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Solicit Synopsis

THE GREATEST TALENT EVER ASSEMBLED FOR ONE STORY!

THIS IS THE BIG ONE! In celebration of Marvel’s 80th Anniversary, we have gathered together the greatest array of talent ever to be assembled between the covers of a single comic book! Names from the past, from the present, and even the future! Every page is filled with all-new work from this cavalcade of comic book luminaries!

There is a mystery that threads throughout the Marvel Universe — one that has its origins in MARVEL COMICS #1 and which unites a disparate array of heroes and villains throughout the decades! What is the Eternity Mask, and who is responsible for the conspiracy to keep it hidden? And what new player will make their startling debut as these secrets are peeled away?

Featuring the entirety of the Marvel Universe of characters!

1. "The Fantastic Four"

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  • Marvel-1 (First appearance) (Unnamed) (Destroyed)
  • Fantastic Four's private jet

Synopsis

Chapter 1

Fantastic Four Vol 1 1 0001 Title

A shadowy figure fires a flare out of a window. The flare forms the words "The Fantastic Four!"[Continuity 1]

Susan Storm is having tea with a friend. When she sees the flare, she turns invisible, gets into a cab,[Continuity 2] and offers the surprised driver a banknote when she reaches her destination.

Ben Grimm is trying to find a coat that fits him. A clerk in the haberdashery sees the flare. Grimm bursts out of the too-small door, rips a manhole out of the street, follows the sewers, and bursts out when he thinks he has reached his destination. He is struck by a taxi which is wrecked.

Johnny Storm is working on his latest hot rod in a service station. The mechanic sees the flare, which turns into the number 4. Johnny bursts into flame and flies away, destroying his car. The authorities treat him as an enemy attack, so he reluctantly melts the jets that come after him. A nuclear heat-seeking missile locks onto him, and, just as Johnny's flame starts to fade, an impossibly long pair of arms grab the missile and throw it out to sea.

Johnny's savior is the same man who fired the flare. He greets Susan, Ben, and Johnny with the words, "There is a task that awaits us ... a fearful task!" But how did these four people become so fantastic?

To beat the Communists into space, scientist Reed Richards, sister and brother Sue and Johnny Storm, and pilot Ben Grimm sneak off into space in a rocket.[Continuity 3] In space, the four are bombarded by cosmic rays.[Continuity 4] The auto-pilot lands the ship back on Earth,[Continuity 5] where they find themselves physically transformed and possessing remarkable new abilities. Sue can turn invisible. Ben has transformed into an orange, muscular "thing" with super-strength.[Continuity 6] Reed's body became highly malleable, allowing him to stretch into any shape. Johnny's body bursts into flame, and he can fly. They decide to use their abilities to become the super-team known as the Fantastic Four. They give themselves the individual names Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Girl, Human Torch, and the Thing.[Continuity 7][Continuity 8]

(Chapter 2) The Fantastic Four Meet the Mole Man!

Fantastic Four Vol 1 1 Chapter 2 Title
Monster Isle from Fantastic Four Vol 1 1 001

Monster Isle

Atomic plants in the Soviet Union, Australia, and South America have been mysteriously attacked by cave-ins. Another attack occurs in Africa, where a huge monster burrows out of the ground but is recalled by a human figure. The Fantastic Four travel aboard their private jet to Monster Isle, which Reed has deduced is the same distance from each attack. There, they are attacked by a giant three-headed monster. Reed stops the monster, but a cave-in separates Reed and Johnny from Ben and Sue. Beneath the island Reed and Johnny land in the Valley of Diamonds, which temporarily blinds them. The Mole Man appears, revealing he is responsible for the attacks.

(Chapter 3) The Mole Man's Secret!

Fantastic Four Vol 1 1 Chapter 3 Title

The Mole Man explains his origin. Having been ridiculed by humanity, he went off alone in search of the legendary land at the center of the earth. Eventually, he washed ashore on Monster Isle. Making his way through a cavern, he was caught in an avalanche and rendered almost blind.[Continuity 9] However, due to his other heightened senses taking over, he mastered the subterranean creatures[Continuity 10] and built himself an underground empire.

Meanwhile, on the surface, Ben wrestles a rock monster. Ben and Sue find their teammates listening to the Mole Man's plan to invade the surface world. He sends his monster army against the Fantastic Four. Whilst Johnny distracts the biggest one, the team flees through a tunnel, which Johnny seals shut behind them. After the Fantastic Four escape in their jet, Mole Man destroys the island so the surface world cannot trouble him again.[Continuity 11]

2. "The Fantastic Four Meet the Skrulls from Outer Space!"

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  • Unnamed Central City citizens
    • Unnamed Oil-rig workers
    • Unnamed Jewelry store employees
    • Unnamed Power Plant Worker
  • Santa Claus (Mentioned)

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Synopsis

Part 1

Fantastic Four Vol 1 2 Title

The Thing attacks an oil platform off the Texas shore. The Invisible Girl steals a valuable gem from a jewelry store. The Human Torch melts a statue when a town unveils it. Mister Fantastic shuts down a power plant. These impostors meet afterward and reveal how they used their shape-shifting abilities and alien technology to perpetrate their misdeeds. They are Skrulls, and they plan on invading Earth. Fearing the Fantastic Four will stand in their way, these four agents want to ruin their reputation. The real Fantastic Four, in "an isolated hunting lodge," hear the news with dismay.[Continuity 12]

Part 2

Fantastic Four Vol 1 2 Chapter 2 Title
Jonathan Storm (Earth-616) and Skrull Cows (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 2 0001

Johnny infiltrates the Skrulls

The United States Army surrounds the lodge. Wanted for the Skrulls' crimes, the Fantastic Four surrender.They escape from cells specifically designed to hold them and hole up in one of their "many secret apartment hideouts", in order to clear their names. They set a trap for the Skrulls by sending Johnny to sabotage a rocket launch, hoping it will draw them out. He melts through an unused gantry,[Continuity 13] avoids the army's artillery and flames off behind a hangar. "Reed" and "Susan" pick him up and take him back to their hideout. A Fantasti-Flare out the window brings the rest of the team.

Part 3

Fantastic Four Vol 1 2 Chapter 3 Title
Skrull-Ship (Water Tower) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 2 0002

The water-tower ship

A fight ensues and the Skrulls are taken, prisoner. The Fantastic Four steal the Skrulls' rocket ship and find their mother-ship in Earth orbit.[Continuity 14] Posing as the Skrull agents, they trick the captain into believing that Earth is too dangerous to invade by passing off images from Journey into Mystery and Strange Tales as real. Reed volunteers to stay behind and remove any trace of the Skrulls' presence on Earth. Convinced his army would be slaughtered, the captain calls off the invasion and awards Reed a medal for bravery.[Continuity 15] On the way home the Fantastic Four passes through the cosmic rays again, causing the Thing to briefly return to human form.

Part 4

Fantastic Four Vol 1 2 Chapter 4 Title
Once back on Earth the Fantastic Four clear their names by proving the existence of Skrulls to the military. The remaining three Skrulls transform into cows at Reed's instructions, and Reed hypnotizes them into believing they are real cows. They are left in a field where they can live out their lives.[Continuity 16][Continuity 17][Continuity 18][Continuity 19]

3. "The Menace of the Miracle Man"

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Chapter 1

Fantastic Four Vol 1 3 0001 Title

The Miracle Man is performing at a theater. He points out the Fantastic Four and mocks them. He claims his powers are far greater than theirs and demonstrates by growing into a giant, turning into a cloud, and controlling thunder and lightning. He even upstages the Thing in a test of strength. While they head home in the Fantasti-Car, Reed wonders whether they could defeat the Miracle Man if he were a criminal. Meanwhile, the Miracle Man plots to bring a monster statue at the Bijou movie theater[Continuity 20] next door to life and use it to terrorize the public.

Chapter II:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 3 Chapter 2 Title
At the team's new headquarters, the Baxter Building,[Continuity 21] Johnny is watching live coverage of the premiere of "The Monsters from Mars" at the Bijou on television. Sue Storm comes in with new costumes for the entire team, including a helmet for the Thing.
Baxter Building from Fantastic Four Vol 1 3 0001

Click to Enlarge

Johnny spots the Miracle Man, who gestures and brings the monster to life. It attacks the crowd and then vanishes. The Fantastic Four call the commissioner, who has received a note from the Miracle Man declaring his intention to conquer the world. The team is authorized to stop the Miracle Man.[Continuity 22][Continuity 23]

Mister Fantastic finds the Miracle Man and his monster robbing a jewelry store, but the Miracle Man hits him with a brick. The Human Torch finds them stealing the army's new atomic tank and confronts them.

Chapter III:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 3 Chapter 3 Title

The Invisible Girl and Thing see the fight and join in. The Thing removes his helmet and rips off his costume before joining the fight.[2] The Human Torch burns the monster down;[3] it was made of wood and plastic. The Thing and the Human Torch are defeated, and the Miracle Man escapes in a truck with the tank in tow, although the Invisible Girl hides aboard unseen.

Chapter IV:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 3 Chapter 4 Title

Back at their headquarters, the remaining members of the Fantastic Four wait for Sue's signal. Johnny pokes fun at Ben, who loses his temper. A fight breaks out between the two, and Johnny storms off. Meanwhile, the Miracle Man is hiding the atomic tank at a junkyard, when he discovers Sue and uses his powers to put her under his command. He has Sue signal the rest of the team with the Fantasti-Flare. Ben and Reed take off in the Fantasti-Copter. Johnny sees the signal from a corner soda fountain and flies toward it.

Chapter V:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 3 Chapter 5 Title
At the junkyard, the Miracle Man fights Ben and Reed, and escapes with Sue and the tank again. Johnny appears, and the three follow the Miracle Man in an antique racing car. Johnny flies ahead and uses his flames to create a flash that temporarily blinds the Miracle Man, who loses his powers. In fact, he never had powers at all; he was merely a clever hypnotist. Reed brings Sue out of her trance, and the Miracle Man is apprehended.
Fantastic Four (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 3 0002
The Thing is annoyed when he perceives that Johnny is getting all the credit for stopping the Miracle Man. Johnny, having had enough of the Thing, quits the team and flies away. Reed wonders what would happen if he were to become their enemy.

4. "The Coming of... Sub-Mariner!"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 4 0001 Title

Chapter 1:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 4 Chapter 1 Title

The Human Torch has quit the team. Reed, Sue, and Ben use the Fantasti-Car to search the city for him. Johnny, though, has gone to Swanson's Garage to work on cars. Ben, on a hunch, goes to the garage.

Chapter 2:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 4 Chapter 2 Title

Unable to use his flame because of the gasoline around him, Johnny faces an angry Ben without his power. Ben backs him into a corner, but, before the Thing can hit Johnny, he changes back to his old, human form. Johnny uses the distraction to leave the garage, flame on, and fly away. Ben immediately changes back to the Thing.

Johnny goes to the Bowery to find accommodations. Once in his bunk, he reads a 1940s comic about the Sub-Mariner. Another guest of the establishment notices what he's reading and says, "We got a stumble-bum right here who's as strong as that joker was supposed to be!" He hands the bearded "stumble-bum" a phone book and tells him to tear it in half. The man refuses. The others attack him but get swatted away. The man complains that he can't remember anything: "Why have I spent the long years here, in a fog, with my mind a blank??" Johnny says, "Flame on!" ignites one finger, and burns off the man's beard. He looks just like the Sub-Mariner, pointy ears and all.

Chapter 3:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 4 Chapter 3 Title
Johnny carries the man out to sea and drops him into the water. Back in his native element, the Sub-Mariner remembers who he is.[Continuity 24] He goes to his home, Atlantis.
Fantastic Four Vol 1 4 page 13 Atlantis
It lies in radioactive ruins, a casualty of atomic testing. The Sub-Mariner returns to New York and tells Johnny that he will retaliate by destroying the human race.[Continuity 25]

Chapter 4:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 4 Chapter 4 Title
The rest of the FF, back at the Baxter Building, see Johnny's flare rise from the waterfront. They take the Fantasti-Car to meet him and learn about the Sub-Mariner's revival.
Giganto (Atlantean Beast) (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 4 0001

the original Giganto

Out at sea, the Sub-Mariner finds Giganto, "the largest living thing in all the world," and the Horn of Proteus that can rouse him. He leads the creature towards New York, which begins an evacuation. The army bombards Giganto without effect. The Thing comes up with a daring plan: strap a nuclear bomb to his back, get inside the monster, and leave it there to destroy it. While Giganto takes a nap, Ben carries the bomb down its gullet.

Chapter 5:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 4 Chapter 5 Title
With seconds to spare, Ben makes it out of the monster's maw.[Continuity 26] The Sub-Mariner threatens to use the horn to summon more creatures. An invisible Sue grabs the horn and runs away with it.[Continuity 27] The Sub-Mariner tackles her. She becomes visible. "If you will be my bride," says the Sub-Mariner, "I might show mercy to the rest of your pitiful race!" She responds, "How can I make such a choice?" He threatens again to use the horn. Sue says, "I—I'll do anything—I'll become your bride!" Johnny, though, forms a tornado that pulls the Sub-Mariner into the air and drops him in the ocean. The horn falls to the bottom. The Sub-Mariner swears, "I'll be back!"[Continuity 28]

5. "Prisoners of Doctor Doom!"

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Part 1:

Victor von Doom (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 5 0001

Johnny, while reading an issue of The Incredible Hulk, compares Ben to the monster.[Continuity 29] Ben grabs the comic, but Johnny sets it afire. Reed and Sue stop them before they come to blows. The lights go out, despite their emergency generator. Doctor Doom, in a helicopter, drops a net over the Baxter Building. When Doom calls out to them, Reed recognizes the voice: Victor von Doom, an old college classmate. After an experiment at university, during which Doom tried to communicate with the dead but instead caused an explosion, he was expelled.[Continuity 30] Doom demands Sue as a hostage, and she agrees, going to the roof.

Part 2

Fantastic Four Vol 1 5 Part 2 Title

Doom takes the Invisible Girl aboard his ship, binding and gagging her. He then demands the rest of the FF must enter his ship and pledge not to attack him. The Thing agrees to this by sending off a flare. Doom lowers a cage over Reed, Ben, and Johnny and takes them to his castle. Once there, he tells them that he has invented a time machine and that they must retrieve Blackbeard's treasure chest from the past. With Sue as Doom's hostage, they must agree. Doom presses a button, activating the time platform they were unwittingly standing on. They appear in a port, where they come across two brigands arguing over a stolen bundle of clothes. Ben scares them off. With the clothes, they disguise themselves, including a heavy black beard for Ben. Looking for someone in Blackbeard's crew,[Continuity 31] they go to a tavern. Two pirates tell the barmaid to serve the strangers drugged grog.[Continuity 32]

Part 3

Fantastic Four Vol 1 5 Part 3 Title

Reed, Ben, and Johnny wake up in the hold of a pirate ship. Ben bursts through the deck and subdues the entire crew with the help of Johnny and Reed. When another ship appears, Ben takes command and orders his crew to attack![Continuity 33]

Part 4

Fantastic Four Vol 1 5 Part 4 Title
Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 4 0001
Johnny flames on, harasses the other ship, and raises a cloud of steam. Reed stretches to the other ship like a gangplank, over which their crew passes. A quick fight ensues. While Reed and Johnny haul a treasure chest out of the hold, the crew hails Ben as Blackbeard. Reed empties the chest, reminding Johnny that they only promised to bring back Blackbeard's chest, not the treasure itself, and he replaces the treasure with chains.[Continuity 34] On deck, they realize that Ben is the Blackbeard of legend. He refuses to return with them, ordering the crew to douse Johnny, wrap Reed in a sail, and set them adrift in a lifeboat. Before they can launch the boat, though, a huge waterspout strikes the ship and destroys it. Reed and Johnny make it to shore, where they find Ben and the chest.

