Quote1.png No Johnny, I still cherish what Ben and I once had, but he belongs in my past. My present, my future... they belong to us. Quote2.png
-- Alicia Masters (Lyja) src

 

Becoming Alicia Masters

In an effort to destroy the Fantastic Four, the Skrull Emperor tried feverishly to come up with a plan to defeat them. The Skrull General, Kalamari, suggested sending someone in as a spy, but the Emperor knew that they could not realistically duplicate any of the four’s powers.[10]

Then Paibok appeared and pointed out that they could make a duplicate of someone close to the four, picking Alicia Masters, and out of a group of Skrull women, Paibok chose Lyja for the mission. The two had once had an affair that had ended badly, and Lyja was unsure if his choice was a privilege or a punishment. Either way, she was chosen and studied Alicia’s face, mannerisms, and spent countless hours being trained in everything the Skrulls knew about the Fantastic Four, the Thing, and Alicia herself. Lyja was even equipped with contact lenses that would render her blind in her human form, and she learned to operate without sight.[10]

Lyja during her love story with Johnny

The Skrulls waited patiently for the right moment; then they found it as the Fantastic Four were beamed away by the mysterious, alien construct that appeared in Central Park.[11] They acted quickly to replace Alicia, and Paibok took the original away.[10]

Married to Johnny Storm

But when the three members of the Fantastic Four returned, Lyja was shocked to find She-Hulk in place of the Thing,[1] whom she had expected to return. The Human Torch reluctantly told her that Ben had stayed behind and was replaced by She-Hulk, thinking that Alicia was heart-broken over the loss of her love. Lyja’s plans were in shambles, but she reacted quickly and turned to Johnny, who she intended to get close to as a confidant. However, Lyja made a bigger mistake and fell in love with Johnny, and the two were later married in a private ceremony that the Puppet Master nearly broke up until he realized how happy his "daughter" seemed to be.[12]

The happy couple spent many years happily wed; but one day, when the Thing prepared himself a midnight snack, he heard noises coming from Mister Fantastic's laboratory. Lyja was there, attempting to destroy Reed’s Brain Analyzer before he could discover that she wasn’t really Alicia. Ben confronted her as an intruder, who appeared as a shadow, and continued to change into various forms to elude him, until he rounded a corner and found Alicia there-who claimed she encountered nothing. Ben explained what he saw, though the rest of his team were skeptical. Later, Lyja discussed it with Johnny, who refused to believe that it was simply a hallucination. Lyja suggested that it could have been someone like the Puppet Master. Then, right on schedule, Ben slammed his way through the door alongside the Puppet Master and came after the woman disguised as Alicia. Johnny tried to stop him, but the Thing eventually snuffed his flame and threatened Lyja to reveal herself to the whole team, proving that she had duplicated Alicia.[13]

Lyja is discovered by Johnny

Reed had to stop Johnny from killing Lyja before she could tell them the truth. Only when the Invisible Woman used her force field on him did he burn himself out and calm down. Lyja then told them all the details of her mission, explaining that she had been Alicia since before Johnny married her. The Torch refused to believe this, thinking that he had married the real Alicia, and Lyja had simply replaced her later. But Lyja insisted, explaining that she had shared his bed and his life, and was soon to have his baby. Then, together with the Fantastic Four, Lyja donned Sue’s original uniform (to differentiate her from other Skrulls) and agreed to help them rescue the real Alicia in exchange for her freedom. Again, Johnny was furious but he restrained himself. When they invaded the Skrulls’ hidden base, Lyja armed herself with a stun gun and fought alongside the four. Though once Paibok appeared and turned on Johnny for the imagined indignities he felt the human had made Lyja suffer, she was torn between the man she had lived with and her former lover. Then, before Paibok could fire a lethal beam at Johnny’s back, Lyja transformed into a giant, alien beast and threw herself in the way of the beam. The Thing dropped a massive pillar on Paibok, putting him out of commission.[10]

