Appearing in "Partners in Deception!"
- They Who Wield Power
- Fantastic Four (Recap)
- Moloids (Recap)
- Tyrannoids (Recap)
- Nova (Recap)
- Figures of
- Merlin (Mentioned)
- Mole Man (Mentioned)
- Cobalt Fire Pit
- Sight Crystals
- Absorbing Man's Ball and Chain
- Fountain of Youth (Only in flashback)
- Magma-Cruiser (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Partners in Deception!"
They Who Wield Power have captured Bruce Banner so that they can siphon the Hulk's power and revitalize the Cobalt Flame. Elsewhere, Goldbug wakes up to find himself still alive and inside El Dorado. He is not happy that They Wield Power have played him. Even more so, when he takes a look outside at the city of El Dorado, he is shocked to see that the legends are true and it is a city made out of gold. This upsets him even more as this much gold on the market would render the metal worthless in the outside world. Goldbug then begins plotting against both They Who Wield Power and the Hulk.
Back in the Temple of the Flame, They Who Wield Power explain that for quite some time they have been manipulating heroes and villains into battles in order to absorb the energies to repower the flame. They eventually discovered that the Hulk had enough power to fully restore the Flame. Hearing this, Banner is furious and purposely triggers a transformation into the Hulk. However, the device he is strapped into begins absorbing the energy, causing the transformation to be incomplete. Banner finds himself trapped between his human and Hulk forms.
With the power of the Cobalt Flame being restored, Prince Rey and Lann are too distracted that they don't see Dez removing a vial filled with fluid, or that Goldbug has arrived at the temple. He then uses the restraints to bind both Rey and Lann. Activating a device that drains the energies from both of his men until they crumble to dust. When Banner/Hulk asks Dez why he killed his allies, the elderly man drinks the contents of his vial which causes the man to reduce in age, revealing him to be the Hulk's longtime foe, Tyrannus. Tyrannus explains how he had narrowly cheated death during his battle against the Fantastic Four. How his Tyrannoids attempted to revive him in the Fountain of Youth, but while he was healed, his body began to age rapidly. Tyrannus explains how his "recent" appearance was that of a Tyrannoid who he took control of and shaped reshaped his form. When his attempt to cause Earth tremors to boost the power of the flame was foiled by Nova, Tyrannus abandoned the Tyrannoid body.
It's at this point that Goldbug tries to attack Tyrannus, but the villain traps him in a net. Seeking to get the Hulk to help, Goldbug tosses one of his devices that coats Banner with gold. The sudden panic causes the transformation into the Hulk to finally complete itself. Although the Hulk breaks free, Tyrannus is not without defenses. He explains that the Cobalt Flame was invented by the Deviants centuries ago and that it is armed with many weapons. A blast from a cannon knocks the Hulk out of the temple and into the streets below. Tyrannus then announces to the people of El Dorado that he intends to use the power of the Cobalt Flame to take over the world.
- The various chess pieces of the various superheroes and villains who were manipulated by They Who Wield Power. These individuals are:
- They provided weapons to the Orb who fought Spider-Man and Ghost Rider in Marvel Team-Up #15.
- They provided Stegron the Dinosaur Man with a craft, which led to a battle with Spider-Man and the Black Panther as seen in Marvel Team-Up #19-20.
- They caused a revolt among the Lava People which was quelled by Thor and the Human Torch in Marvel Team-Up #26.
- They also equipped the City-Stealers with devices until they were stopped by Spider-Man and Hercules in Marvel Team-Up #28.
- They also manipulated Absorbing Man into attacking the Hulk in Incredible Hulk #208-209.
- In addition, they equipped Moses Magnum as seen in X-Men #119.
- Tyrannus explains what happened to him after his apparent demise in Fantastic Four #128, explaining how a younger Tyrannus could have been activated during the events of Nova #5 while he was posing as the elderly Dez.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
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