Appearing in "Where Lurks Death... Ride the Four Horsemen!"
- Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (First appearance)
Races and Species:
- Axi-Tun (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Where Lurks Death... Ride the Four Horsemen!"
After centuries away from the planet Earth, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have returned to wreak havoc on the planet once more. Pestilence attacks New York City, bringing the attention of the Fantastic Four, who confront the winged creature. Pestilence explains that they ruled over the Earth centuries past until they were driven away by some unknown force. After attacking Ben, the Thing marshals up all his strength and hits Pestilence as hard as he can, making the creature disappear. Reed rallies everyone together to go searching for the other three horsemen, Reed and Ben taking one part of the Fantasticar and Johnny and Medusa taking the other.
Johnny and Medusa end up in a war-torn country in Africa where the local combatants turn their firepower upon the two heroes, shooting them out of the sky. Johnny and Medusa are quickly overpowered and taken prisoner by an army of black rebel fighters. Medusa frees them with her hair and they fight off the army. They are confronted by War, who injures Medusa. In a fit of rage, Johnny attacks and overpowers War. When he takes off the creature's mask, he finds that the "true face" of War is humanity, before War disappears just as Pestilence did earlier.
Reed and Ben find themselves in Cambodia where Famine is starving everyone there to death. Reed forces one man under Famine's influence to eat before the two heroes attack Famine directly. Reed wraps his body around Famine, and eventually, Famine is defeated like the other two horsemen. The FF then reunite to take on Death on the peaks of Mount Everest. Death splits off into death-faced versions of the FF and takes them all on one-on-one. The battle ends in a victory for the FF who manage to defeat all their opponents, Death disappearing as well after the battle. The whole episode has Ben upset because the whole time they were fighting he never got the chance to shout "It's Clobberin' Time!"
Appearing in "The Hate-Monger!"
- The Fantastic Four
- Hate-Monger (Adolf Hitler) (First appearance)
- Spider-Man (Photo)
- United States of America
- South America
- San Gusto (First appearance)
- Hate-Monger's Hate-Ray
Synopsis for "The Hate-Monger!"
The Fantastic Four are enjoying some downtime when suddenly their base begins to shake out of control. Johnny, Reed, and Sue discover the source is the Thing who is going full strength on his punching bag after reading news reports regarding the Hate-Monger, a cowled rabble-rouser who has been using hate speech to incite xenophobia among the citizens of New York City. Reed tries to calm Ben down by telling him that bigots usually get what they deserve. Not long after, while the FF are out on the town, they come across one of the Hate-Monger's rallies where the Hate-Monger works up the crowd into such a frenzy that they attack a man due to his ethnicity. When the Thing intervenes to disperse the mob, the Hate-Monger pulls out his Hate-Ray and uses it on the team. The effects are instant and the Fantastic Four begin to squabble among each other. Pushed by their artificially induced hatred, the Fantastic Four eventually decide to break up, as each member comes to believe that they are better than the others, much to the pleasure of the Hate-Monger.
Reed Richards returns to the Baxter Building to find that security is fighting with a man in the lobby who is trying to gain access to the Fantastic Four's headquarters. Reed is surprised to find that it is Nick Fury, wartime hero,[Continuity 1] an agent of the CIA,[Continuity 2] and a colleague from his military days.[Continuity 3] After briefly reminiscing of the past, Fury tells of civil unrest and rioting in the South American nation of San Gusto, a country that is important to American interests and asks for the Fantastic Four's help in quelling the violence. Fury is surprised to hear that the Fantastic Four have broken up and decides to stay behind as Richards goes off to San Gusto alone. When the Pogo Plane lifts off from the Baxter Building, it is seen by the Thing, Johnny and Sue, who decide to go back to their headquarters to see what is going on. There they find Nick Fury, who plays on the trio's jealousy of each other to convince them to go to San Gusto as well. The trio and Fury all leave in the passenger ICBM that is launched from the roof of the Baxter Building.
Unknown to them all, the Hate-Monger is responsible for the unrest in San Gusto and has since relocated there via a sub-surface missile. While the Hate-Monger begins preparing weapons for his armies, Reed Richards is doing his best to destroy weapons caches across the country. However while on his mission, Richards is knocked out by a gas attack and is taken prisoner. The Hate-Monger shows his master plan, that from San Gusto he can utilize a massive Hate-Ray weapon that bounces off the moon to hit a target anywhere on Earth. Before the Hate-Monger can do more, Nick Fury ambushes him. Caught off guard, the Hate-Monger is forced to give over the antidote for his Hate-Ray. While Fury is busy administering the cure to Reed, their foe and his minions manage to escape. While Reed tracks down his errant teammates and administers the cure for them, Nick Fury follows the Hate-Monger to pin him and his men down before they could operate their global Hate-Ray. In the ensuing battle, the Invisible Girl uses her powers to get close to the Hate-Monger. When he tries to use his Hate-Ray, Sue ruins his aim, causing the ray to hit his two bodyguards. The guards then turn their weapons on the Hate-Monger, gunning him down. With their enemy dead, Nick Fury unmasks him and they are all shocked to see that their foe was apparently Adolf Hitler, the former Nazi dictator.[Continuity 4] With the Hate-Monger destroyed, the Fantastic Four return home.
- The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are identified as members of the Axi-Tun race in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #5 in the alien races section that lists all the humanoid alien races.
- The the real names of the Four Horsemen were identified in FF: Fifty Fantastic Years #1. Who banished them in the distant past is still a mystery to this day.
- Ben mentions Johnny having a hard time losing his girlfriend Crystal. The pair dated between Fantastic Four #65–105 when Crystal was forced to return home to Attilan due to the pollution in the outside world becoming lethal. While she was away she met and fell in love with Quicksilver and chose him over Johnny as seen in Fantastic Four #131–132. Crystal and Quicksilver got married in Fantastic Four #150.
- A number of the locations in this story are chosen because at the time of this publication there were ongoing conflicts or crisis going on in those regions that were current at the time this story was published in 1974. These should be considered topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Any reference to the Fantastic Four being active in said conflicts or topical references should be generalized when put into the context of the Sliding Timescale. These are:
- Johnny and Medusa's trip to Africa is a commentary on the then ongoing South African Border War which lasted from 1966 to 1989.
- Reed and Ben's trip to Cambodia references the damage caused to the country as the result of the Vietnam War which lasted from 1955-1975. Cambodia was subject to bombings by the United States from 1969 to 1973 among other upheavals caused by the war in Vietnam.
- In "Where Lurks Death... Rides the Four Horsemen!" plot by Conway and Wolfman, script by Wolfman.
Links and References
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