Lyja was injured and lay dying. The Torch ran to her and asked her why she would do what she did. She told him that she wasn’t pregnant she only wanted him to stay with her and that she loved him, and would always love him. She seemingly died in his arms as he professed his own love for her. Mister Fantastic saved the real Alicia from her suspended animation and they were forced to leave Lyja’s body and escape as Paibok recovered and came after them.[10]

Resurrection & Revenge

Later, when the Fantastic Four fought the Magnus, Paibok joined up with Devos the Destroyer, and together they revived Lyja and imbued her with her own superpowers. Calling her Lyja the Lazerfist, they plotted their revenge and soon attacked the Torch while he was attending Empire State University. Paibok and Devos chased him around, firing at him, until Lyja appeared. Feeling abandoned, Lyja hungered for revenge and used her new bio blasts to try and destroy the Torch. She again claimed to be pregnant, and together with her two allies, she poured fire upon the Torch until he lost control and used his ultimate weapon against them: His nova flame. Johnny turned white-hot and partially burned down Empire State University while Lyja and her cohorts fled.[7]

They continued to taunt Johnny. Lyja and Paibok appeared in a crowd during his arrest, revealing themselves enough to send him into a frenzy, but acting as innocents once he turned on them; further damaging his image.[14]

Redemption

But Lyja could not hate him as Paibok expected, and she sneaked out of their orbiting ship and defended Johnny when he and his teammates stood off against Ghost Rider, Wolverine, Hulk, and Spider-Man: the Secret Defenders. She stopped the Ghost Rider from killing him, claiming that as her right, but fought alongside of him when they were taken to the Moon shortly afterwards by Uatu The Watcher. Johnny saved her, as well, from an extra-powered Doctor Doom, before the Inhuman Black Bolt stopped Doom and they returned to Earth.[15] She agreed to join Johnny when he was charged and imprisoned, and later accompanied the Thing to Alicia’s apartment where she met the woman she impersonated.[16]

Johnny's Trial

Lyja attended Johnny’s trial, which was shortly broken up by Paibok, Devos, Klaw, and Huntara, a future relative of the Richards’. Lyja fought the villains, and her former allies, until Paibok reminded her that her baby would not be born properly without a "genefit of a Lacaroo". The fight went out of Lyja, and she slumped to the ground, but Johnny appeared to save her, though he took a blast in the back from Klaw. Afterwards, while Reed worked to fix a mutated Ms. Marvel, Lyja left Four Freedoms Plaza and disguised herself as a woman named Laura Green and became angry when Johnny hit on her. She later collapsed in pain due to her pregnancy, but made the then-teenage Franklin Richards promise not to reveal it. She continued to vacillate between trusting Johnny and hating him, but finally revealed to him that if she didn’t have the Lacaroo birthing medicine, their baby would die. Luckily, they were captured by Paibok and Devos and taken to the Skrull Homeworld, where Lyja and the remaining members of the Fantastic Four followed the lead of the Invisible Woman after the apparent death of Reed Richards, along with Doom. On the way off the planet, Susan grabbed a vial of birthing medicine.[17]

Birthing a Sham

During a mission undersea alongside Namor and the Inhuman Triton, Lyja went into labor. Triton swam both Lyja and Johnny away and back to a hospital while the rest continued on. With very little time left, Lyja entrusted herself to a human doctor, and Johnny handed him the birthing medicine she needed. The doctor discovered that the medicine put Lyja in a spongy state, and he searched the mass for the baby. He pulled out the implant that gave her the energy powers, and tossed it away. Then he finally found the baby, which turned out to be an egg. Lyja and Johnny spent the next few days coming back to their incubated egg. Johnny even considered quitting the team, as he feared for the life of his baby with all the dangerous things going on at the time. He had finally decided to stay behind while the rest went out on a portentously fatal mission to stay behind with his child. A man named Raphael Suarez showed up as the Collector appeared to take their very unique child, and Raphael helped fight off a robot sent by the Collector with the Lazerfist powers he accidentally received from Lyja’s implant. Moments before, Lyja, herself, discovered that her own powers were gone. After analyzing the egg, the Collector pronounced it a sham and disappeared. Lyja revealed that Johnny was not the egg’s father, but it was actually an artificial implant. She explained that she had tried to tell him, but couldn’t. As the egg began to hatch, Johnny was whisked away to fight alongside his teammates.[18]