Part 5

Fantastic Four Vol 1 5 Part 5 Title
The time platform appears above them and returns them to the present. Doom says that the treasure includes gems enchanted by Merlin and that they will make him "invincible." He opens the chest and discovers that he's been cheated, which gives Ben the opportunity to attack. A single punch shatters the armor—and the machinery inside. It's a robot! The real Doom, in another part of the castle, activates a screen and tells them he will draw the air from their chamber. Sue, still his hostage, sees her chance. She turns invisible and short-circuits his control panel, which explodes. Doom is caught in the blast. She runs to the chamber and opens the door. Rather than confront Doom, who Reed assumes has traps everywhere, they decide to escape. Reed stretches through a window across the moat, Ben pushes that section of wall open while Reed pulls, and Johnny uses "atomic heat" to make a path across the crocodile-infested moat. Johnny then sets fire to the castle, and Doom escapes with his Rocket-Powered Flying Harness. Before he can catch Doom, Johnny's flame runs out.[Continuity 35]

6. "Captives of the Deadly Duo!"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 6 Part 1 Title

After scouting for Dr. Doom, the Human Torch returns to the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building headquarters to report on his lack of success in finding Doom. He arrives just as his teammates are reading fan mail.[Continuity 36] When Reed gets a letter from a fan who is presently staying at a nearby hospital, Reed stretches out his body to pay the boy a personal visit.[Continuity 37] Meanwhile, Ben gets a mocking letter from the Yancy Street Gang, challenging him to a fight. Ben responds by rolling up a titanium steel tile and telling Johnny to mail it out for him. Ben laments over not being able to face a worthy foe like Dr. Doom or the Sub-Mariner.

These words turn out to be prophetic as, at that very moment, Dr. Doom is seeking out the Sub-Mariner and tracks him down in his aerosub, confronting Namor over the ocean.[Continuity 38] Doom manages to convince Namor that they should work together to destroy the Fantastic Four and take over the world.

Part 2:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 6 Part 2 Title
Victor von Doom (Earth-616) and Namor McKenzie (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 6 0001

Namor invites Doom back to Atlantis, where Doom notes his infatuation with Sue Storm. Doom, however, stirs the Sub-Mariner's anger by reminding him how his kingdom was annihilated by atomic weapons tests[4]. Namor agrees to destroy the Fantastic Four but refuses to harm Sue Storm. Doom agrees to let Sue live and then shows off his latest invention which he wishes to use against the Fantastic Four: a magnetically powered "grabber" device that can pull any object no matter how heavy. Namor then goes to the surface world to confront the Fantastic Four as part of their plan.

Meanwhile, at the Baxter Building, Johnny finds a picture of Namor hidden behind a bookshelf and confronts his sister Sue about it. When she tells Johnny that he has no right to go snooping on her property, Johnny alerts the others about Sue's little secret before burning the picture with his flame powers. When Reed asks for an explanation from Sue, she is at a loss for words to explain her infatuation with the Sub-Mariner. Suddenly, Namor makes his presence known to them.

Part 3:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 6 Part 3 Title

While the male members of the team try to attack Namor, Sue comes to his aid. The others find that Namor is prepared for their attacks, and Reed suddenly realizes that Namor must have planted some kind of trap. Reed and Johnny go to search for it. When they fail to find it, Namor gloats when, suddenly, the Baxter Building is pulled out of its foundation and is drawn into space.[Continuity 39]

Part 4:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 6 Part 4 Title

The Fantastic Four and Namor quickly put on breathing helmets. When Johnny fails to escape in the vacuum of space, Reed tries to grab Doom's ship that is pulling them closer to the sun, but Doom has prepared a defensive rocket that burns Reed's hands. With the void of space being close to that of Earth's oceans, Namor -- realizing he had been betrayed by Doom -- agrees to stop him. He then exits the Baxter Building and "swims" toward Doom's ship.

Part 5:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 6 Part 5 Title
There, he breaks through the hull into the ship but finds a locked and electrified door blocking his way into the control room. The Sub-Mariner then uses his ability to mimic the electricity generating abilities of electric eels to begin shocking Doom through the door, forcing him to retreat.[Continuity 40] Namor breaks in and hurls Dr. Doom into space. In the void of space, Doom is suddenly struck by a passing meteor and is carried away. Namor then takes control of the ship and reverses its course, returning the Baxter Building to its original foundation. The Fantastic Four then find Doom's grabber device stashed away in the basement, but they cannot remove it. Suddenly, it flies away to rendezvous with Namor over the ocean. The Sub-Mariner then crashes the ship and the grabber device into the waters below so they cannot be used again and returns to the ocean himself.

7. "Prisoners of Kurrgo, Master of Planet X"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 7 Title

Part 1:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 7 Part 1 Title

Kurrgo the ruler of Planet X[Continuity 41] is seeking to find a way to save his world from a runaway asteroid that is poised to strike the planet causing an extinction level event. Monitoring the Fantastic Four on Earth, Kurrgo believes that only they can help save his doomed world. This is because the people of Planet X had previously found no reason to explore space and as such only have two working spaceships. Kurrgo takes one of these ships to bring him and his robot to Earth.

On Earth, the Fantastic Four have been invited to attend a government dinner in Washington D.C., although most of the team worries that their powers will cause them to be regarded as freaks or cause embarrassment to themselves, however, they all decide to go when Reed does not accept any of their excuses to bow out. Reed points out to them that he is less than thrilled to go either since he is in the middle of developing a new rocket fuel, but insists that they must attend this social gathering. As they fly to Washington in the Fantasti-Car, Kurrgo's ship lands and his robot uses its atomic scanner to locate the Fantastic Four. As the heroes attend the dinner and are awarded a trophy for their work, Kurrgo activates a Hostility Ray that makes the people of Washington hostile.

Part 2:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 7 Part 2 Title

This also includes the guests at the dinner who begin attacking the Fantastic Four. Not wanting to hurt the civilians, the Four flee the dinner, using their powers to get past the armed guards who try to bar their path. They board the Fantasti-Car and fly back to New York when they notice that they are being followed by Kurrgo's ship and try to flee it, but it follows them the whole way back to their headquarters the Baxter Building.

Part 3:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 7 Part 3 Title

There Kurrgo's robot reveals itself to them and shows how the entire population of Earth now hates the Fantastic Four and that they have swarmed the Baxter Building to try and get at the super group. With no other choice, Reed and the others agree to board Kurrgo's ship and return with them to Planet X.

Part 4:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 7 Part 4 Title

When they arrive on the planet, they learn that Kurrgo has summoned them to use Reed Richard's intelligence to find a way to save his people. Johnny and Ben try to fight against Kurrgo's robot, but Sue makes them stand down and Reed agrees to help. Learning that they have only two working space ships and no time to build more and no means of destroying the asteroid.

Part 5:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 7 Part 5 Title
Reed devises a shrinking gas that he uses to shrink the entire population of the planet so that they can fit in one rocket, giving the only supposed cannister of growing gas to Kurrgo.[Continuity 42] As the Fantastic Four blast off back to Earth in one ship, the people of Planet X pile into another. Kurrgo has decided to withhold the growing gas so that he could rule over his diminutive subjects for the rest of his life. However as the planet begins to crumble, Kurrgo trips and falls and witnesses in horror as the ship containing his people blasts off without him. The Fantastic Four meanwhile rocket back home to Earth where Reed reveals to them that he deceived Kurrgo, as he did not create an enlarging gas, telling his teammates that in the vast universe size is relative and that the people of Planet X will find a suitable home, regardless of their actual size.

8. "Prisoners of the Puppet Master!"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 8 Title

Reed has been working on a formula to try and change the Thing back to human form and has Sue and Johnny try to bar Ben from entering his lab until it is finished. This leads to a fight between Ben and the others. Fed up with being kept in the dark, the Thing puts on his coat and hat and leaves the Baxter Building. Worried about Ben, Sue turns invisible and follows after him to make sure nothing bad happens to him. However, the Thing soon becomes aware that Sue is following him and tells her to leave him be. However, Sue spots someone climbing up to the top of the Queensborough Bridge and fires up a signal flare to alert Reed and Johnny. When Reed cannot stretch that far to save the man, Johnny flames on and flies after him.

Part 2:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 8 Part 2 Title

Not far away is the Puppet Master,[Continuity 43] who is testing out his radioactive clay that can control the people it is modeled after.[Continuity 44] Before he can make the man jump, the Torch saves his life and the heat from the Torch's flame causes feedback that burns the Puppet Master's finger. Furious over the interference the Puppet Master vows to eliminate the Fantastic Four before they can meddle in his plans further. When his step-daughter Alicia enters the room to inquire as to what is wrong, he silences her and tells her to obey his wishes as his step-daughter. To get revenge against the Fantastic Four, the Puppet Master fashions a puppet to resemble the Thing taking control of him and sending orders to come to his apartment. However the Puppet Master is unaware that the Invisible Girl is present with him, and seeing Ben enter a trance-like state, she turns invisible and follows after him to see what's wrong.

When Ben and Sue enter the apartment, Sue's presence is betrayed thanks to Alicia's sensitive hearing. Realizing that the Invisible Girl has followed the Thing to his home, the Puppet Master places gas masks on himself, Alicia and Ben and then fills the room with ether, knocking Sue out. Seeing a resemblance between Sue and Alicia, he disguises Alicia as the Invisible Girl and orders her to accompany the mind controlled Thing back to the Baxter Building so the Fantastic Four will fall for his trap even more. The Puppet Master then begins the next phase of his scheme which involves taking control of the warden of the state prison. When Ben and Alicia arrive at the Baxter Building, both Johnny and Reed are unaware of the trap until Ben suddenly starts attacking them.

Part 3:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 8 Part 3 Title

However, the battle quickly ends when the Thing slams into Reed's chemistry experiment, dousing himself in chemicals that revert him to human form, thus freeing him from the Puppet Master's control. Back in human form, Ben explains everything that happened and Alicia finds comfort in Ben. At first she finds him different, but he suddenly reverts back into the Thing and instantly recognizes him by the touch. Ben is depressed by the fact that the only woman who would be interested in him in his monstrous form just happens to be a blind woman. Meanwhile, the warden at the state prison is ordered by the Puppet Master to free all the prisoners there instigating a massive jailbreak.

Part 4:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 8 Part 4 Title

Waking up from the ether, Sue tries to flee the apartment, but the creaky floorboards give her away. The Puppet Master uses a puppet of Sue to trip her up, but she still manages to fire off a flare signal to alert the Fantastic Four of her location. Soon Ben, Reed, Johnny and Alicia arrive on the scene. While the male members of the group are held at bay by the Puppet Master's robotic puppet, the group saves Sue, but the Puppet Master gets away. They then hear news reports of the prisoners trying to break out of the state prison and rush to the scene to stop the prisoners from escaping.

Part 5:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 8 Part 5 Title
With their superior powers, the Fantastic Four are easily able to stop the prisoners from escaping. Meanwhile, the Puppet Master returns to his apartment to try and utilize a puppet of himself that he believes will make him king of the world. However before he can use the puppet Alicia tries to stop him, knocking the puppet from his hand. Lunging for Alicia, the Puppet Master trips over the puppet and goes crashing out the window, down into the street below. The Fantastic Four then arrive and believing that the Puppet Master is dead, comfort Alicia but are left to wonder what caused him to fall out of the window to his apparent demise.[Continuity 45]

9. "The End of the Fantastic Four!"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 9 Title

The Sub-Mariner is monitoring television broadcasts from the surface to learn that the Fantastic Four has officially declared bankruptcy and are liquidating their assets to pay off their creditors. Learning this Namor is convinced that now is the right time to strike against the group.

At the Baxter Building headquarters of the Fantastic Four, Reed and the others are forced to stand back as creditors begin repossessing Reed's various inventions.[Continuity 46] Unable to stand watching this, the Thing decides to leave to visit his new girlfriend, Alicia. However, when he tries to get a cab he is refused due to the press about the FF's recent financial troubles. In anger, Ben impales the cab on a lamp post and then fires an FF signal flare, bringing Johnny in the Fantasti-Car, who gives Ben a lift to Alicia's house. There, Ben finds his mood soured further when he cannot bring himself to believe Alicia's words of praise and kindness toward him.

When Ben returns to the Baxter Building later it is just moments after a telegram has arrived from SM Studios offering the Fantastic Four to all act in a film based on their lives, offering enough money to the group for them to resume operations. However, despite this salvation, the now penniless super-heroes are forced to hitchhike all the way to Los Angeles to take up the job.

Part 2:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 9 Part 2 Title

When they arrive at SM Studios they are star-struck by all the celebrities upon their arrival.[Continuity 47] When they meet the owner of the studio they are shocked to find that it is none other than the Sub-Mariner who explains to them that he was able to fund the movie studio by selling sunken treasure on the ocean floor. Although he has clashed with them in the past, Namor managed to convince the Fantastic Four that his intentions this time are altruistic in order to help the Fantastic Four earn the money they desperately need.

After acclimatizing them to the Hollywood lifestyle, they then begin shooting the film. Namor takes Reed out to a Mediterranean island where Reed will be filmed apparently fighting the mythical Cyclops,[Continuity 48] convincing Mr. Fantastic that the Cyclops is a mechanical construct.

Part 3:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 9 Part 3 Title

However when Reed stretches to the island he soon learns that the Cyclops is the real creature of myth. While Namor leaves the scene, convinced that Reed will die in the conflict, Mr. Fantastic does just the opposite when he trips the Cyclops making the monster fall into a pit that he cannot get out of. Namor then flies the Human Torch to a part of Africa to battle a tribe of natives whom Namor convinces the Torch that they are really actors. However, after Namor leaves, Johnny realizes that they are the genuine article and that he has been tricked into fighting a tribe of natives who are immune to fire.

Part 4:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 9 Part 4 Title

While they capture Johnny, he manages to flame on and break out of his cell and then superheats a volcano causing an eruption of lava that sends the natives fleeing and then escapes.

Namor then meets with the Thing on a Hollywood beach and informs him that it is him that Ben will have to fight. Although Namor gains the upper hand in the battle, Ben quickly realizes that Namor gets his strength from the ocean and pulls him away from the water.[Continuity 49]

Part 5:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 9 Part 5 Title
The Thing begins turning the battle around when a freak lightning strike hits him causing the Thing to revert to human form. This allows Namor to knock Ben out in a single punch. He then returns to SM Studios where he reveals his entire purpose for bringing the Fantastic Four there was to kill the male members so that he would have Sue all to himself. Sue refuses his advances but is overpowered by Namor's various sea-animal spawned abilities. However, before he can subdue her the male members arrive alive and well (Ben having reverted back into the Thing). They are about to attack Namor when Sue gets in their way and convinces them to stand down. Having been defeated, the Sub-Mariner agrees to honor his deal to complete the film and pay them the money they need and then returns to the ocean. Weeks later the completed Fantastic Four film is released and is a critical success, earning the Fantastic Four enough money to resume their operations.[Continuity 50]

10. "The Return of Doctor Doom!"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 10 Title

Reed Richards is conducting an experiment on how to photograph Sue while she is invisible when suddenly the team notices the Fantastic Four signal flare in the sky. Trying to rush to the signal, Reed finds the locking mechanism on his lab door jammed and uses his stretching powers to try and reach the release on the other side but his arm goes the wrong way, forcing Johnny to use his flame powers to melt through the lock. The group rushes through avid fans to the apartment of Alicia Masters, Ben's girlfriend, where Ben reveals that he just wanted to show his teammates the various sculptures that Alicia has made of the Fantastic Four's various foes.

Meanwhile, at the offices of Marvel Comics, writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, who have been licensed to create Fantastic Four comic books based on the heroes' adventures, are stumped over creating a new villain for the group to fight as all their other previous foes have been vanquished.[Continuity 51] As Jack is trying to pitch a new villain named False-Face they are interrupted by Dr. Doom who demands that they call Reed Richards to their office to lure him in a trap, threatening to show them his horribly scarred face if they do not comply.

Part 2:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 10 Part 2 Title
Victor von Doom (Earth-616) and Reed Richards (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 10 0001
Reed is called over, but when he arrives he is gassed by Dr. Doom who then teleports away with Richards as his prisoner. When Reed awakens at Doom's laboratory, Reed is shocked to see his old foe who was last seen being carried away on a meteor[5]. Doom explains that he survived when he was rescued by an alien race called the Ovoids. Learning that these creatures had great mental powers, Doom forced them to teach him their method of transferring minds into other bodies before they returned him to Earth. Doom then demonstrates this ability by swapping bodies with Reed. The two fight it out, but Dr. Doom has the advantage by using Reed's own stretching powers against him.

