghost. While his now "Super-Apes" gained powers as well, Igor the baboon became a shape-shifter, Piotr the orangutan gained control of magnetism, while Miklho the gorilla gained enhanced strength. When the Fantastic Four finally land on the moon they discover the ruins of an ancient civilization in its mysterious "Blue Area" as well as a strange citadel off in the distance.[Continuity 2] The group then splits up to explore. While out searching, the Thing is attacked by the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes.
However, the fight is abruptly stopped by an alien calling himself the Watcher, who incapacitates the Super-Apes with his vast cosmic powers. The Watcher explains that his race of people has been charged with watching other alien races but have a vow to never interfere.[Continuity 3] Having come to consider the human race to be nothing more than savages fighting over their petty territorial disputes, the Watcher orders them not to bring their war to his home and dispatches the Fantastic Four, Red Ghost and his Super-Apes back to the ruined city where they could fight to the finish so that the Watcher could determine which of them came from a superior country.
There the Red Ghost and his apes attack the Fantastic Four and take the Invisible Girl prisoner. Reed and the others then begin searching the ruins for her. Meanwhile, Sue realizes that the Red Ghost has control over the apes by withholding food from them. While the Red Ghost was out fighting her teammates, Sue freed herself by offering to give the Super-Apes food. Overpowered the Red Ghost sought to seek refuge in the Watcher's citadel, only to be buffeted through time and dimensions before being ejected. The Red Ghost was then incapacitated by Mr. Fantastic who was able to fashion a paralyzation ray. With the Red Ghost defeated, the Watcher reappears before the Fantastic Four and congratulates them on their victory and tells them that their country is the superior one and so long as it strives for peace it will have a place in the limitless universe. As the Fantastic Four prepare to leave for Earth, the Red Ghost is freed by his Super-Apes, who have come to get revenge against their former master. In the end Reed decides they should leave the Red Ghost to his fate and they leave the moon in their rocket.
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #4 gave universe designations to the different alternate realities caused in this issue. Earth-74082 is the index number for the primordial world that the Fantastic Four find themselves at the beginning of this story; Earth-74820 is the world where George Washington is executed by the British Army in 1777; and Earth-82074 is the reality where the mob take advantage of the stock market crash in 1928.
- The crux of the trouble stems from Willie Lumpkin walking onto Doctor Doom's time platform. Some facts about this time platform:
- This is the time platform that Doctor Doom used against the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #5, Reed confiscated it for the FF's use as first seen in Fantastic Four #19.
- The footnote states that Doctor Doom "borrowed" it once or two from the Fantastic Four after they confiscated it. This is a reference to Avengers Annual #2/Avengers #56, and Marvel Super-Heroes #20, which depict the time-platform as being in Doctor Doom's castle in upstate New York. This is actually an inaccuracy, as Fantastic Four Annual #11 clarifies that Reed didn't take Doom's original time machine, only duplicated it.
- Here are some facts about the Watcher in this issue:
- The Watcher mentions that he is forbidden to interfere in the actions of others due to a solemn vow of non-interference. This was due to the fact that the last time the Watchers got involved in the lives of other races it led to the Prosilican race annihilating itself, as seen in Tales of Suspense #53 and expanded upon in Original Sin #0.
- It is however referenced how the Watcher had assisted the Fantastic Four in the past. This story specifically references when the Watcher helped the Fantastic Four defeat Galactus in Fantastic Four #48-50.
- Reed and Johnny are sent back in time to the fall of 1777 during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Washington's capture and execution during this period would have had an impact on the War in that he would not have been present during the Battles of Saratoga which the American revolutionaries won, and is viewed as a major turning point in the war.
- George Washington's history on Earth-616 mirrors that of his real world counterpart. However, there are events that occur in the Marvel Universe that is unique to that version of George Washington.
- Ben and Medusa are sent to Chicago circa 1928 during the American Prohibition which saw alcohol outlawed between the years 1920-1933. Chicago was the center of a lot of mob activity during this period, notably, it was the turf of two warring mobs run by Bugs Moran and Al Capone. They arrive a year before the Great Depression, which was a global economic depression that lasted from 1929 to 1937 when World War II erupted. It started with the collapse US stock market crash on October 29, 1929.
- The last time the Thing was reverted back to human form was during a fleeting moment with his battle against Thundra in Fantastic Four #133.
- It is later revealed that Tempus is an agent of the time-traveler known as Immortus as seen in Thor #282, that story states that the "modern day" Immortus, while Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #3 states that Tempus was created by the future version of Immortus and sent back in time to assist his younger self. Tempus does not die here and next appears in Avengers: West Coast #62 where Immortus uses him to battle Avengers West Coast.
- ↑ This issue was published in 1963 during the height of the Cold War and the Space Race as per Earth-616's Sliding Timscale, all Cold War era references should be considered topical, particularly references to the Fantastic Four being the first humans to land on the Moon, and the Red Ghost coming from the USSR.
- ↑ Avengers #133-134 reveals that the Blue Area of the Moon was constructed 10 million years ago by the alien race known as the Kree when they were in competition with the Cotati to construct a city that could please the Skrulls who were looking to ally themselves with whoever won the contest. When the Cotati won, the Kree slew both the Cotati and the Skrulls on the moon, launching the opening salvo of the centuries-long Kree-Skrull War. The Blue Area was abandoned not long thereafter.
- ↑ The Watcher is forbidden to interfere in the actions of others due to a solemn vow of non-interference. This was due to the fact that the last time the Watchers got involved in the lives of other races it led to the Prosilican race annihilating itself, as seen in Tales of Suspense #53 and expanded upon in Original Sin #0.
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