Breaking Up With Johnny

Fighting the Sha'Barri implant

When the egg hatched a huge, tentacled monster sprang forth. Lyja and Raphael fought it, with the help of Ant-Man and Namor, but only when Lyja used her Skrull abilities to transform into a twin of the creature, was it finally beaten. Johnny and the rest of his team reappeared and Lyja explained that the creature was a Sha'Barri, implanted in her to destroy the Fantastic Four. She tried to make it up to him, offering to start their life over, but Johnny refused to trust her again and they went their separate ways. Lyja continued to keep tabs on Johnny as Laura Green, but stayed estranged from him. She eventually decided to stay on Earth and assume a human life, as she no longer felt connected to her Skrull heritage.[19]

However, still in love with Johnny, Lyja stalked him while as a human, Laura Green. She did eventually reveal herself, however. She became an ally of the Fantastic Four. She and Johnny even seemed to be on track to reconciling their relationship. However, in the wake of the Onslaught crisis, the Fantastic Four were thought dead,[19] and Lyja left to attempt a normal life, masquerading again as a human woman while attempting to truly live a human life.[20]

Secret Invasion

Lyja's return

During the Skrull invasion on Earth Lyja was working in a book store when a Skrull approached her, telling her to join them. They told her to blow up the Baxter Building to kill Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm and the Richards' two young children but she convinced them to change their plan, hoping to keep them out of harm's way, she suggested sending them to the Negative Zone instead.[20] Posing as the Invisible Woman, she gained access to the Baxter Building and created a system crash in Reed's lab that sent the building and its surroundings to the Negative Zone.[21][8]

When Johnny Storm was attempting to find out what was going on, Lyja as Sue tried to convince Johnny that the Thing was a Skrull. Failing at this attempt she revealed herself. She and Johnny embraced each other after Johnny saved her from an oncoming police car. In dropping her guard she fell victim to a Negative Zone jellyfish. Johnny saved and brought her back to the destroyed Baxter Building. After fully recovering from her injuries, Lyja resolved to amend her actions and joined Ben, Johnny, and and the Richards children into finding a way back to their dimension. When Ben, Johnny, Franklin, Val, and the Tinkerer were ready to leave the Negative Zone she refused to leave, wanting to stay and find herself in a different context.[20]

Future Foundation

After spending an unknown amount of time in the Negative Zone, Lyja eventually returned to the Positive matter universe. She decided to become a pirate and took the appearance of Yondu Udonta. However, when the Future Foundation went on a quest to find the scattered pieces of the Molecule Man following the destruction and rebirth of the Multiverse, they needed someone to help them on their search which lead them to "Yondu Udonta".[4] They found a multiversal anomaly in the intergalactic prison L'ar Gath Five and sent "Yondu" to give Julie Power to the guards in order break into the prison. During their search for the anomaly, they also found someone who resembled Reed Richards and decided to also break him free thinking it was their Reed Richards.[22] That someone turned out to be the Maker who took the opportunity to get inside the Foundation's ship, along with his associates, and tried to hijack the ship,[23] but they were then forced to work together in order to fend off the prison's advanced security system. While the Future Foundation and Maker fought the security, "Yondu", assisted by the Maker's ally Kl'Rath, was having trouble lifting the ship. After they successfully left the prison planet, Lyja revealed herself to Kl'rath and killed him, since in the past he and his Zn'rx army killed numerous defenseless Skrull refugees.[24]