Part 3:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 10 Part 3 Title
Reed Richards (Earth-616) trapped in Doom's body from Fantastic Four Vol 1 10
Soon the rest of the team, tipped off by Stan and Jack, arrive at Doom's lab and easily subdue "Dr. Doom", Reed's attempts to convince his team that Doom has swapped bodies with him fall on deaf ears. Doom (pretending to be Reed) then convinces the team that the only way to be rid of Doom is to trap him forever. While the other members of the team suggest ideas to do that, "Reed" has a better idea and shows them a trap that he devised in the basement of the lab. With "Dr. Doom" trapped in an unbreakable glass cage, the rest of the team leaves, leaving Reed and Doom alone. Doom gloats over his victory, pointing out that the air cylinders in the unbreakable glass cage will run out of air in exactly an hour and then leaves Reed to his fate.

Part 4:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 10 Part 4 Title

While pretending to be his greatest enemy, Dr. Doom then begins working on a shrinking ray and starts testing it on animals that his teammates realize have gone missing from one of the local zoos when the animals might break free.[Continuity 52] When Sue and the others start to question "Reed's" work, Doom tells them that he has come up with a theory that the dinosaurs went extinct due to their large bodies and small brains. He then suggests that through a process of shrinking someone in size and then restoring them to normal could boost not only their mental power but their physical abilities. Doom then sells the team on the fact that with this method the Torch would be able to fly in space, Sue would be able to turn selected parts of her body invisible, and Ben would be able to revert back and forth from human form. The group is ecstatic and Doom tells them that he will use it on them once the tests are completed. However, Doom really intends to shrink the group down to nothingness, eliminating his hated enemies forever.

Meanwhile back in the unbreakable glass cage, Reed tries to break through a flaw in the glass using Doom's mask and succeeds in punching holes in it. He then takes one of the air cylinders and plugs the hole with it, then tosses another at the first cylinder. The resulting explosion breaks the glass, freeing Reed from his death trap. He then goes to Alicia's apartment and tries to convince her that he is really Reed Richards trapped in Dr. Doom's body.

Part 5:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 10 Part 5 Title

However, Reed is unaware that Sue was there to tell Alicia the "good news" and she manages to knock Reed out by smashing a vase over his head. When Ben and Johnny arrive, they try to attack "Dr. Doom" but Reed manages to instill doubt in their minds, convincing them to bring him back to the Baxter Building with them. However, they bring "Doom" to "Reed" who binds Reed up so he can conduct his shrinking experiment on the other members of the Fantastic Four. When Doom decides to start on Sue first, Reed tries to protest, raising more doubt in the mind of Johnny and Ben.

Johnny decides to test his suspicions by using his flame powers to create a mirage of a stick of dynamite. When the mirage appears, "Dr. Doom" tries to shield his teammates from the blast with his own body while "Reed" tries to flee the scene. Realizing that "Dr. Doom" was telling the truth, Ben grabs "Reed" and pulls him back into the room. With the ruse revealed the process reverses itself.[Continuity 53] With Doom back in his original body, he begins to attack the Fantastic Four. During the scuffle, Reed is knocked back into the controls of Doom's device. In a bit of irony, Doom's shrink ray blasts himself causing him to shrink to seeming nothingness, leaving the Fantastic Four to wonder if their foe has been vanquished forever.

11. "A Visit With the Fantastic Four"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Fantastic Four Vol 1 11 Title

After visiting with some local fans of theirs, the Fantastic Four get another mail delivery from their mailman Willie Lumpkin. Reading their fan mail, the FF responds to readers' letters:

After trying another serum to change him back to human form, Ben and Reed tell the story about how they met in college and eventually fought in World War II.[Continuity1 1] They then retell the origin of the Fantastic Four.[Continuity1 2] When Sue gets upset by reader mail that expresses people's dislike of her and questions her usefulness on the team, the FF angrily defend Sue by telling of the times that Sue helped the team defeat the Skrulls, and when she saved the team from Dr. Doom's death traps.[Continuity1 3] To cheer Sue up they take her aboard the flying saucer they have had since their adventure on Planet X,[Continuity1 4] where Sue finds a surprise birthday cake waiting for her. As they celebrate Sue's birthday, Willie is slogging back to the Baxter Building with another bag full of fan mail for the FF.

12. "The Incredible Hulk"

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Part 1:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 12 Title

The Thing and Alicia are exiting a symphony auditorium at the end of their date when they notice soldiers marching on the streets. Someone panics as they see through the Thing's disguise and calls him a monster. The soldiers attack Ben -- mistaking him for the Hulk. After they subdue Ben, they realize the error an apologies for the unprovoked attack. Alicia calms Ben down and he returns to the Baxter Building. There he complains about being mistaken for the Hulk to his teammates.The Fantastic Four are soon visited by General "Thunderbolt" Ross, who has come to ask for the Fantastic Four's assistance in destroying the Hulk.

Part 2:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 12 Part 2 Title

Ross then shows them footage of the Hulk as well as the recent destruction of various military test weapons that are being designed by Dr. Bruce Banner. Ross tells them that the military believes that the Hulk is responsible for the destruction of these devices. After coming up with various theories on how to take down the Hulk, the Fantastic Four bring Ross to their newest model of the Fantasti-Car that was designed by Johnny and they all fly to New Mexico to Gamma Base. When they arrive they find that the military's prototype anti-gravity missile has been wrecked. Ross introduces Reed Richards to Bruce Banner, his young assistant Rick Jones, and another scientist named Karl Kort. When Ross tells them that the Fantastic Four will be going after the Hulk, Banner tells his employer that he believes that someone is framing the Hulk for these acts of sabotage. Kort then excuses himself from the meeting and on his way out he bumps into the other members of the Fantastic Four who have been waiting impatiently outside. Kort is frightened by the Thing and flees the hallway, dropping his wallet as he goes, and it is picked up by the Torch.

Part 3:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 12 Part 3 Title

Having become fed up with waiting, the Thing comes bursting into the office with the other members of the Fantastic Four, angering Ross, especially when the Thing picks up an entire bookshelf of phone books and rips them in half. Reed calms down General Ross and Banner goes on to explain that he believes that someone, whom he and Rick have dubbed the "Wrecker", is really responsible for the acts of sabotage. The Human Torch then introduces himself to Rick, showing off his flame powers before handing over Karl Kort's wallet asking Jones to return it to him. Banner and Jones then leave and go to their secret cave hideout. There Bruce shows Rick a scale model of his next invention a device that could erect a force field around a city in order to protect it from a nuclear attack. Bruce vows to stop the Wrecker as the Hulk before he can destroy his invention. Meanwhile, Rick goes to return the wallet to Karl Kort and seeing a card sticking out of it, he is shocked to find that it is a membership card to a communist organization.[Continuity 54] Kort, having sneaked up behind the boy gets the drop on Rick and takes him prisoner at gunpoint.

Part 4:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 12 Part 4 Title
Bruce Banner & Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 12 0001

The Hulk vs. the Thing!

Later the Fantastic Four are testing out a new one man, rail-driven rocket car using the Thing as a test subject. As the Thing rockets down the rails they notice that the rails had been crushed. Ben's rocket car is quickly derailed, but he is saved from a nasty fall by his teammates. When Bruce arrives on the scene and tells them that the Wrecker kidnapped Rick Jones, the Fantastic Four dismiss this, convinced that the Hulk is responsible for the sabotage and Rick's disappearances. Bruce leaves, not revealing to them that a note was left for the Hulk from the Wrecker ordering him to send the Fantastic Four away in order to save Rick's life. Knowing that there is no way he can make the Fantastic Four leave, Banner goes back to his secret lab and uses his Gamma Ray Projector to turn into the Hulk so he can capture the Wrecker himself.[Continuity 55]

The Wrecker meanwhile takes Rick through a series of underground passages to an abandoned frontier town. Also searching the various tunnels are the Hulk and the Fantastic Four. When the Hulk crosses paths with the FF, a fight soon breaks out between him and the Thing.[Continuity 56] Unable to fight in such close quarters, the Hulk forces his way to the surface, where the fight rages on into the old ghost town. The Hulk manages to incapacitate Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch, but as he struggles with the Thing again, a beam is fired through the ground below and strikes the Hulk from behind. Seeing this, the Invisible Girl points it out to the Thing, who digs through the Earth to find its source. Below, he finds a robot, confirming the existence of the Wrecker. Ben easily demolishes the robot and then breaks through a metal door. On the other side, he finds Kort holding Rick prisoner. Before Kort can blast Ben with an atomic-powered weapon, Sue invisibly sneaks around Kort and knocks the gun out of his hand. The Thing then apprehends Kort and frees Rick. They return to the surface to reveal the truth to Reed and Johnny and while they are comparing notes, the Hulk recovers as well and bounds away to his secret lab to change back into Bruce Banner. Bruce is waiting at the military base when they arrive, and he thanks, Reed Richards for his help. The FF is then celebrated by the military before they head back home for New York.

As they fly away, the Hulk watches from the distance as they depart, but the Hulk has a feeling that they will meet again someday.

13. "The Fantastic Four Versus the Red Ghost and His Indescribable Super-Apes!"

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  • Atmo-Web (First appearance)
  • Freeze Gun (The Red Ghost)
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Fantastic Four Vol 1 13 Title

After an experiment on a strange meteor fragment, Reed Richards wants to take a rocket to the Blue Area of the Moon where it came from. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union, a Russian scientist named Ivan Kragoff completes his training of three apes who will pilot his own rocket mission to the moon.[Continuity 57] As the Fantastic Four are blasting off so is Kragoff and his apes. Seeking to duplicate the accident that gave the Fantastic Four their powers, Kragoff had designed his ship to be transparent so that he and his apes would be exposed to an even greater dose of cosmic rays.

Part 2:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 13 Part 2 Title
Fantastic Four (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 13 0001

Although they are spotted by the passing Fantastic Four, Kragoff's attempt worked. Gifted with the power of intangibility, Kragoff rechristened himself the Red Ghost. While his now "Super-Apes" gained powers as well, Igor the baboon became a shape-shifter, Piotr the orangutan gained control of magnetism, while Miklho the gorilla gained enhanced strength. When the Fantastic Four finally land on the moon they discover the ruins of an ancient civilization in its mysterious "Blue Area" as well as a strange citadel off in the distance.[Continuity 58] The group then splits up to explore. While out searching, the Thing is attacked by the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes.

Part 3:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 13 Part 3 Title
Uatu (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 13 0001

However, the fight is abruptly stopped by an alien calling himself the Watcher, who incapacitates the Super-Apes with his vast cosmic powers. The Watcher explains that his race of people has been charged with watching other alien races but have a vow to never interfere.[Continuity 59] Having come to consider the human race to be nothing more than savages fighting over their petty territorial disputes, the Watcher orders them not to bring their war to his home and dispatches the Fantastic Four, Red Ghost and his Super-Apes back to the ruined city where they could fight to the finish so that the Watcher could determine which of them came from a superior country.

Part 4:

Fantastic Four Vol 1 13 Part 4 Title
There the Red Ghost and his apes attack the Fantastic Four and take the Invisible Girl prisoner. Reed and the others then begin searching the ruins for her. Meanwhile, Sue realizes that the Red Ghost has control over the apes by withholding food from them. While the Red Ghost was out fighting her teammates, Sue freed herself by offering to give the Super-Apes food. Overpowered the Red Ghost sought to seek refuge in the Watcher's citadel, only to be buffeted through time and dimensions before being ejected. The Red Ghost was then incapacitated by Mr. Fantastic who was able to fashion a paralyzation ray. With the Red Ghost defeated, the Watcher reappears before the Fantastic Four and congratulates them on their victory and tells them that their country is the superior one and so long as it strives for peace it will have a place in the limitless universe. As the Fantastic Four prepare to leave for Earth, the Red Ghost is freed by his Super-Apes, who have come to get revenge against their former master. In the end Reed decides they should leave the Red Ghost to his fate and they leave the moon in their rocket.

14. "The Merciless Puppet Master"

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  • Psychic Clay
  • Roving Eye Television Camera
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Continued from last issue....

Fantastic Four Vol 1 14 Title

The Fantastic Four are returning from their adventure on the moon, landing their rocket at the airport greeted by a crowd of their fans. Exiting the ship they are swamped by fans, as well as fame seekers such as the wrestler known as the Golden Angel who challenges the Thing to a fight, with disastrous results. After Sue is harassed by Hollywood agents the Human Torch helps his teammates flee back to the Baxter Building by creating a hot air funnel to carry them back home. After settling in, Reed is disturbed to find Sue monitoring the world's oceans to try and find the Sub-Mariner, damaging his self-esteem and leaving him to question the future of their relationship.

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 14 0001

Meanwhile, at a local sanitarium, the Puppet Master -- having survived his last encounter with the Fantastic Four[Continuity 60] -- has been released to start his life over. However, the Puppet Master is far from cured and seeks to get revenge against the Fantastic Four.[Continuity 61] After some consideration, the Puppet Master decides to use his special clay to make the Sub-Mariner his slave and pit him against their mutual foes. Enslaved, the Sub-Mariner returns to his empty kingdom of Atlantis and uses his Mento-Fish to send out a communication asking Sue to come to him. When she meets up with Namor at the docks, he kidnaps her and takes her back to his undersea realm. The Puppet Master then forces Namor to contact the Fantastic Four, telling them that he has the Invisible Girl prisoner and taunt them into coming to rescue her. The Puppet Master then boards a sub to watch the battle from close by.

Hypno-Fish from Fantastic Four Vol 1 14 0002

After the Thing picks up his girlfriend Alicia Masters, the Fantastic Four take a sub of their own to the Sub-Mariner's domain. After fighting through the various undersea defenses,[Continuity 62] Reed, Johnny and Ben confront Namor in his throne room. With Sue trapped in a glass sphere ensnared by an octopus the Fantastic Four square off against the Sub-Mariner. At first the group is kept at bay thanks to the various undersea creatures that Namor has at his disposal, however the Thing manages to get past Namor and free Sue, knocking the octopus out into the ocean. When the Puppet Master tries to order the Sub-Mariner to slay his foes, Namor cannot bring himself to harm Sue and fights off the Puppet Master's control, causing the clay puppet to explode.

When the Fantastic Four try to attack Namor again, Sue stands in their way and convinces them to stand down. Meanwhile, the octopus ejected from the Sub-Mariner's palace reaches the Puppet Master's sub and crushes the submersible before the villain can put the octopus under his control.[Continuity 63] Meanwhile, the Sub-Mariner -- still not over his animosity towards the surface world -- allows his foes to leave his kingdom.

15. "The Fantastic Four Battle the Mad Thinker and His Awesome Android"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 15 Title

After receiving a call from the mayor to deal with the recent surge of mob activity in the city, Reed Richards summons the other members of the Fantastic Four, even though it will interrupt his crucial DNA experiments to do so. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city, a super-genius known as the Mad Thinker revels over how he and his computing machines have been able to assist the local mobs into committing their crimes without being captured. The Thinker then decides to set higher goals and begins plotting to take over the world. When the mob warns him that the Fantastic Four will try and stop him the Thinker tells them that he has already come up with a means to eliminate the heroes and prevent them from interfering in his operations.

Sometime later, the Human Torch is visited by his cousin Bones who informs Johnny that his circus is starting to fail without an attraction to draw people in. Meanwhile, Reed Richards is offered a research position with the prestigious General Electronics Corporation. This also happens to coincide with the Thing being offered a wrestling career and Sue being scouted by a Hollywood agent.[Continuity 64] Returning to the Baxter Building, each member of the Fantastic Four express their desires to seek out these other opportunities and agree to disband for a short period to see if this is what they truly want.

As it turns out these events were orchestrated by the Mad Thinker, and after a meteor strikes the Earth disabling the Baxter Building's security systems, he and the mobsters take over the Fantastic Four's abandoned headquarters. Meanwhile, each member of the Fantastic Four finds their new careers fulfilling compared to their lives as super-heroes. They all decide to return home and are shocked to find the Baxter Building surrounded by crystal. The Thinker then projects a hologram of himself daring the Fantastic Four to face him in their own headquarters. The foursome easily breaks through the crystal barrier and defeat the mobsters armed with Reed's own weapons. They next battled the so-called Awesome Android, an android created by the Mad Thinker based on Reed's own research. They are able to defeat the creature when Reed points out its single weakness.

