Appearing in "In the Shadow Of the Sphinx!"
- Ramses (Only in flashback)
- Cleopatra (Only in flashback)
- Alexander the Great (Only in flashback)
- Genghis Khan (Only in flashback)
- King James (Only in flashback)
- William Shakespeare (Only in flashback)
- Fantastic Four (Only in flashback)
- Galactus (Only in flashback)
- United States of America
Synopsis for "In the Shadow Of the Sphinx!"
In the deserts of Egypt a group of archaeologists has been digging for three months in the hopes of uncovering a lost piece of history. When a petrified figure is found the archaeologists uncover something best left buried. While half a world away at the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme detects some mystical disturbance. Peering into his Cauldron of the Cosmos he is shown an image of the Fantastic Four's Thing and the ancient pyramids. Unsure what this vision means, Strange sends off his astral form to locate the Thing and tell him of his findings. Doctor Strange interrupts the Thing at the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building while Grimm is working out. After telling Ben what he has seen, the Thing finds it incredible to believe that he would just pack everything up and travel to Egypt. When Strange offers his help, the Thing politely declines and goes about his day after the sorcerer departs. In the hallway, he bumps into Mister Fantastic who is examining a blown up copy of a real view of Egypt where a previously undocumented pyramid has recently appeared where Professor Hempstead was leading an exhibition. Taking this as a sign that Strange was right, Ben soon departs from the Pogo Plane and sets a course for Egypt.
Landing in a desert town the Thing's arrival does not go unnoticed and word eventually gets to Professor Hempstead. Sneaking away from the dig, the worried archeologist manages to find the Thing still in town and warns Ben that there is an evil in the area. Before he can explain just what they are attacked by a gang of locals. Fighting off the attackers the Thing asks Hempstead for answers but finds that he went missing in the scuffle. Chasing after one of his attackers, Ben decides the best way to get to the bottom of things is to surrender. The Thing is led to the dig site and the mysterious pyramid. Once brought inside he is shocked to see who it is that Hempstead was trying to warn him about. Knocked out with a single blow, Ben revives a short time later in chains before his foe the Sphinx. Ben finds this quite the shock because he believed that the Sphinx was dead.
The Sphinx then indulges the Thing about how he managed to cheat this fate. He recounts his days as a sorcerer who worked for Pharaoh Ramses over five thousand years ago. After failing at an appointed task the Sphinx was exiled into the desert where he wandered an unknown amount of time until he came across a strange temple. Inside he came across the Ka Stone which endowed him with immortality and power beyond his reckoning. The Sphinx then spent the ensuing centuries traveling the world and observing how history marched ever onward. He then recounts how in recent history he managed to obtain his goal: the secrets of the universe itself. This pitted the Sphinx against the Fantastic Four who in turn summoned Galactus to defeat him. In his last encounter, the Sphinx had the Ka Stone plucked from his brow and crushed to dust by Galactus who then punished him by sending him into the distant past to the time when he first found the Ka Stone, dooming the Sphinx to continue his life in a constant loop. However, the Sphinx explains, Galactus erred: Instead, the Sphinx stopped himself mere moments before he could claim the Ka Stone and gain the power he sought. They then conspired to beat the punishment of Galactus. To this end, they constructed a restoration ray that would later revive the future Sphinx in the present. The past Sphinx then took the Ka Stone and gained the power he was destined to wield. He then used that power to put his future self in suspended animation and then erased his memories of these events so he could continue on his fated path uninterrupted. The Sphinx then explained that now that he has been revived in the modern day, he seeks to reconstitute the Ka Stone and use it to take over the world.
When the Sphinx leaves to use the restoration ray to gather all the fragments of the Ka Stone and reassemble it, the Thing is left to his own devices and is able to break free from his bonds. He then exits the pyramid and battles it out with the Sphinx. During the course of the fight the Sphinx totals the Pogo Plane, but eventually, the Thing manages to get the regeneration ray and smashes it before it can complete it's task, leaving the Sphinx is only a partially restored Ka Stone. Even though he was foiled the Sphinx reclaims the incomplete stone determines that it has a plan for the Thing and thus decides to spare him. Departing, leaving in his pyramid which levitates into the sky flying away, the Sphinx vows that he will one day get his revenge against the Thing.
- Though the shadow on the cover is actually that of the Sphinx, the distinct silhouette makes it look like it's actually Batman.
- The Sphinx's origins are recapped here from Nova #7, although he omits to mention the task he failed at was defeating Moses.
- The Sphinx's quest for the secrets of the universe were finally realized in Fantastic Four #208 when he absorbed the power of the Xandarian Worldmind. He then returned to Earth to try and conquer it, only to be defeated by Galactus as seen in Fantastic Four #212–213.