Appearing in "The World According to... Faustus!"
- Android impostors of:
- Invisible Woman
- Human Torch
- Doctor Doom
- Franklin Richards
- Spider-Man impostor
- Anna Fennhoff (Only appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Everyman (Recap)
- Milton Ekler (Recap)
- New York State
Synopsis for "The World According to... Faustus!"
Following their battle against Everyman, Mister Fantastic tells Spider-Man that he is determined to stop whoever has been toying with him and his family. When Spider-Man offers his assistance, Reed declines, explaining that Everyman's father was a close friend of his. Spider-Man is understanding and departs, but tells Reed that if he should change his mind, he will be there to help. Reed gets aboard the Fantasti-Car and flies toward the Fenhoff Institute, the facility where the Everyman was being treated until his release. His approach is observed by Doctor Faustus, the mastermind in this plot against Mister Fantastic. Faustus is furious that Richards is coming alone as he wanted to destroy the entire Fantastic Four. His mother, Anna, believes that his son he is going to fail again. However, Faustus, vows to his mother that he will not fail in this latest mission, which was given to him by the Secret Empire. He assures his mother that he will please her this time, but she doubts it.
Meanwhile, Mister Fantastic lands the Fantasti-Car, and when he emerges from the vehicle he quickly discovers that Spider-Man has hitched a ride. The hero trips as he gets out of the Fantastic-Car, but Reed catches his fall. Spider-Man explains that he couldn't just let Reed go off alone and that's why he stowed away in the Fantasti-Car. As they approach the Fennhoff Institute, Reed suddenly is struck with a painful headache and assumes that this is a side effect of being subjected to the Absorbascan. Suddenly, they see a massive fireball in the sky. This turns out to be the Human Torch who comes crashing to the ground. Reed and Spider-Man come to his aid. Johnny is in hysterics, he tells them that he was out on a date with Julie D'Angelo when he blacked out. When he woke up he found himself inside the Fenhoff Institute where doctors were experimenting on him, but he managed to escape. He then tells Reed that they also have Sue, Ben, and Franklin prisoner inside.
This puts Reed in a state of panic and he goes crashing into the institute to try and find the rest of his family. Inside, they find the Thing suspended from the ceiling in shackles and free him as well. When Reed asks where Sue and Franklin are, Ben tells him he doesn't know and falls over. Seeing the state his friends are in, Reed's panic increases and he races off to find his wife and son, telling Spider-Man to look after Ben and Johnny. From his office, Doctor Faustus watches Reed's progress and gloats over the fact that his plan is succeeding. His mother, Anna, scolds him for relying only on his cleverness to get the job done. She reminds him of how cleverness failed when the Nazis invaded Austria on March 11th, 1938. She reminds him that their wealth and high connections attempted herself and her young son out before the attack. They ended up in Britain, but they had run out of wealth when the Nazis began their bombing there. His father died soon after, and Anna watched in disapproval as her son spent his adult life learning psychology and ultimately died for his worthless dreams. Doctor Faustus has heard enough and tells his mother that this time he will make her proud.
Elsewhere in the facility, Reed continues his search when he is rejoined by Spider-Man, Johnny, and Ben, who refuse to sit back while Mister Fantastic handles this threat alone. Spider-Man tells them that what they are looking for is in the next room. Inside, Reed finds Sue who has is in a state of psychosis following her torture. Reed tries to get his wife to come to her senses and tell him where Franklin is. Suddenly, they are interrupted by Doctor Doom who has arrived with Franklin. Doom mocks Reed, telling him that he is nothing. In a rage, Reed lunges at his old foe but strikes an electrified barrier that protects his foe. As the room begins to swirl with hypnotic lights, Doom vows to destroy the Fantastic Four and then Franklin. He then removes his mask, revealing the face of Doctor Doom to be that of Reed Richards himself. Suddenly they are bombarded by a battery of weapons. While Reed is battered around, his teammates in the Fantastic Four seemingly sacrifice their lives in order to save him. As Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic struggle with the fact that the rest of the FF are dead, Franklin comes storming into the room. The boy blames his father for killing the rest of the family and pulls out a gun and shoots Reed.
That's when Doctor Faustus enters the room, apparently, this was all part of a massive psychological manipulation. These weren't the Fantastic Four and Franklin, but very sophisticated robots, while "Spider-Man" was actually one of Faustus' minions using devices to mimic Spider-Man's abilities. Faustus gloats over his victory to his mother, but Anna refuses to accept his victory. As the Doctor rants about trying to prove himself to her, Reed Richards come to and reveals that he was only feigning unconsciousness. Mister Fantastic saw through the manipulations of Doctor Faustus and lashes into him. After trouncing his foe, Reed finally notices that Faustus is talking to someone up on the balcony. However, when he looks up, he sees nobody there. Seeing Faustus clutching at a locket, Reed takes it from his hand and looks at the photo inside. The photo is of a young Doctor Faustus with his mother, Anna.
Spidey teams up with the Fantastic Four as they go toe-to-toe with the villainous Dr. Faustus.
- This story states that Doctor Faustus was a child in 1938. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #3 suggests that Faustus developed some means of slowing his aging process. The specifics of this process are, as yet, unexplored.
A flashback in this story affects the chronology of the following characters:
- Reed refers to Larry Ekler's father as "Josh" this issue, he was identified as Milton in the previous issue.