The Mad Thinker then faces the Fantastic Four alone, but suddenly finds none of the devices in Reed's lab work any longer and is quickly subdued. Reed then reveals that the Mad Thinker was foiled thanks to a contingency plan that he could not have foretold: Before leaving the Baxter Building to take his job at General Electronics, Reed hired their mailman Willie Lumpkin to press a button outside their headquarters every day that would temporarily deactivate all the devices within. With the Mad Thinker's plot ruined, the Fantastic Four turn the criminal mastermind over to the authorities.

16. "The Micro-World of Doctor Doom!"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 16 Title

The Human Torch returns to the Baxter Building to find his teammates have been mysteriously shrunk down in size and narrowly saves them from being sucked into an air vent. Reed, Sue, and Ben suddenly return to their original size just as they are being taunted by a disembodied voice who warns them that this is only the beginning. Comparing notes, the quartet soon realizes that they have all experienced moments where they were suddenly shrunk down in size only to be restored to normal only moments after. Seeking to solve this mystery, Mister Fantastic decides to call in an expert on size changing and calls in the diminutive hero known as Ant-Man for help. Contacted via his network of ants, Ant-Man leaves his partner the Wasp behind to answer the Fantastic Four's summons. Hearing of the Fantastic Four's plight, Ant-Man agrees to provide them with a sample of his shrinking formula before departing.

During some downtime, Reed tests out a new formula in the hopes of curing the Thing, only he chose to test it out while Ben was lifting a heavy piano, causing Grimm to drop it as he reverted back to human form. Ben and Alicia's celebrations are cut short after another voice warning them to beware of Doctor Doom before the transmission is cut off. After the Human Torch shows off his powers to some local teens and Sue attempts to mask her scent to make herself invisible to dogs, the Fantastic Four are called together after another ominous warning. Deciding to finally investigate, Reed gives his teammates a concentrated version of Ant-Man's shrinking formula that causes them to shrink down to a microscopic size.[Continuity 65] They soon transverse into a micro-world and appear in a castle surrounded by guards under the command of Doctor Doom.[Continuity 66]

Before the FF can respond, Doom shrinks them down to size and then explains that after his last defeat at their hands he found himself shrunk to the microscopic world of Sub-Atomica.[Continuity 67] There he impressed Sub-Atomica's king with his inventive genius earning his trust until he could construct a new shrink ray and use it to shrink the king and his daughter Pearla. With Sub-Atomica under his control he began plotting his revenge against the Fantastic Four. When Doom orders the group captured, they fight back, only for Doom to capture Sue and use her as a hostage to force the others to surrender. Incapacitated by knock-out gas, the FF awake to find themselves in a dungeon along with the king and his daughter. Learning that their prison is below a sea of acid, escape appears to be impossible. Pearla explains that she and her father were imprisoned after she refused to be Doom's bride and that the Doctor had formed an alliance with her people's dreaded enemies the Lizard Men of Tok.

Meanwhile back on Earth, Ant-Man returns to the Baxter Building to investigate when the Fantastic Four failed to return. Suspecting they are in trouble, Ant-Man also shrinks himself down to size until he enters Sub-Atomica. There he battles the guards but is subdued and brought before Doom as a prisoner. As this is happening, the FF use their powers to construct a crude submersible from the walls of their prison to protect them from the acid outside. Arriving in the castle, the group restores themselves to normal and fight off the guards. Seeing this as a losing battle, Doom uses his device to restore himself to his normal size and escape to Earth. With Doom's coupe smashed, the Fantastic Four then use the device to return to their native universe as well.

17. "Defeated by Doctor Doom!"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 17 Title

Returning to the Baxter Building following their adventure in the realm of Sub-Atomica, [Continuity 68] the Fantastic Four bid farewell to their ally Ant-Man. Now wishing to the rest for a moment, Reed sends out the team to hunt for Doctor Doom after he managed to escape from them. However, each individual search leads to disaster and the Fantastic Four give up for the time being. Deciding to go out on the town, they find the main throughway in the Baxter Building to be crowded and are offered a lift in the service elevator by a man who appears to be the janitor. However this turns out to be Doctor Doom in disguise, and he manages to tag each of the Fantastic Four with a tracking device when he shakes their hands. These devices allow Doom's android creations to follow after the Fantastic Four, interrupting Johnny and the Thing's dates, one of Sue's photo shoots, and a lecture that Reed was attending. Rushing back to their headquarters, none of the FF can shake their pursuers. It's not until Reed can analyze the group does he finds Doom's tracking devices. Upon removing the devices, their android pursers fade to nothingness.

Alicia Masters, Doctor Doom's Armor, Grappler Ray, Victor von Doom (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 17

Doom gloats that the first phase of his plan, humiliating his hated enemies, was a great success and begins the next part of his plan. Tracking down Alicia Masters, Doom uses a device to pull her aboard his massive floating laboratory concealed in the sky. When the news reaches the Fantastic Four, Doom sends them a holographic warning to cease any attempts at stopping him in order to keep Alicia safe. When Doom later threatens the United States government, they decline to meet his demands of complete surrender. In response, Doom activates a device that causes America's missile defenses to stop functioning. This course of action attracts the attention of the Russian government.[Continuity 69] After meeting with a member of the State Department, Mister Fantastic begins formulating a plan on how to defeat Doctor Doom. After scanning Doom's ship, Reed learns that it is protected by a powerful force field that is keyed in to their DNA and would destroy any member of the Fantastic Four on contact.

However Reed devises a solution: since the force field is set to destroy Ben in his Thing form, he develops a temporary cure for Ben that changes him back into human form. Ben is then launched in a transparent craft at Doom's fortress. Ben holds off his transformation back into the Thing long enough to breach the barrier unharmed and smash into the ship. After the force field is destroyed the rest of the FF join Ben in the attack. While the male members of the team provide a distraction for Doom, Sue manages to find Alicia and hides her and takes her place. When the Doctor tries to claim his hostage, he is taken off guard by Sue's powers of invisibility. Overpowered by his foes, Doom opens an escape hatch and leaps out of his ship,[Continuity 70] falling to his seeming demise. With Doom defeated, the Fantastic Four recover Alicia who is happily reunited with the Thing.[Continuity 71]

18. "A Skrull Walks Among Us!"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 18 Title

After watching the news coverage of their battle against Doctor Doom,[Continuity 72] Reed and Sue prepare to go on a test run to the Hawaiian islands in the new experimental passenger I.C.B.M. device. While they are gone the Torch and the Thing go on separate dates.

Meanwhile, in the fifth quadrant of the Andromeda galaxy,[Continuity 73] the emperor of the Skrulls[Continuity 74] has finalized his plans to destroy the Fantastic Four after his people's last failed attempt to invade the Earth.[Continuity 75] This time the Skrulls have created a new warrior called the Super-Skrull who can mimic all of the abilities of the Fantastic Four but is far more powerful than his foes. After demonstrating his powers, the Super-Skrull is given orders to conquer the Earth.

A week later, the Fantastic Four are out shopping when they hear radio reports that an alien being had landed in Times Square.
Kl'rt (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 18 0001
They arrive just as the Super-Skrull had declared the Earth as belonging to the Skrulls and planting the Skrull flag. When a mob of people confronts the alien, the Super-Skrull easily bats them aside. When the group tries to battle the Super-Skrull, they find that they are no match for his superior abilities, especially when he combines them and uses his naturally born Skrull shape-shifting powers. When the Fantastic Four are forced to flee the scene, the Super-Skrull allows them to leave, planning on going after them later.
Reed Richards (Earth-616) and Kl'rt (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 18 0001
Back in his lab, Reed begins investigating the source of the Super-Skrull's power as they are not natural. He soon deduces that the energies needed to power him are beamed from the Skrull homeworld. With this knowledge, Reed constructs a device that will jam the Super-Skrull's powers. The FF then goad the Skrull into meeting them on a deserted island for their final battle. There, the Fantastic Four keep the Super-Skrull occupied while the Invisible Girl plants the jamming device on their foe. The device works as planned, blocking the energies needed to power the Super-Skrull. Without his powers, the Skrull is knocked into a crater on the island and is trapped below by the Torch who uses his powers to fuse sand over the opening.

19. "Prisoners of the Pharoah!"

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Fantastic Four Vol 1 19 Title

While studying an Egyptian exhibit, Reed Richards reads off a hieroglyph about a substance which apparently restored the blindness of a pharaoh during a mostly unrecorded era of the Egyptian empire. Telling Alicia of this discovery, the Fantastic Four decide to use Dr. Doom's time machine to travel into the past and retrieve this element in order to restore Alicia's vision.[Continuity 76]

Fantastic Four (Earth-616) and Nathanial Richard (Earth-6911) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 19 0001

There the FF are attacked by an Egyptian army that takes them, prisoner, when their powers fail them. Brought before their master, the Pharaoh known as Rama-Tut,[Continuity 77] the FF learn that he is a time traveler from the year 3000 who came to this time because his future was one without conflict and adventure and he had grown bored. He explains that upon arriving in Egyptian times.[Continuity 78] Upon his arrival, Rama-Tut lost his vision but soon restored it with a radioactive isotope from his ship and was able to conquer the area and rule. Hoping to entice the Fantastic Four to travel back in time, he planted the hieroglyph so that he could battle the historic figures.

Nathaniel Richards (Rama-Tut) discovers ancient plans in Fantastic Four vol 1 19
Making Sue his "queen" and putting the other members of the Four into slavery, all seems lost until the Thing spontaneously returns to normal due to exposure to the Egyptian sun.[Continuity 79] Escaping, he is able to get a hold of Rama-Tut's Diode-Ray and free Sue, however, the radiation from the weapon returns him to his Thing-form. Freeing the others, the Fantastic Four lead up a rebellion to bust up Rama-Tut's kingdom.[Continuity 80] With no means of defending himself, Rama-Tut fled this era in his time ship, leaving the FF to find the isotope that could restore Alicia's vision. The Fantastic Four then use their Time-Platform to return to the present.[Continuity 81] However, upon traveling through Dr. Doom's time machine, Reed realizes that it won't transport radioactive substances, and so they return from their mission empty-handed.

20. "The Mysterious Molecule Man!"

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Synopsis

Fantastic Four Vol 1 20 Title
After examining an asteroid with proof of organic life in space, the Fantastic Four investigate a strange fireball that has appeared in the streets.
Owen Reece (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 20 002
Sucked into it, they find it's a device belonging to the Watcher. Inside, the Watcher tells the Fantastic Four of a man who was exposed to a nuclear accident which transformed him into the Molecule Man.[Continuity 82] Warning of the potential danger of the Molecule Man's molecule altering abilities, the Watcher sends out the FF to stop him.[Continuity 83]


In their initial conflict, the FF seem unable to defeat him and each attempt to stop the Molecule Man is met with failure. Fed up with the FF's interference, the Molecule Man erects a glass dome around Manhattan and demands that the people of the city help him capture the FF.

Owen Reece (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 20 004
Reed eventually realizes that the Molecule Man's powers don't seem to have any effect on organic material and so they lay a trap in which they pose as statues in Alicia's apartment, while Alicia alerts the Molecule Man of their location.[Continuity 84] When the Molecule Man's powers fail to affect the FF, they are able to knock his wand -- the focal point of his power -- out of his hands and keep it away from him long enough for the Watcher to arrive and take the Molecule Man away. The Watcher takes the Molecule Man to an alternate dimension where time travels faster so that he would age soon and die.

21. "The Hate-Monger!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

The Fantastic Four are enjoying some downtime when suddenly their base begins to shake out of control. Johnny, Reed, and Sue discover the source is the Thing who is going full strength on his punching bag after reading news reports regarding the Hate-Monger, a cowled rabble-rouser who has been using hate speech to incite xenophobia among the citizens of New York City. Reed tries to calm Ben down by telling him that bigots usually get what they deserve. Not long after, while the FF are out on the town, they come across one of the Hate-Monger's rallies where the Hate-Monger works up the crowd into such a frenzy that they attack a man due to his ethnicity. When the Thing intervenes to disperse the mob, the Hate-Monger pulls out his Hate-Ray and uses it on the team. The effects are instant and the Fantastic Four begin to squabble among each other. Pushed by their artificially induced hatred, the Fantastic Four eventually decide to break up, as each member comes to believe that they are better than the others, much to the pleasure of the Hate-Monger.

Reed Richards returns to the Baxter Building to find that security is fighting with a man in the lobby who is trying to gain access to the Fantastic Four's headquarters. Reed is surprised to find that it is Nick Fury, wartime hero,[Continuity 85] an agent of the CIA,[Continuity 86] and a colleague from his military days.[Continuity 87] After briefly reminiscing of the past, Fury tells of civil unrest and rioting in the South American nation of San Gusto, a country that is important to American interests and asks for the Fantastic Four's help in quelling the violence. Fury is surprised to hear that the Fantastic Four have broken up and decides to stay behind as Richards goes off to San Gusto alone. When the Pogo Plane lifts off from the Baxter Building, it is seen by the Thing, Johnny and Sue, who decide to go back to their headquarters to see what is going on. There they find Nick Fury, who plays on the trio's jealousy of each other to convince them to go to San Gusto as well. The trio and Fury all leave in the passenger ICBM that is launched from the roof of the Baxter Building.

Unknown to them all, the Hate-Monger is responsible for the unrest in San Gusto and has since relocated there via a sub-surface missile. While the Hate-Monger begins preparing weapons for his armies, Reed Richards is doing his best to destroy weapons caches across the country. However while on his mission, Richards is knocked out by a gas attack and is taken prisoner. The Hate-Monger shows his master plan, that from San Gusto he can utilize a massive Hate-Ray weapon that bounces off the moon to hit a target anywhere on Earth. Before the Hate-Monger can do more, Nick Fury ambushes him. Caught off guard, the Hate-Monger is forced to give over the antidote for his Hate-Ray. While Fury is busy administering the cure to Reed, their foe and his minions manage to escape. While Reed tracks down his errant teammates and administers the cure for them, Nick Fury follows the Hate-Monger to pin him and his men down before they could operate their global Hate-Ray. In the ensuing battle, the Invisible Girl uses her powers to get close to the Hate-Monger. When he tries to use his Hate-Ray, Sue ruins his aim, causing the ray to hit his two bodyguards. The guards then turn their weapons on the Hate-Monger, gunning him down. With their enemy dead, Nick Fury unmasks him and they are all shocked to see that their foe was apparently Adolf Hitler, the former Nazi dictator.[Continuity 88] With the Hate-Monger destroyed, the Fantastic Four return home.

22. "The Return of the Mole Man!"

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The Fantastic Four has gathered to watch as Reed Richards conducts a test on Sue to examine the full extent of her invisibility powers. She shows off the ability to create an invisible force field and invisible objects that are strong enough to withstand both the Thing's most powerful blows and the Torch's flame powers.[Continuity 89] The test is interrupted when a police officer arrives to inform them that they have received complaints from the people in the neighborhood regarding the ICBM that the Fantastic Four uses on their missions. While the Thing deals with a flood of angry phone calls from area residents, the Torch deals with an artist who is threatening to sue, due to his claims that one of his works of art was melted into slag one day when Johnny flew past his window. With these disruptions dealt with, the Fantastic Four continue to watch Sue's demonstration of her powers. They witness as she can turn herself or other objects invisible, but they learn that she only has the ability to turn one object or herself invisible at a time. The demonstration is interrupted once again, this time by the Women's Canasta and Mah Jong Society, who complain about Reed's dangerous experiments. After they are scared off by the Thing, Reed ponders the recent spate of complaints and decides that perhaps it is time to move some of the FF's more dangerous experiments and equipment to a safer location. Coincidentally, Reed received a pamphlet in the mail regarding an island for sale in New Jersey that he believes fits those needs.

The Fantastic Four fly out in their U-Car to check out the island, but while they are exploring, their ship sinks into the water, trapping them on the island. Spotting a figure in the shadows running away, the FF follow after it into a cave. There they are surprised to see that the man they were pursuing is their old foe the Mole Man, who reveals that the entire series of events leading up to their coming to the island was all part of his plan to get revenge against the Fantastic Four. When the Mole Man activates a trap door, the Fantastic Four fall into an arena-like trap that is surrounded by a ring of lethal radioactive energy that prevents them from leaving. The Mole Man then explains that he survived their last encounter by escaping the destruction of Monster Island using the various tunnels within Subterranea.[Continuity 90] He then reveals his plan to lower New York City and Moscow below the surface of the Earth, in the hopes that both governments will blame each other for the strange occurrence and kick off World War III and eradicate everyone on the surface, so the Mole Man can claim it for himself.