She then took his appearance and reunited with the rest of the group where she unwillingly fought the Foundation, while the Maker went after the Molecule Man's pieces which the Foundation had collected thus far. She eventually tried to help the Foundation, but was knocked out, before the Maker finally got the pieces and blew the Foundation's ship up.[5] Fortunately, she and the Foundation had entered Bentley-23's pocket dimension where Lyja explained her story to them. In order to get out of the pocket dimension safely they needed to use a machine which Franklin Richards and Molecule Man were required to use, while a black hole was supposed to be put within the machine. In an attempt to activate the machine, Lyja took the form of Franklin, while Rikki Barnes took the place of the Molecule Man, and then Julie absorbed her brother's powers so she would work as the black hole. They succeed as the machine worked and they returned to Earth where Lyja joined the Foundation and began a relationship with Alex Power.[4]

Powers

Skrull Shapeshifting: Like other Skrulls, Lyja is a shapeshifter. She can mentally cause the Unstable Molecules that comprise her body to become pliant, enabling her to assume other forms through muscular expansion and contraction. Once a new shape has been assumed, it takes a conscious act of will to assume another form or revert to natural. Hence, Skrulls do not spontaneously lose their assumed form when asleep or unconscious. Skrulls in altered form will, however, revert to their original forms at the moment of death. She was specifically trained to impersonate Alicia Masters, and thus can walk around while 'blind' due to special contact lenses she wore in human form.

Super Skrull Engineering

  • Energy Beam: Lyja was artificially endowed with the ability to fire blasts of energy from her fists that she could use to cause damage as well as propel herself through the air.[25]
  • Heat Resistance: During the events of Secret Invasion, she also displayed tremendous resistance to the intense heat and flames of the Human Torch, being capable of coming into physical contact with him without burning.[25]
  • Invisible Force Field: During the Secret Invasion, Lyja was able to emit an invisible force field similar to that of the Invisible Woman's.[8]

Abilities

Skrull Military Training: Lyja is a trained Skrull soldier.

  • Aviation: Lyja is trained in the use of the advanced warp-drive starships of the Skrull-military.
  • Unarmed Combat: Lyja is trained in the unarmed combat of the Skrull-military, she is also quite experienced; due to her involvement in the Kree-Skrull War.
  • Marksmanship: Lyja is trained in the use of the ranged energy-weaponry of the Skrull-military.

Lyja has some training in art that she utilized while impersonating Alicia, although Lyja's artistic style favoured otherworldly abstractionist pieces as opposed to Alicia's usual representational work.

Weaknesses

Skrull Shapeshifting: Skrulls only take on the appearance of an object or person and none of that object or person’s characteristics. There is a limit to the size of the object or person a Skrull can imitate. The average Skrull cannot distend his or her mass any more than 1.5 times as large a volume as his or her original volume, nor can he or she contract his or her mass any more than 0.75 a volume as his or her original.

Equipment

Skrull-Military Uniform: Lyja wears a Skrull-military uniform, which alters as she changes shape and size.

Transportation

  • Skrull-Military Transport: Lyja will frequently use the advanced warp-drive starships of the Skrull-military.
  • Flight: She can also fly under her own power by growing wings.[25]

Weapons

Skrull-Military Weaponry: Lyja will frequently use the ranged energy-weaponry of the Skrull-military.

  • The idea to reveal Alicia Masters as a Skrull impostor originated from a joke made by Ralph Macchio to his fellow editors Tom DeFalco and Mark Gruenwald, who were lukewarm to the marriage between her and Johnny Storm. When DeFalco became the new writer of Fantastic Four years later, he turned the joke into canon.[26]
  • It was never revealed how Lyja was able to maintain her transformation ability after the explosion of the Hyperwave Bomb, which deprived the Skrulls of that power.

Discover and Discuss

Footnotes



Like this? Let us know!

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.