Appearing in "A Christmas Peril!"
- Fantastic Four
- Franklin Richards
- Wendell Vaughn
- Jeannine O`Connell
- Willie Lumpkin
- Bob Landers
- Carol Landers
- Lorrie Melton
- Walter Newell
- Diane Newell
- Annie Christopher
- High Evolutionary (Recap)
Races and Species:
- New Men (Main story and flashback)
- New York City
Synopsis for "A Christmas Peril!"
After finishing some last minute Christmas shopping with the Fantastic Four, Alicia manages to convince Ben to send a Christmas card to her step-father the Puppet Master in the hopes of making peace between the FF and their old foe. However, things are anything but when the vengeful Puppet Master is released from prison. Coincidentally this is also when he is delivered the Christmas card sent by Ben.
Returning to his secret hideout, the Puppet Master opens his safe filled with his special radioactive clay to begin a new revenge scheme only to find that the clay has decomposed and is useless. Needing to go to his home village in the Balkan mountains, the Puppet Master remembers the letter he got and wonders if it's from his old associate the Mad Thinker. When he finds that it's from his old foe, the Thing, the Puppet Master believes that Ben is mocking him, however he is inspired to try and facilitate a bold plan.
That Christmas Eve, the Puppet Master pays a visit to the Baxter Building during the FF's annual Christmas party with all their closest friends. Alicia is delighted that her seemingly reformed step-father has come to bring them glad tidings and welcomes him in with open arms, Ben, naturally suspicious decides to give Phillip the benefit of the doubt and welcome him as well. When Franklin selflessly offers the Puppet Master one of his presents upon realizing that the Puppet Master has no gifts, Phillip tells Franklin about how he'd want nothing more to be able to visit his homeland. Franklin relays this to Reed who is convinced by his son to allow Alicia and Ben take Phillip in the Pogo-Plane to his home country.
Arriving in the small Balkan village, the trio get rooms for the night, and later that evening the Puppet Master sneaks out to the wooded area where he originally found his clay. His dig is interrupted however when he is suddenly captured by giant toy soldiers. The next morning, Alicia and Ben awaken and check on Phillip to find him missing. They canvass to town trying to see if anyone has seen the Puppet Master. Nobody is able to help them, and they decide to check out a lonely cabin outside of town that the locals seem to fear.
There they find that the home is owned by Bova, an artificially evolved cow that was created by the High Evolutionary, who has taken up residence in the cabin following the departure of the High Evolutionary and the New Men, where she takes care of the now infantile Modred the Mystic. The childlike Modred believes that the Thing is a bad man, however, Bova invites the couple in to stay the night, willing to help them try and find Phillip the next day.
The Puppet Master awakens to find himself shrunken down to size and inside of Modred's toy box. Escaping and seeking aid, the Puppet Master awakens the Thing and finds that his old foe has also been shrunk down to size as well. They soon find themselves attacked by an army of animated toys. Realizing that Modred is the cause everything they attempt to get him to reverse the spell. While Ben fights off the toys Phillip attempts to make a puppet of Modred out of some of the clay he obtained the night before, however, he fails to get it to work. When Ben wakes up Modred, the man-child causes enough racket to rouse both Alicia and Bova who enter the room.
Continually shrinking and becoming harder and harder to hear, Ben finally manages to tell Alicia what happened by getting close to her ear for her to hear him. When Alicia begins to cry over the impending loss of Ben and her step-father, Modred restores them back to normal. Afterword, Phillip shows Modred how to consciously animate his toys in order to keep himself company in the future. After the episode, Phillip explains to Ben and Alicia that he's realized the errors of controlling people like puppets having experienced the sensation himself and vows to reform, and the trio return to New York.
- The Thing, and Mr. Fantastic appearance in Thor #305, the events of which take place between pages 12 and 3 of this story.
- The Puppet Master had been in prison since Fantastic Four #170.
- Modred has been reduced to an infantile state since his clash with Cthon in Avengers #187, and was left in the care of Bova. His mind is eventually restored to normal in Captain America #305.
- The Thing and Alicia previously met Modred in Marvel Two-In-One #33, however they do not remember because Modred erased their memories of the encounter.
- Bova states that when her master the High Evolutionary left Earth she stayed behind. The High Evolutionary and his New Men originally left Earth in Thor #135.
- Due to an error by Canadian printshop Ronald's Printing where both Marvel and DC Comics printed their output, remainders of this issue's interior pages made it out of print in February/March 1974 sporting the cover for DC's New Teen Titans #6. There are three copies of this particular misprint known to exist.
- Johnston, Rich (5 April 2020). The Marvel Comic With a DC Cover, on eBay for Over a Million Dollars. Bleeding Cool. Retrieved on 6 April 2020.
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