However, before the Mole Man can hit the trigger button, Sue puts a force field around it. While the Mole Man is distracted, she creates another one around herself and her teammates, so they can get past the radioactive barrier that was keeping them prisoner. But their attack on the Mole Man is thwarted when their foe unleashes various traps that are designed to counter-act their powers. The Fantastic Four manage to break loose of these traps and chase the Mole Man. But their foe manages to escape under the cover of darkness, due to his radar-like senses. As the Fantastic Four find their U-Car and flee the scene, the Mole Man gets back to his throne room. When he activates the trigger button, he realizes too late that Reed Richards had rewired the device, so that it sinks the Mole Man's island instead.[Continuity 91]

23. "The Master Plan of Doctor Doom!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Due to the lack of observation from his teammates, Reed Richards has to chase a dinosaur that has come through Doctor Doom's Time Platform.[Continuity 92] When the creature is captured and returned to his proper time, Reed scolds his teammates for not following his orders. This leads to an argument between the members of the Fantastic Four. The Thing suggests that they elect a new leader for the group, an idea that is shared by both Johnny and Sue.

Meanwhile, a mysterious man watches over the bail hearing for a thieving carnival act who calls himself Yogi Dakor. The man pays Yogi's bail and brings him to a warehouse where Dakor joins two other criminals: protection racketeer Bull Brogin and "Handsome" Harry Phillips, a con-man. They are surprised to see that the "man" who bailed them out was really a robot and that they were gathered by Doctor Doom to be his instruments in destroying his hated foes the Fantastic Four.

Back at the Baxter Building, Ben, Sue, and Johnny decide to have a vote to see who should be the next leader of the Fantastic Four. This election proves useless when each member votes for themselves. This leads to Johnny and Ben coming to blows as Sue watches. The fight is broken up by Mister Fantastic who points out that they need his leadership, particularly with the threat of Doctor Doom still looming over them. He then puts them to work cleaning up the mess created by Johnny and Ben's brawl.

Back at his secret hideout, Doctor Doom puts his minions through an experimental process to endow them with super-human powers. Harry is granted enhanced hearing that will allow him to hear the Invisible Girl no matter how hard she tries to be quiet. Bull is given enhanced strength, although not as a strong to beat the Thing. Finally, Yogi Dakor is made completely fireproof in order to best handle the Human Torch. Thus the Terrible Trio is born. In order to lure the Fantastic Four into a trap, Doom has Yogi Dakor pose as a wealthy Maharajah who is gifting the Human Torch with a fireproof automobile. When the Torch finally realizes it is a trap, he is shocked to find that Yogi Dakor is as impervious to his flame powers as the car and is felled by knock out gas.

The Thing is later lured out to Yancy Street after receiving yet another taunting letter from the Yancy Street Gang.[Continuity 93] There he is attacked by Bull Brogin. At first, the Thing has the upper hand, but Brogan utilizes a device that briefly reverts Ben back to human form. Without the power of the Thing, Grimm is quickly knocked out and taken prisoner. Back at the Baxter Building, Reed tests out Sue's reflexes with an ambush attack but it is not received well, as she is still angry at him. After Reed leaves, she is visited by Harry Phillips, who is posing as a flower delivery boy. He plans to knock her out with a knock-out formula in the flowers, but Phillips reveals his intent too soon and Sue manages to hold her breath and escape by turning invisible. This proves to be a failed strategy, as Phillips is able to hear her movements and blast her with knock-out gas as well. Reed is later lured into a trap set by Doctor Doom, who uses a robot fashioned after the Thing to send out a Fantastic Four signal flare to lure Reed out. When Richards shows up, both the Thing robot and Doom manage to capture him in an escape-proof container.

Doom then takes Richards back to his hideout where his other teammates are prisoner. Doom then tricks the Terrible Trio into thinking they are getting paid, but instead of money, the box containing their "reward" spirits them off to another dimension where Doom can call on them whenever he needs them next.[Continuity 94] As the Fantastic Four begin to break out of their confinement, Doom attacks them directly, able to hold his own with the various technological gadgets in his armor. But when the Fantastic Four begin gaining the upper hand, Doom seals them in the room. This room had been prepared to take advantage of a "Solar Wave" that was passing through the Earth that would transport the Fantastic Four into the oblivion of deep space. As the Solar Wave passes it begins to open a portal into space in the very room. Realizing what is happening, Reed commands Sue to use her invisible force field to pin Doom to the wall outside, putting him at risk of falling through the portal as well. Not willing to die along with his enemies, Doom opens a window into the room in order to try and disable the trap. This allows the Fantastic Four to pull the Doctor into the room. As Doom struggles with the Thing, he falls through the portal and into space.[Continuity 95] With their enemy seemingly vanquished, the Fantastic Four escape through the window to safety. In the aftermath of the battle, the other members of the Fantastic Four realize that Reed is the only one fit to lead them.

24. "The Infant Terrible!"

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After the Fantastic Four put on a photoshoot for publicity they head back to the Baxter Building in the Fantasticar.[Continuity 96] En route they are shocked when suddenly a massive milk bottle materializes around them, trapping them inside. Breaking free and descending into the city below, they witness other impossibilities: strange walls erected in the street stalling traffic, a massive toy top, and a robot that multiplies every time the Thing strikes it. When Times Square is suddenly filled with an army of robots, Reed deduces that sound will affect them and has the police sound their sirens. When bombarded by the cacophony of emergency sirens, the robots vanish.

With the immediate crisis over, the Fantastic Four spot the source of all this chaos: a small green alien whose antenna can project reality altering energies.[Continuity 97] Sue tries to use her invisibility to sneak up on the creature, but it is startled by the arrival of some photographers and lashes out with its power, sending a rain of meteors down. While the Fantastic Four are busy dealing with this new threat, the alien creature slips away unnoticed.

With the news of this creature on the loose, a mobster named Big Joe tracks down the alien and takes advantage of his powers. When Big Joe realizes that the alien must be a child, he and his men ply it with candy and ice cream. Back at the Baxter Building, Reed has come to this same conclusion and has dubbed their alien menace the Infant Terrible. Reed warns his teammates that unchecked, the Infant Terrible's powers are without limit, making him not only a global threat but a universal one as well. Reed sends out the rest of the team to locate the Infant while he works on something in his lab.

Meanwhile, Big Joe appears to have succeeded in tricking the young alien into doing his bidding when the Infant uses his powers to help steal an armored truck filled with money. This plan backfires when the Infant transforms the money into a pig, flying money bags, and mud. Big Joe tries another approach by coaxing the alien to increase the size of a diamond for him. The Infant Terrible initially complies, but then changes the diamond into an egg. Finally fed up, Joe orders his men to shoot the alien, but before they can, they are discovered by the Fantastic Four. After they subdue the mobsters, the FF follow the Infant Terrible, but it is already frightened and creates a monster out of rocks to defend itself. While his teammates deal with this new threat, Reed manages to use his communications equipment to make contact with an alien ship in their solar system.

By this point the Infant Terrible has had enough and returns to the city, unleashing the full force of its power. Just as the alien ship arrives, the Infant begins doing the one thing that Reed feared would happen: it begins using its powers to pull the sun closer to Earth. Before this can wipe out the entire planet, the Infant Terrible is stopped by the occupants of the alien ship that turn out to be members of the same race. In the panic below, Alicia Masters stumbles around blindly trying to find her beloved Ben. As she falls over, the Fantastic Four pass by in the Fantasticar and pull her off the road before she can be run over. In the aftermath of the chaos, the Fantastic Four learn that the aliens who came for the Infant Terrible were the alien's parents who had lost track of their wayward child. With the Infant placated, the aliens then take their son and return to the stars.

25. "The Hulk Vs. the Thing"

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Reed Richards has once again created a formula he believes will cure the Thing. However, this time, Ben is uninterested in a cure, because his girlfriend Alicia Masters loves him the way he is.[Continuity 98] When Reed presses the issue, the Thing destroys the beaker containing the cure, much to Reed's frustration. When Alicia later arrives, she informs the group of the latest news about the Avengers' manhunt for the Hulk.[Continuity 99]

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, the Hulk flees from the authorities. With a cordon surrounding the area, the Hulk forces some truck drivers to stow him in the back of their truck. As he sleeps, the Hulk reverts to Bruce Banner.[Continuity 100] When the truck is stopped at a checkpoint, Banner flees into the desert. Banner seeks shelter in a nearby cave, hoping that he can find Rick Jones and get help. Unfortunately, the stress causes him to transform into the Hulk once again, and Hulk seeks shelter in his cave.[Continuity 101] Elsewhere, the Avengers and their ally, Rick Jones, search the nearby wreckage for clues to the Hulk's whereabouts. As their search turns up nothing, the Hulk learns that the Avengers have replaced him with Captain America and decides to get revenge against them.[Continuity 102] The Hulk then bounds off to New York City to face them.

Back at the Baxter Building, Reed suddenly collapses while working on an experiment and Johnny is sent out in the Fantasticar to fetch a doctor. Along the way, he spots the Hulk trashing the streets and flames on to face the gamma-spawned monster. The Torch is no match for the Hulk and is quickly defeated and his flame smothered. As the news of the Hulk reaches the Baxter Building, Reed tells Ben and Sue to deal with the Hulk instead of him, leaving them to worry that his sudden illness is grim and their leader might die. When they arrive at the scene, Johnny is still fighting a losing battle against the Hulk. Sue protects her brother with her invisible force field but soon passes out from the strain. That's when the Thing steps in for a rematch against the Hulk.[Continuity 103] As the Thing and the Hulk battle it out through the city, Reed tries to leave his bed to help the team but finds that his malady has made him too weak to do anything. Ben and the Hulk's battle takes them onto the George Washington Bridge. Exhausted, Ben tries to get a reprieve by trying to bind the Hulk in one of the bridge's tension cables.

Meanwhile, Sue returns to the Baxter Building with a doctor and the prognosis is grim: Reed has been afflicted by an unknown virus, and all the doctor can recommend is bed rest. Meanwhile, the Hulk defeats the Thing in battle and moves on, seeking his revenge against the Avengers. Left behind, the Thing picks himself up and follows after the Hulk, intent on stopping him.

26. "The Avengers Take Over!"

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Synopsis

Continued from last issue...

Following his defeat, while battling the Hulk, the Thing pulls himself up and starts the fight anew as an army of soldiers and news crews watch. Watching this on television, Mister Fantastic tries to go into action but is still too weak from his illness to do anything. Out of concern, Sue calls for an ambulance and hands over the formulas that Reed had been working on, so the doctors can try to cure him. Also at the hospital is the Human Torch, who has been patched up following his failed battle with the Hulk. Realizing that the Hulk is still on a rampage, Johnny flames on and heads back into battle, despite his injury.

He catches up to the Thing and the Hulk, who are still brawling, and tries to lend Ben a hand. When the Hulk swats the two away, the soldiers step in by firing a mortar shell at the Hulk, but he easily deflects the shot. Johnny is winded after the conflict, and Ben tells him to stay put while he continues after the Hulk. As he plods along, Ben shrugs off an attempt by reporters to interview him. Meanwhile, the Hulk has retreated into the subway, where he commandeers a train to ride toward Avengers Mansion. When he arrives, he finds that the Avengers are waiting for him, and a battle breaks out. Outnumbered, the Hulk grabs Rick Jones and then flees the scene, unaware that the Wasp is following him.

Back at the hospital, the doctors have succeeded in formulating an antidote that instantly cures Mister Fantastic. The Fantastic Four regroup and head out to stop the Hulk, once and for all. They spot the Hulk on the street as he is stunned by the Wasp, who is using her Wasp's sting in his ear. Distracted, the Hulk is ambushed by the Avengers and the Fantastic Four at the same time.[Continuity 104] However, the two groups are uncoordinated and get in each other's way. During the confusion, the Hulk bounds onto a nearby construction site. After a brief squabble about who is best suited to stop the Hulk, both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four agree to work together. This time, the two teams proved too much for the Hulk.[Continuity 105] In the ensuing chaos, Rick tosses a gamma-ray treated capsule into the Hulk's mouth.[Continuity 106] This triggers a transformation into his alter-ego as he falls into the Hudson River. It's Bruce Banner who surfaces from the water and is swept away by the current.[Continuity 107]

In the aftermath of the battle, Rick is commended for his bravery and the Avengers and Fantastic Four part company as allies.

27. "The Search for Sub-Mariner!"

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  • Air-Sea Speedster

Synopsis

Sue is surprised when she sees Reed using a device that projects his thoughts and sees that he is thinking of her. When trying it on Ben afterward, the Thing conjures up images of Doctor Doom, frightening him. When Reed asks Sue to try it on she declines, not wanting to have her thoughts revealed. When Ben starts asking Reed why he hasn't asked Sue to marry him, Reed tells both Ben and Johnny that he plans on doing just that.

Meanwhile, in his abandoned kingdom, the Sub-Mariner broods over his desire to have Sue Storm as his bride.[Continuity 108] When he orders the last of his followers to assist him in capturing her, they decline and abandon him as well. Deciding to deal with things himself, Namor disguises himself and travels to the surface world. At the Baxter Building, he incapacitates both the Thing and the Human Torch before revealing himself to Sue. Namor demands that Sue return with him into the sea and become his queen, but when she refuses to comply, he gasses her and takes her prisoner. When Reed returns from his shopping trip with an engagement ring, he is shocked to hear from Ben and Johnny that she had been kidnapped by the Sub-Mariner yet again.[Continuity 109] Suddenly becoming furious, Reed goes after Namor alone, fighting off Ben and Johnny when they try to calm him down.

Without Reed to guide them, both Ben and Johnny are unable to track down Namor. They reach out to the mystic known as Doctor Strange. Seeing Johnny's flaming message in the sky, Strange sends his ectoplasmic form to meet them at the Baxter Building. Doctor Strange agrees to help, and his form ventures out to find Namor's kingdom. Finding it, he confirms that Sue is safe before returning to tell Ben and Johnny her location. Meanwhile, Reed finds Namor's domain and attacks the Sub-Mariner. As Reed gains the upper hand, Namor's troops return to their king.[Continuity 110]

Back at the Baxter Building, Doctor Strange teleports Johnny and Ben to help Reed in battling the Atlantean soldiers. As Reed struggles with Namor, Ben holds off the soldiers while the Torch frees his sister. When the Atlanteans try to flood the chamber, the two siblings work together to stop the room from filling with water. Namor regroups with his soldiers and gets a powerful cannon, however when they fire on Ben and Reed, they discover the weapon apparently has no effect. It turns out that they were being protected by Sue's force field. She tells Namor that she does not love him and that she truly loves Reed. Observing from afar, Doctor Strange sees this as an opportune moment to step in and teleport the Fantastic Four aboard Reed's submarine. While Namor is disorientated, the quartet makes a hasty retreat. Despite Sue's claims that she loves only Reed, he is convinced that she only said so in order to protect him from Namor, leaving him in doubt about proposing to her.[Continuity 111]

28. "We Have to Fight the X-Men!"

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Synopsis

The Thing is moving Alicia Masters' latest sculpture which this time represents himself, as Reed and Sue are reading the latest newspaper reports about the mysterious mutant heroes known as the X-Men.[Continuity 112] When telling the others about it, the Torch recalls how he recently fought alongside Iceman.[Continuity 113] After finishing his task, Ben upsets Alicia by bringing up her step-father, the Puppet Master.

Incidentally, the Puppet Master has agreed to meet with another foe of Fantastic Four, the Mad Thinker, who has developed a plan to destroy their mutual foes. The Thinker has determined that the X-Men's telepathic leader could be used to manipulate the X-Men into attacking the FF.[Continuity 114] Having tabulated circumstantial evidence to make a passing composition of this mysterious leader, the Puppet Master is able to mold a new puppet out of his clay. Despite the fact that it is lacking any facial features, it enthralls the X-Men's leader Professor X, at the X-Men's school. Under the Puppet Master's control, Charles Xavier summons the X-Men and orders them to destroy the Fantastic Four.

Even though they are confused by these orders, the X-Men comply and fly their helicopter to the Baxter Building. Initially, they act friendly to the Fantastic Four, who invite the young mutants into their home. Reed is showing his latest work when the X-Men's field leader Cyclops launches the attack with his optic blasts. With Cyclops and Beast battling Mister Fantastic and the Human Torch, Marvel Girl uses her telekinetic powers against the Thing, and Angel and Iceman attack the Invisible Girl. When the male members of the Fantastic Four begin gaining the upper hand, Mr. Fantastic orders them to pretend to surrender. The X-Men flee the scene with Sue as their prisoner. Reed and the others follow the X-Men with the Pogo Plane to the Mad Thinker's hideout, where the X-Men are commanded by Xavier to continue their battle against the Fantastic Four.

The Mad Thinker launches various weapons to subdue the Fantastic Four. The Puppet Master and Thinker reveal themselves, and Professor X is ordered to make the X-Men unconscious. However, the Beast resists Xavier's mental command and breaks the puppet which binds their leader. The Mad Thinker orders his Awesome Android to his aid, and battle against the X-Men ensues. Meanwhile, Fantastic Four break free from the Thinker's traps and come to help the mutants. However, it's Professor X who defeats the Android by "applying mental pressure to a certain section of the Android's artificial nervous system." During the confusion, the Thinker and Puppet Master escape, leaving the Awesome Android behind. With the threat now over, Professor X orders the X-Men to return home, leaving the Fantastic Four to wonder if they will ever meet the mutant group again.

29. "It Started on Yancy Street!"

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Synopsis

Fed up with the constant aggravation of the Yancy Street Gang, the Thing leads the FF down into Yancy Street, but the streetwise gang forces the FF to flee the scene. After yet another explosive package is sent to the Baxter Building, Thing convinces the FF to go once more to deal with the Yancys, once and for all.[Continuity 115]

However, this is all a ruse planned by the Red Ghost, who attacks the FF with his Super-Apes. During the fight, Red Ghost takes Johnny prisoner, forcing the rest of the team to surrender. Taking them aboard a spacecraft, the Red Ghost dumps the FF in an airless area of the moon to perish, in revenge for his last defeat at their hands.

Breaking free and protected by Sue's force field, the FF tunnel to the Watcher's citadel.[Continuity 116] They are greeted by the Watcher, who is contacting them from light years away to advise them they are allowed to stay in his home while he's away, so long as they do not tamper with any of the technology found there.[Continuity 117]

Disobeying the Watcher, they use a device to draw the Red Ghost back to the Moon, where they have a rematch. During the fight, the Red Ghost gets a hold of one of the Watcher's weapons. It creates a strange portal when he activates it, and he ironically becomes its victim when he is knocked into it by Sue.[Continuity 118] With their master defeated, the Super-Apes retreat to their ship.[Continuity 119] The Watcher returns. He is not upset by the FF's actions, but cannot permit them to stay in his home, so transports them back to Earth, where the Thing is glad to be home, even if they did materialize on Yancy Street.

30. "The Dreaded Diablo!"

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  • Baron Hugo

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  • The World's Rich and Powerful
    • Featherstone
  • Dracula (Mentioned)

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  • Diablo's Alchemy Potions
    • Unbreakable Solution
  • Daily Bugle

Synopsis

While on vacation in Transylvania, the Fantastic Four get lost exploring the forests and come across an ancient castle, and they are told to stay away from it by Baron Hugo. However, that night the Thing answers a call to the castle and unwittingly frees the master alchemist Diablo.

When the FF arrive to see what happened to the Thing, they find that Diablo has almost succeeded in restoring Ben to his human form. When Reed tries to attack Ben for betraying them to Diablo, Ben defends the Alchemist, hoping that he can succeed where Reed had failed.

Diablo then begins selling his Alchemy potions the world over, and takes Transylvania under his control. Meanwhile, he tricks Ben into taking a potion that turns him into the Thing once more. The Thing then returns to the FF and leads them in trying to stop Diablo. When Diablo manages to capture his friends, the Thing smashes through the castle and frees his friends and traps Diablo back in the holding cell he was originally trapped in, before bringing the castle down with one powerful punch.

The Torch melts the castle down to slag, and the FF take their leave, lost once again in the forest.

31. "The Mad Menace of the Macabre Mole Man"

List of appearances

Synopsis

The Baxter Building is rocked by an earthquake, sending the Fantastic Four to cover. After the confusion, Sue finds a newspaper and is upset to see a story about an escaped convict. When Reed tries to press her for answers, she refuses to explain, which troubles Reed. Later, the Fantastic Four, sans Sue, are called out to investigate the disappearance of a city block that vanished into the ground during the earthquake. Little do they know that this block was lowered into the Earth by their old foe, the Mole Man. Tracking the Invisible Girl, the Mole Man locates her on his scanning devices and begins to sink the city block she is on.

Meanwhile, the male members of the team return home to find a note left behind by Sue when suddenly, they are hit by another earthquake. After the quake, Reed learns that Sue went down to police headquarters. After hearing a radio report that a block on 23rd Street disappeared as well, they realize that is where police headquarters is located. At that moment below the Earth, the Mole Man locates Sue Storm among the people he abducted and has his Moloids subdue her. With the Invisible Girl as his prisoner, the Mole Man plans to keep his foes away. Having deduced the Mole Man's involvement, the other members of the Fantastic Four fly to 23rd Street in the Pogo Plane. They find the Avengers about to descend into the pit but convince them to let the FF handle it. When they enter the crater, they find a number of traps waiting for them below that wreck their ship, but they manage to get down to below the surface. They find the Mole Man, but he has Sue at gunpoint and informs them that he will keep her hostage, to prevent their involvement. With the Fantastic Four unable to do anything, the Mole Man activates a device that returns them to the surface.

As Sue is locked away, Reed designs a highly sensitive detection device to find the Mole Man's lair. When they locate it, the Torch burns a hole directly down to it and they descend. Warned of their arrival, the Mole Man unleashes his army of Moloids to confront his foes. The trio save Sue and flee the area, but as they leave, the Mole Man sets his lair to self-destruct and Sue is struck by a piece of shrapnel.

On the surface, they rush Sue to the hospital where the prognosis is dire, because the surgeon that could perform the much-needed surgery has escaped from prison. Reed, Ben and Johnny are in for the shock of their lives when they are suddenly visited by the man that Reed saw in the paper: Franklin Storm, Sue and Johnny's father, a man that Johnny was led to believe was dead. Franklin performs the surgery to save his daughter's life. With the surgery completed, the authorities arrive to arrest Dr. Storm, but they allow him a moment to see his daughter before returning him to custody.

32. "Death of a Hero!"

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Synopsis

Reed Richards has devised yet another means of changing the Thing back to his human form. The initial test appears to work and they have 24 hours to determine if the transformation is a success or else it will become permanent. Meanwhile, a beam from deep space enters Earth's atmosphere and strikes a deserted island, freeing a being trapped below. Back at the Baxter Building, Ben wakes up from his transformation and attacks his friends. The side effect of the transformation has stricken Ben with amnesia, and he lashes out at the other members of the Fantastic Four and Alicia. With no other choice, the Fantastic Four knock Ben out and Reed reverses the process before it can be permanent. Although Ben's mind is restored, he is upset at yet another failure to change him back to normal.

At Ryker's Island Prison, Franklin Storm's cell is invaded by the mysterious being. Before he can react, Franklin is teleported away, and the intruder takes his form. The next morning, Sue and Johnny visit the warden's office, where Sue finally reveals the truth about their father: Twenty years ago, he and their mother were involved in a car accident. Surgery proved futile, and Franklin was unable to save Mary's life. Distraught by his wife's death, Franklin became addicted to gambling, racking up a massive debt. When a mobster came looking for him to pay up, the two got into a scuffle and the mobster's gun went off, killing him. Still grieving over the death of his wife and ashamed of what he had become, Franklin Storm said nothing in his own defense, and was sentenced to prison for manslaughter.

With the story out in the open, Sue and Johnny visit the man they think is their father, to inform him that they are going to try to get him paroled early. However, the impostor tells them that he won't have to wait that long, and surprises them when he suddenly turns invisible and busts through the prison wall and escapes. As the rest of the Fantastic Four are summoned, "Franklin" assumes a costumed form and calls himself the Invincible Man. With all the powers of the Fantastic Four, he terrorizes the people of New York. Because they believe their foe is Johnny and Sue's father, the Fantastic Four hold back and are easily defeated. Seeing the Invincible Man escape so easily makes the general public believe that they are going soft on him, due to his "family relation" to the group. However, Reed runs some tests and suddenly deduces the identity of the Invincible Man.

Reed constructs a hyper-wave transmitter and confronts the Invincible Man and explains that he has contacted his homeworld and that he knows that he is not Franklin Storm. With his cover blown, the mystery man reverts to his true form, the Super-Skrull. With their plans foiled again, the Skrull emperor teleports the Super-Skrull away. On their way back to the Baxter Building, Reed explains how he used his devices to deduce the identity of their attacker. He prepares a weapon and threatens to destroy the Skrull homeworld if they do not return Franklin Storm to them. Franklin is returned to Earth, but there is a bomb planted on him. Not wishing to harm his family, Franklin rolls over and smothers the blast and is fatally wounded. Before he dies, Franklin tells his children that he is proud of them. When the authorities arrive, they learn how Storm sacrificed his life.

33. "Side-By-Side with Sub-Mariner!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Reed Richards examines a massive sea creature which has washed ashore. Suspecting that it may have come from Namor's domain, he dispatches the Human Torch to check along the shoreline for any signs of danger. Torch spots an Atlantean woman rising out of the water and takes her back to the Baxter Building. Sue recognizes her as Lady Dorma, Namor's beloved. She explains that she has come to seek the Fantastic Four's aid, as Atlantis has been attacked by the barbarian hordes of Attuma, a fierce warrior who believes he is destined to rule Atlantis. She admits that she blames herself for Attuma's advantage in battle.

When Dorma expressed her fears of Namor being harmed in battle, he dismissed her. Heartbroken, Dorma then showed Attuma and his minions a way to get past Namor's defenses. Regretting her decision, Dorma rushed to the surface to seek out allies to help stop the invasion, as the surface world would be at risk next.

The Fantastic Four agree to help and with his Oxy-Spray, Reed makes it possible for his teammates to breath underwater for hours at a time. The spray is so potent that Johnny can even use his flame powers underwater.

As soon as they approach Atlantis in their submarine, the Fantastic Four are attacked by Attuma's hordes and are forced to abandon ship. They battle their way through the soldiers and weapons. Meanwhile, in the kingdom, Namor and his forces fight back against the invaders. When the Fantastic Four arrive, Reed cautions his team to remain hidden, as Namor may also view them as his enemies. Sue uses her invisibility powers to destroy a subsonic weapon. As Namor and Attuma battle, the Fantastic Four secretly keep Attuma's minions from interrupting but eventually, the Oxy-Spray begins to wear off. After Namor destroys Attuma's sword, Attuma surprises him by revealing hidden disintigrator rays. But the Sub-Mariner is given an upper hand in the battle when Sue secretly turns him invisible. Namor subdues Attuma as the Oxy-Spray fully wears off, forcing the Fantastic Four to flee to the surface before Namor can learn how they helped him.

In the aftermath of the battle, Attuma is banished from Atlantis. Later Namor reveals that he knows that Dorma betrayed him, but that he forgives her out of love. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four are stuck using Reed as a buoy at sea, as they left their submarine below the water. On the way home, Sue calls Reed darling, making him wonder if she has finally forgotten about her feelings for the Sub-Mariner.

34. "A House Divided!"

List of appearances

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Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Gregory Gideon (First appearance)
  • Gideon's business rivals:
    • Commander Vanvroot
    • Tamiroff
    • Favorshaw
  • Smedley, Gideon's assistant
  • Gideon's agents:
    • Berney
    • Agent R

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Synopsis

While the FF comment on the Thing's latest gift from the Yancy Street Gang – A Beatles Wig – greedy millionaire Gregory Gideon makes a bet with his competitors: If he cannot defeat the Fantastic Four within a week, he will forfeit his entire fortune to them, but if he succeeds, he gains their wealth.

Gideon's plan starts by convincing the Thing that Reed is really a Skrull imposter, and convincing Sue that Johnny is a robot imposter created by Doctor Doom. Although they clash with each other, they soon realize that they were tricked. They rush to the Baxter Building, unaware that Gideon's men have set up Dr. Doom's time machine in the floor, so that whoever crosses it gets sent to another time.

Gideon's plan ultimately fails because his son Tommy is a big Fantastic Four fan, and when he learns that his father is going to kill his favorite heroes, the boy goes to the Baxter Building to warn them. Tommy walks through the time machine trap, and although the Thing tries to save the boy, the two are transported to another era. After the FF round up the crooks and turn off the time machine, Gideon arrives and begs Reed Richards to bring back his son, and is willing to pay anything to get Tommy back. When the boy appears safe and sound, having been returned to the present when Reed turned off the device, Gideon realizes that in his mad quest for ultimate wealth, he neglected the most valuable thing he had: his family.

After listening to an appeal from his wife, Gideon swears to give his fortune to charity. The Fantastic Four let the Gideon family go, to rebuild their troubled family.

35. "Calamity on the Campus!"

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Synopsis

Reed Richards has been invited back to his old alma mater at State University to deliver a lecture and has brought the rest of the Fantastic Four along with him. After meeting with Dean Mencken, the four cross paths with Charles Xavier who is at State University with his student Scott Summers secretly investigating reports that there may be mutants on campus. They stop as they pass by Professor Gilbert's laboratory and are shocked at his latest creation, a massive android fashioned after a dragon. Meanwhile, in far off Transylvania, Diablo breaks free from his imprisonment and teleports away, intent on getting revenge against the Fantastic Four for trapping him.

Back in the States, Gilbert has the Thing help him with the heavy lifting, later the pair bump into Peter Parker who is visiting State to determine if he will attend after graduating high school. Neither the Torch or the Thing are aware that Parker is secretly their sometime ally Spider-Man. While the male members of the team play against the State U. football team, Sue happens to partially recognize Diablo as he drives past in a car, but the man exits the vehicle before she can get up close enough to examine him. Diablo pays a visit to Professor Gilbert and offers him a means of using alchemy to bring his android to life. As they are conducting this experiment, the Thing wanders off having grown bored listening to Reed's speech. Spotting Diablo, Ben tries to attack but is rebuffed by the now active Dragon Man. Their battle takes them outside of the rest of the Fantastic Four join in. They soon realize that the Dragon Man is smitten by Sue, but they are knocked out by gas.

When they revive they learn that the Professor, Diablo and Dragon Man had retreated back to Dead Man's Lake. They track their foes there and Diablo tries to escape by freezing the lake and attempting to skate across. Dragon Man turns on him and tries to chase after Diablo, but the ice is too weak to support both their weights and shatters. Both Diablo and Dragon Man plunge into the waters below and are lost when the undertow sweeps both into some underwater caves. In the aftermath of the battle, Reed takes Sue down to the sweetheart tree on campus and finally proposes to her, and much to his delight she says yes.

36. "The Frightful Four!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Reed Richards and Sue Storm publicly announce their engagement to the press. As they are making their announcement a package is delivered from the Yancy Street Gang. The Thing opens it fearing it's the worse and discovers that it's bomb of some kind. However instead of a harmful explosion the bomb was a gag filled with flowers.

Elsewhere Paste Pot Pete meets with the Sandman and the Wizard to form a new group to go after their mutual foe the Human Torch. Peter and Sandman recount how they broke out of prison, stole a plane, and saved the Wizard from floating out in space following his last battle with the Human Torch. The Wizard then tells them that he has heard a potential fourth member to their group, a strange woman who can control her hair that lives on an island out in the Mediterranean Sea who has no memory of her past.

Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four are busy preparing for the wedding. As arrangements are being made the Frightful Four meet for the first time and begin plotting the doom of their good counterparts. Back at the Baxter Building an engagement party is underway with the Avengers and the X-Men in attendance. The Frightful Four make their attack after the party goers leave, ambushing and incapacitating the Thing, the Invisible Girl, and Mister Fantastic. They are unaware that Alicia Masters is also on the premises and while the Frightful Four are placing anti-gravity discs on their foes, she takes the Signal Flare from Sue's belt and fires it off.

It is seen by the Human Torch who is over at his friend's garage working on a car and he races to the Baxter Building. However, Alicia is caught by Medusa and she too is taken prisoner. The four prisoners are then left to drift into the sky on the Wizard's anti-gravity discs. The Torch rushes on the scene and using his flame powers forces the Wizard to fly his anti-gravity ship up into the sky and rescue his friends. After the Fantastic Four and Alicia are rescued, the ship is attacked by the Frightful Four who followed after them in the Fantastic Four's Pogo Plane. Forced to land the two groups battle it out until things start going in the Fantastic Four's favor. Seeking to escape, the Wizard detonates his ship, allowing the Frightful Four to flee the scene in all the confusion.

37. "Behold! A Distant Star!"

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  • Prototype rocket borrowed from NASA

Synopsis

Testing out his new power-ray, Reed accidentally causes Johnny to flame on and destroy his tux. After, when he meets with Sue, she is upset that her father's killers roam free. Vowing to get them, Reed commissions a special space craft with N.A.S.A. that would allow them to travel through sub-space to the Skrull home world.

Traveling there, they fight with Morrat, the Skrull Warlord who has visions of conquest and wants to marry King Dorrek's daughter, Anelle. Battling the Fantastic Four, he defeats them and takes the entire group captive. When Anelle tells her father the king that the Fantastic Four are on their world, the enraged monarch finds Morrat's actions treasonous, and goes to find out what's going on.

Meanwhile, thinking that the power-booster is a weapon, Morrat orders Reed to use it against his friends. Reed does just that and the restored FF battle Morrat and his Skrull army until the king arrives. The king orders Morrat to desist, prompting Morrat to order his men to kill the king. However when Anelle attempts to save her father, Morrat jumps into the line of fire. While Anelle is saved by Invisible Girl's force field, Morrat is killed.

With Morrat destroyed, the king tells the Fantastic Four that it was Morrat who had visions of conquering Earth, and informs them that they no longer need fear invasion from the Skrulls, and allows them to return to Earth. The FF arrive home just in time to go through Reed and Sue's practice ceremony.

38. "Defeated by the Frightful Four!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Reed, Ben and Johnny are busy looking over enlarged photographs of the Skrull galaxy for research when suddenly they are interrupted by Sue who playfully reminds them that there are wedding plans to go over. Although she is invisible to the eye, they manage to grab her and make her give up with her pranking. With the merriment over, Johnny decides to head off to go on a date with his girlfriend Doris Evans. As he flies away from the Baxter Building he just misses the Wizard who is passing by. Their foe then goes to land at the secluded cabin where the Frightful Four are hiding out. There he is attacked by the Sandman, but is repelled by the Wizard's anti-gravity devices. Paste-Pot Pete -- having now renamed himself the Trapster -- lunges in to test out his new paste-based traps. After they succeed in subduing the Wizard, he shows his supremacy by throwing the Frightful Four around with his anti-gravity weapons.

Soon their launch their next plot against the Fantastic Four, it begins with Medusa confronting the Invisible Girl while she is out picking dress designs for her wedding. Caught off guard, Sue is easily captured and the news of her kidnapping quickly spreads. When the Thing learns what happened he rushes back to the Baxter Building to tell Reed and Johnny what he has learned only to find that Reed is already busy trying to track the Frightful Four down.

Meanwhile, the Frightful Four have landed their ship on a former nuclear testing site on an atoll in the South Pacific. There the Wizard shows his comrades and prisoner his greatest invention yet, the Q-Bomb, which he intends to use against the Fantastic Four. Back at the Baxter Building the FF are desperately trying to locate Sue when suddenly their radars pick up a ship flying their way. They attack it, but only succeed in getting Johnny captured by the Frightful Four as well. As their foes flee, Reed and Ben follow after them in the Pogo Plane.

The Fantastic Four are caught off guard when they land on the atoll and their enemies attack. Although they soon start getting the upper hand, the Frightful Four flee leaving the heroes to go and rescue Sue. However with the Pogo Plane having been destroyed in the fight, they have no way off the island. As the Frightful Four speed away, the Wizard sets the bomb to explode. Unknown to him the Fantastic Four are thrown clear from the atomic blast thanks to a force field put around them by Sue. Knocked unconscious by the blast the Four are lost at sea as the Thing slowly begins to revert back to human form.

This story is continued next issue....

39. "A Blind Man Shall Lead Them!"

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Synopsis

Continued from last issue...

Having survived the Q-Bomb set to explode by the Frightful Four but lost at sea, the Fantastic Four are pulled from the Pacific by a US Navy submarine crew. Taken to the infirmary, Reed talks in his sleep about their defeat at the hands of their evil counterparts. When the Fantastic Four finally awaken from their ordeal they are shocked to find that the radiation from the Q-Bomb blast had stripped them of their powers. Upon their return to the United States, Reed conducts a bunch of tests that prove conclusively that they no longer have their powers. Fearing their enemies may strike them when they are at their most vulnerable, he begins designing technological replacements for their powers. Johnny is given a flaming suit, Ben a robotic duplicate of his Thing form, an Electro-Vibro suit for Sue that gives her a protective force field, and mechanical limbs for Reed that can extend. However these devices have a massive learning curve leaving the team to wonder if they will ever be ready when their next foe attacks them.

Meanwhile, in Latveria, Doctor Doom is being entertained by a hypnotist who reveals that Doom's perceptions have previously been altered by hypnosis. When the hypnotist reverses the mental block, Doom realizes that he was tricked into thinking he had destroyed his enemy Reed Richards. Deciding to get revenge right away, Doom leaves at once for New York City.

While back in America, blind lawyer Matthew Murdock meets with the Fantastic Four to sign some power of attorney documents. He is shocked to find the Fantastic Four have lost their powers and are testing out their new mechanical devices. Suddenly they are attacked and in the confusion Murdock slips away to change into his costumed identity of Daredevil. The FF and Daredevil soon see their attacker: Doctor Doom, who has landed his craft on top of the Baxter Building. Their foe then sends the Fantasti-Car after them. Abandoning their mechanical devices, they are led away to safety by Daredevil into a nearby tenement building. They are soon flushed out by Doom who unleashes a whirlwind device that demolishes the derelict building. After knocking out the whirlwind with gas tanks, they continue to make their way to their headquarters.

When Doom unleashes a flying force beam projector, Daredevil puts his life on the line to destroy it. He then provides a distraction by trying to reach the Baxter Building by tightrope walking across a line to the building, the Fantastic Four try to sneak into their headquarters.

This story is continued next issue...

40. "The Battle of the Baxter Building"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Continued from last issue...

Doctor Doom has taken over the Baxter Building in an attempt to get revenge on the now powerless Fantastic Four who are rushing the building along with their ally Daredevil. Doom launches a mobile "TV Eye" device to try and locate the members of the Fantastic Four among the crowd of New Yorkers below. Quick thinking, Daredevil converts his billy-club into a one bullet shotgun and blasts the TV Eye out of the sky before leaping onward. By this point, Johnny and Sue have commandeered a taxi cab and picked up Reed. When they arrive at the Baxter Building they find the police have cordoned off the area. They are allowed access to the lobby but are instantly attacked by the various defenses in place that are now under Doom's control. However, while Doctor Doom is distracted with the Fantastic Four in the lobby, he is unprepared when Daredevil sneaks in through one of the windows.

While Doom is distracted with Daredevil, the Fantastic Four are reunited with Ben and they take the elevator up to their headquarters. Doom tries to stop them, but the FF manage to escape the trap thanks to Daredevil's continued interruptions of Doom's attempt to kill them. Needing to get something from his lab, he sends Sue, Johnny and Ben to help Daredevil distract Doom. Reed recovers the Stimulator he used on the Skrull homeworld and uses it on himself to restore his powers. He then uses it on Sue and Johnny who use their newly returned powers to keep Doom at bay. Doom tries to incapacitate the group with a freezing device, but the Torch uses his flame powers to cause the machine to explode. As Doom flees into the next room, Reed has no choice but to use the Energizer device on Ben, despite his protests. Transformed into the Thing once again, Ben follows after Doctor Doom and stops him before he can activate a powerful weapon that will decimate the entire block.

Furious over his recent transformation, the Thing pushes through various traps and weapons at Doom's disposal. When Ben finally gets his hands on his foe's hands, he crushes them and then disables all the devices on his armor with his bare hands. With Doom humiliated and defeated, the Fantastic Four allow him to limp away. With the battle over Ben shocks the whole team by informing them that he is quitting the Fantastic Four, having finally become fed up with always getting the raw deal in the group.

This story is continued next issue....

41. "The Brutal Betrayal of Ben Grimm!"

List of appearances

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Other Characters:

  • Mister Curtis, renting agent of the Baxter Building

Locations:

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Synopsis

Continued from last issue...

Having grown tired of constantly being the fall guy for the Fantastic Four, the Thing has decided to quit, brushing off the protests of his teammates as he leaves their Baxter Building headquarters. Needing a way to get out of the city, Ben stows away in the back of a pick-up truck that is heading out of Manhattan. Falling asleep in the cab of the truck, Ben accidentally rolls out as the truck drives through the New Jersey wilderness. Suddenly, a beam of anti-gravity lifts Ben off the ground and caries his sleeping body to a nearby house.

Meanwhile inside the Baxter Building, Reed goes over the damage caused by their battle with Doctor Doom with their landlord. As they begin cleaning up the mess, they are visited by Alicia Masters who has come looking for Ben. When she hears that Ben abruptly left the group she gets upset. The group consoles Alicia as she cries over the fact that Ben left without saying goodbye to her.

While in New Jersey, the Thing has been taken prisoner by the Frightful Four, who have him pasted to the floor. After the group squabbles among themselves over leadership of the group, the Wizard informs them that he has developed a means to make the Thing a member of their group. Back in New York, the Fantastic Four begin searching for clues to Ben's whereabouts until they hear a report about the truck he was seen riding in. The FF travel out to New Jersey but the search is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. As the search goes on, the Wizard has his new ID Machine attached to Ben's head. He explains the device will alter the Thing's personality so that he is evil and loyal to the Frightful Four.

While the experiment is on going, the Trapster and Sandman come to blows, but are stopped when the Thing emerges loyal to the Wizard and breaks up the fight. As they rejoice over their victory, suddenly they notice flares being fired outside and they quickly deduce that the Fantastic Four are out looking for their wayward teammate.

When the Fantastic Four go canvassing door to door, they are attacked by the Frightful Four once they reach their foes' hideout. During the battle they are shocked to see that Ben is fighting by the side of their enemies. Unwilling to use their full strength against their friend, the Fantastic Four are quickly taken down by the Thing and the Frightful Four. The Wizard then has his minions place each member of the FF into a trap that counteracts their powers. The Human Torch is put in a harness that will douse him with water whenever he tires to flame on, the Invisible Girl in a large plastic bag that will counteract her invisibility powers, and Mister Fantastic is placed on a board covered in the Trapster's paste. With the battle over, the Wizard puts the Thing to sleep. When the Sandman and Trapster try to kill the Thing, their attempts fail. Medusa steps in and stops them and points out that they can use him to do their dirty work and recommends that the first thing they get the Thing to do is kill his former teammates.

When they awaken the Thing, they remind him that it was Reed Richards that caused his transformation into the monster that he is today. As the Thing's rage begins to grow, the Frightful Four begin enticing him to kill his best friend and leader for causing his transformation.

This story is continued next issue...

42. "To Save You, Why Must I Kill You?"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Continued from last issue...

The Frightful Four attempt to goad their brainwashed pawn, The Thing, into killing his best friend, Reed Richards, for causing the accident which transformed him into the monstrous Thing. Regaining consciousness, Richards finds himself stuck to a large board by the Trapster's paste, and at mercy of the enraged Thing. Meanwhile, Johnny Storm manages to flame on at his highest intensity and thereby vapourise the harness which has been rigged to him that would otherwise have doused him with water. The Torch then frees his sister, the Invisible Girl, from a massive plastic bag she is trapped in. While the Torch and Sue battle the Frightful Four, Mister Fantastic tricks the Thing into shattering the board he has been glued to, freeing him. This does not save him from the Thing's wrath, as Grimm easily overpowers Richards and then crams him into a small metal urn, and jams the lid on tight.

Sue and Johnny are soon outnumbered. In order to allow his sister to escape, Johnny lets off a flare to blind their foes; but although Sue manages to get away, Medusa douses Johnny's flame by soaking her hair and then wrapping him in it, whereupon the rest of her team incapacitate him. Meanwhile, Sue finds the urn Reed is trapped in and flees outside to try and free him. With the battle over, the Wizard remarks on how savage the Thing is and how difficult it is to control him. While the others are squabbling again, he subjects the Human Torch to the ID Machine, seemingly making Johnny Storm evil. Meanwhile, outside, Sue manages to use her powers to pull the lid off the urn, freeing Reed from captivity. However, both pass out from the strain.

When they revive, they chance on an equipment shed in the grounds of the mansion. They ambush the Frightful Four, tagging them with the Wizard's own anti-gravity discs, which they have coated with the Trapster's paste. While the Sandman, Medusa and the Trapster are busy floating away, Reed grabs the Thing and flees. The Wizard and the Human Torch follow, but the Wizard becomes frustrated by the Torch constantly getting in his way. However, before Reed and Sue can escape with Ben, Johnny traps them behind a wall of flame.

This story is continued next issue...

43. "Lo! There Shall be an Ending!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Continued from last issue...

After rescuing the brainwashed Thing from the Frightful Four, Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Girl flee from the Wizard and his other seemingly brainwashed thrall, the Human Torch. When they escape in Johnny's car, the Wizard decides to break off pursuit and free his other Frightful Four teammates, who were taken out of the fight by his own anti-gravity discs. After the Wizard and the Torch get them down, the Frightful Four realize that the Torch had deliberately hampered them whenever they tried to harm one of his former teammates.

Reed and Sue return to the Baxter Building, where the Thing begins to fight back. They quickly subdue him with knockout gas, and Reed begins the long task of trying to find a cure for the Wizard's brainwashing process. Meanwhile, the Wizard and Medusa inspect the ID Machine, and confirm what the Wizard suspected: someone tampered with the machine during the battle, and the Human Torch has only been pretending to be under their control. They ambush the Torch and knock him out, so the Wizard can prepare the final phase of the revenge against the Fantastic Four.

At the Baxter Building, Reed has finished constructing a device that he hopes will revert Ben's personality to normal. But when Reed activates the device it overloads and explodes. Reed rushes in to pull the control helmet from Ben's head before he is permanently harmed, with Sue throwing a force field around him for protection. They then drag Ben into a nearby bed where they can only hope that he will awaken cured. At the Latverian Embassy, Doctor Doom inspects his hands and finds that they have healed after his last battle with the Fantastic Four. Doom is furious over such an ignominious defeat, but he has already planned a suitable revenge, as his Emotion Changer ray is complete and ready to use.

Back at the Baxter Building, the Frightful Four's anti-grav ship lands on the roof and the villains begin infiltrating the building. Reed completes his tests and concludes that the Thing has been cured, just as the Frightful Four ambush them. The Wizard shows Reed and Sue that he has Johnny trapped outside on a massive anti-gravity disc. The Wizard then threatens to send Johnny up into space to suffocate unless the Fantastic Four surrender. When Reed tries to save Johnny, the Wizard and his cohorts show that they mean business. The Wizard then gives Richards ten seconds to surrender. However, before this time is up the Thing awakes and attacks the Wizard, rending the villain's armor with his bare hands, destroying his anti-grav control unit. As Reed and Sue attack their foes, Johnny is able to break free from the now deactivated disc and join the fight.

As the battle rages, Medusa decides to retreat. The Torch sees her, but fails to prevent her escape in the Wizard's anti-grav ship. With Medusa's departure the survivors of the Frightful Four are easily subdued. But when Reed telephones the police to have them send an officer over to collect the prisoners, the officer on the phone thinks it's a prank call. After Johnny leaves to drop off their foes with the authorities, Reed and Sue check on Ben and welcome him back to the group. Ben is surprised by this, after the hatred he displayed earlier. But Reed points out that Ben couldn't help himself, and he is welcomed back to the team.

44. "The Gentleman's Name is Gorgon!"

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  • Vacuum gun

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Newlyweds Reed and Sue Richards work on domesticating the Baxter Building. Fed up with the couple treating he and Thing like children, Johnny storms out to ride his car. A large earthquake-like jolt surprises Johnny, and he soon finds himself being held hostage by Medusa, who claims she is trying to get away from Gorgon. Gorgon uses his feet to cause large shock waves as he steals the Fantastic Four's whirlybird.

Johnny takes Medusa to the location where the FF previously fought Dragon Man. When Medusa uses her vacuum gun on Johnny to make him flame off, it awakens the Dragon Man. The Dragon Man believes that Medusa is the Invisible Girl, so when Gorgon arrives to take Medusa, the Dragon Man defends her.

As Medusa tries to escape the scene, the Dragon Man captures Medusa and flies her back into the city. Dragon Man gets in a clash with both the Fantastic Four and Gorgon. Gorgon claims that he and Medusa are of the same race, and that she is forbidden to mingle with others. During the fight, Sue is taken away by Dragon Man while Gorgon causes an entire building to collapse under the FF's feet.

45. "Among Us Hide... The Inhumans"

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Mister Fantastic grabs a hold of the Thing and pulls him from the wreckage. The Human Torch in turn, grabs both of them, and carries them to higher ground. Reed sends Johnny off to find the Dragon Man and the Invisible Girl. Johnny quickly tracks them down, uses a super-nova burst, and temporarily blinds the Dragon Man. Sue is able to wrest free of his grasp.

Elsewhere, the Sandman and the Trapster attempt to break out of their prison cell. Sandman tries to punch his way through the glass window, but as soon as he does, a secondary pane of glass slides overtop of it. The Trapster wonders if Medusa will attempt to rescue them.

The Invisible Girl manages to tame the Dragon Man and discovers that the creature behaves as if he were actually a small child. Sue and Johnny bring the Dragon Man back to the Baxter Building.

Johnny leaves and tries to call Dorrie Evans for a date. Dorrie has other plans, and Johnny gets miffed. He goes for a walk down the streets of Midtown Manhattan. He finds a skittish red-haired woman sitting in the back of an alleyway. Johnny is completely mystified by her and tries to approach. The woman shoos him away and suddenly a strong gust of wind blows through the air separating the two. When Johnny recovers his senses, the girl is gone. Confused, he returns to the Baxter Building.

Johnny is frustrated and gets into an argument with Sue and Ben. Angrily, he snaps back and leaves the building to search for the mysterious redhead. He finds her in another alleyway and discovers that her name is Crystal. Crystal sees Johnny demonstrate his powers and deduces that they are similar to one another. She decides to take Johnny back to her home. Crystal’s pet is an over-sized bulldog named Lockjaw. Lockjaw has forked antennae on his brow, which generates a charge of energy. The energy opens up a portal to Crystal’s homeland and the three enter the rift.

At the Baxter Building, the Dragon Man begins to lose control again. Reed and Ben attempt to contain him, while Sue renders him inert with a tranquilizer gun. Afterwards, Ben stalks off to reflect upon what it is like to live as a monster.

Crystal meanwhile, introduces Johnny to her people – the Inhumans. He first meets Karnak, who demonstrates his martial prowess by judo-flipping Johnny over his shoulder. He then encounters Black Bolt, Gorgon and Triton. The most surprising member of the Inhumans however is Crystal's sister, Medusa – a woman whom Johnny remembers as a member of the Frightful Four. Karnak claims that Johnny tricked Crystal into believing that he was an Inhuman like she, and a fight breaks out. Despite his powers, Johnny cannot defeat all his adversaries, so he burns a hole through the ceiling and flies off. He creates the "4" signal in the air with his flame to alert the rest of the Fantastic Four.

Reed sees the signal and the team boards their new Airjet-Cycle. They track Johnny down and encounter Gorgon, Karnak and Medusa. The super-powered combatants begin to fight when suddenly, Black Bolt, leader of the Inhumans, arrives on the scene.

46. "Those Who Would Destroy Us"

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The Thing begins fighting with Black Bolt. He is amazed at the Inhuman leader's speed and strength. Reed discovers that Black Bolt acquires his power by absorbing electrons from the air into the antennae atop his brow. The Thing decides that all he needs to do is disable Black Bolt's "nutty tunin' fork" and the fight will be over.

Meanwhile, Triton attacks the Human Torch and manages to douse Johnny's flame. Triton states that the Inhumans have managed to avoid the attention of the Seeker for many years, but this impromptu fight may expose them all. Reed wraps his arms around him, until he realizes that Triton's tunic is actually a sealed moisture bag. The bag rips open, and the water spills out. With only seconds left, Triton makes a mad dash for the pier and dives into the water. Gorgon and Karnak take the opportunity to mount an attack against Reed and Sue.

Meanwhile, the Inhuman known as the Seeker arrives with his entourage at the Baxter Building. They have captured Triton and are in the process of tracking down the remaining Inhumans. The Seeker enters a laboratory where he finds the sedated Dragon Man. Mistakenly believing the Dragon Man to be an Inhuman, he prepares to bring him back to his hidden lair.

In the city, the Thing continues his fight against Black Bolt. Black Bolt proves to fast for the Thing's punches, but Ben manages to land an occasional blow. Karnak encourages his leader to use his strongest attack against Ben – a powerful punch that nearly cripples the Thing. The tactic proves too much for Black Bolt however and he nearly exhausts all of his energy.

Crystal informs Gorgon and the others that Triton has disappeared and may have been captured. They agree that a strategic withdrawal would be in their best interests and Lockjaw teleports all of the Inhumans to safety. Johnny flies after them hoping to find a trace of Crystal. Sue is startled to see how enamored her brother has become with the Inhuman.

The Fantastic Four return to the Baxter Building only to find a hole in the laboratory wall. The Dragon Man is gone. Reed uses a special probe to trace the energy signature of the people who made off with the creature. They follow the trail to the Seeker’s hideout in the city and go inside. There, they find the Seeker and the captured Dragon Man. The Seeker has since discovered that the Dragon Man is merely an artificial life form and not an Inhuman at all, so he offers to return him to the FF. Reed asks him about the Inhumans, and the Seeker explains that the Inhumans are a race of highly evolved humanoids, who have perfected the arts of genetic engineering. Through their advanced science, they can bestow super powers unto any individual they see fit.

While the Seeker continues to speak, in another room, the Dragon Man awakens. Flying into a rage, he bursts free of his shackles and begins to run amok throughout the laboratory. The Seeker’s guards open fire on him, but their weapons prove useless. During the struggle, the Dragon Man inadvertently knocks over the water tank containing Triton’s captured form. Triton spills out of the tank, but without water to revitalize him, he will soon die.

47. "Beware the Hidden Land!"

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Synopsis

The Human Torch and the Thing fly off to confront the Dragon Man, leaving Reed and Sue in the Seeker's Fortress to look after Triton. Without water to revitalize him, Triton is quickly suffocating. Sue erects a force field around his body to keep him steady, while Reed pumps water from a fire hose into the bubble to replenish him.

Outside, the Thing and the Torch tangle with the Dragon Man. The Dragon Man slaps the Thing with his tail, sending him crashing through the window of Alicia Masters' studio apartment. Johnny continues the fight and changes his heat blasts to ultra violet radiation. Intensifying the heat, he weakens the Dragon Man and the creature eventually falls down unconscious.

Back at the Fortress, the Seeker arranges to collect Triton. Reed has succeeded in saving Triton's life, but he is reluctant to interfere with Inhuman law. Sue pressures him to do something, but Reed snaps at her. Before the Seeker takes Triton away, Reed secretly plants a homing device on the Inhuman.

Meanwhile, the Royal Family of the Inhumans returns to their home land, the Great Refuge. The reigning king, Maximus, learns of their arrival and unleashes the Alpha Primitives to combat them. Maximus is the brother of Black Bolt. Black Bolt flies directly into the Primitives sending them scattering. After a brief battle, Maximus enters the chamber and apologizes for the effrontery. He claims that the Alpha Primitives had escaped on their own. Realizing that he cannot hope to win out over Black Bolt's courageousness, Maximus hands the crown of leadership over to his brother.

The Fantastic Four take a private jet to the Andes Mountains and locate the Great Refuge. They set down and Reed and Sue bicker some more. Sue decides to change her hairstyle to get Reed to notice her more.

They eventually come upon the Royal Family. Crystal and Johnny are reunited, but Black Bolt stands ready for battle. Speaking for her liege, Medusa declares that non-Inhumans are not welcome in the Great Refuge. Reed says that the Inhumans should not have to live in seclusion, and should live alongside the rest of humanity.

Meanwhile, Maximus retires to his laboratory. He preps his Atmo-Gun and declares that he will use it to destroy all of humanity.

48. "The Coming of Galactus!"

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Brief Summary:
Maximus fires his Atmo-Gun with the intent to destroy the human race. However, the gun fails and Maximus resorts to creating a negative zone around the Great Refuge that separates the Inhumans from the rest of the world. The Fantastic Four escape and head back to the Baxter Building. There they are visited by the Watcher who warns them of the coming of Galactus. The Watcher tried to hide the Earth from his herald, the Silver Surfer, but was unsuccessful. The Surfer arrives and summons his master.

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Detailed Summary:
Maximus fires his Atmo-Gun. While the vibrations produced by the weapon proves ineffective against Inhumans, it has the potential to wreak havoc against normal human beings. The ground of the Great Refuge trembles from the power of the weapon and everyone is thrown about. Maximus cackles with glee as he envisions the deaths of millions of helpless humans.

For all of his mad genius, however, Maximus' plan fails. Aside from a few massive ground tremors, humanity is perfectly safe. Gorgon and Karnak make a move to apprehend Maximus, but he darts past them and heads towards his Atmo-Gun. He reverses the polarity of the weapon, creating a null field of negative energy to slowly encapsulate the Great Refuge. Reed knows that there is nothing they can do to counter the effects of a complete negative zone. Reed, Sue and Ben race to escape from the city, but Johnny wants to stay behind. He doesn't want to leave Crystal. Crystal wants to remain with Johnny as well, but the rest of her family draw her back. Ben scoops Johnny up and manages to get outside of the null field barrier just as it completely seals the Great Refuge off from the rest of the world. Everyone feels Johnny's sorrow, and he is convinced that he will never see Crystal again. The team boards their private charter and returns to the United States.

Meanwhile in the depths of outer space, a sleek, shining being known as the Silver Surfer streaks through the cosmos atop a metallic surfboard. While soaring through the Andromeda Galaxy, he draws the attention of the Skrulls. The Skrulls know that wherever the Silver Surfer appears, his master, Galactus, cannot be far behind. Terrified, the Skrulls do everything they can to conceal their world from the Surfer's perceptions.

In New York, the Fantastic Four arrive home to witness a most startling spectacle. The entire skyline appears as if it had caught on fire. The Human Torch flies through the city canyons to get a closer look, but panicking New Yorkers begin to suspect that the Torch may actually be responsible for the strange phenomena. The FF return to the Baxter Building and Reed sequesters himself inside of his laboratory to analyze the situation. The flames in the sky dissipate giving way to an unending field of space debris.

The powerful being known as the Watcher appears inside of Reed's laboratory. He explains that he is responsible for the atmospheric disturbances, for he has been attempting to conceal Earth's existence from the attention of the Silver Surfer. He further explains that the Surfer is the advance scout of Galactus, a powerful cosmic being that consumes the elemental energies of entire worlds, leaving them as little more than dried, lifeless husks.

The Surfer meanwhile, investigates the debris field, and finds Earth hidden beneath it. He flies to the roof of the Baxter Building and sends out a cosmic signal for Galactus. The FF race to the top of the building, and the Thing rams into the Surfer knocking him off the edge. The Surfer is no longer a major concern however. In the sky above, Galactus' planet devouring world ship, Taa II, appears in the skies above Manhattan. The giant Galactus exits the ship and declares his intention to consume the entire world.

49. "If This Be Doomsday!"

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Synopsis

Brief Summary:
Galactus has come to eat the Earth. The Watcher unsuccessfully tries to reason with him. The Fantastic Four cannot physically defeat him. However, the Watcher has a plan and sends the Human Torch on a secret mission. The Silver Surfer meets Alicia Masters and she convinces him that the Earth is worth saving. The Surfer races to stop Galactus.

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Detailed Summary:
With Galactus on Earth, the Watcher tries to appeal to the planet eater to leave Earth alone, when diplomacy doesn't work Johnny and Thing try to attack Galactus to no effect. the Watcher tells them to return to their base and he will contact them shortly.

Meanwhile, the Silver Surfer slowly gains consciousness from the Thing's punch and falls through the skylight of Alicia Master's apartment. Sensing a wounded and lonely being, Alicia offers the Silver Surfer her sympathy and assistance. Galactus continues to assemble his planet devouring device and the Watcher explains to the Fantastic Four what will happen to the Earth if Galactus succeeds. The Watcher explains that there is a device aboard Galactus' ship that he will need the Human Torch to collect. While back at Alicia's apartment, Alicia learns of the Surfer's mission on Earth and appeals to him to turn against his master and help save the Earth. He is hesitant at first, but is starting to feel pity for the humans.

When the Fantastic Four begin attacking Galactus' almost completed device, the planet eater sends his cyborg Punisher to keep them out of his way while he repairs the device. With this distraction and delay, the Watcher uses a device to boost Johnny's powers to a degree that will allow him to travel to Galactus' ship and retrieve the weapon they need to defeat him. Finally, Alicia convinces the Surfer to help save the Earth and, to the surprise of the Watcher, sets off to confront Galactus.

50. "The Startling Saga of the Silver Surfer!"

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The Silver Surfer confronts Galactus and tries to force him to leave the Earth. No matter how hard he tries, the Surfer is not able to overpower his master. Meanwhile, the Human Torch returns from his mission with the Ultimate Nullifier which Reed uses to threaten Galactus. Afraid of the weapon's power, Galactus agrees to leave Earth alone. As punishment, he banishes the Surfer to Earth forever. With the crisis over, life goes back to normal. Sue gets mad at Reed ignoring her and Johnny attends his first day of college.

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Detailed Summary:
The Silver Surfer arrives to try and stop his master from destroying the Earth. No matter how hard he tries he is not able to stop Galactus. However, the confrontation does give Johnny the time he needs to return from Galactus' ship out in deep space with the one weapon that can stop Galactus: The Ultimate Nullifier. When Reed threatens to use it against Galactus, he agrees to spare the Earth and leave if Reed gives him back the weapon.

True to his word, Galactus leaves but not before first relieving the Silver Surfer of his herald duties and removing the Silver Surfer's space-time powers. The Silver Surfer is thus exiled on the planet he vowed to save, no longer able to roam the galaxies. After the battle Alicia arrives to thank the Silver Surfer for his help, causing the jealous Thing to think that she's choosing the Surfer over him and quietly walks away feeling nothing but rejection. The Silver Surfer also departs, vowing to return once he's traversed all of the Earth.

As life returns to normal the press dismisses the Galactus fiasco as a hoax, while one man takes interest in news reports of the Thing roaming the city and at Metro College the unreliable football star Whitey Mullins gives Coach Thorne a tongue lashing after being scolded for not being a team player. While at the Baxter Building, Sue storms out when Reed once again ignores her in favor of his experiments. While finally, Johnny arrives at his first day of college at Metro University. There he meets Wyatt Wingfoot and the two become fast friends, but as the two are meeting with the Dean, Johnny can't help but think about Crystal who is still now trapped in the Hidden Land behind Maximus' Negative Zone barrier.

51. "This Man... This Monster!"

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Synopsis

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Detailed Summary:
Roaming the streets, the Thing is offered a place to stay by a man who has become very interested in him. While Ben sleeps the man uses a device to transfer Thing's powers to himself and goes to the Baxter Building posing as the Thing in hopes of eliminating Reed Richards based on the misconception that Reed makes his discoveries for the glory.

When Ben wakes up to realizes that his powers are gone, he tries to warn Reed that the Thing that's with him is an impostor. The team believes that Ben is really the impostor and dismisses him from the Baxter Building. Meanwhile, at College, Johnny and Wyatt get involved in a squabble with football star Whitey Mullins. It is broken up by Coach Thorpe, who realizes that Wyatt's father used to play on the Metro College football team. He offers Wyatt a position, but Wingfoot refuses.

While back at the Baxter Building, Reed tests out his newest invention: a portal to the Negative Zone. Traveling in this anti-matter universe, he has the "Thing" hold the tether so that he is not lost in the realm. When the tether breaks, the Thing impostor changes his opinion of Reed Richards. He realizes how selfless Reed is and jumps into the Negative Zone portal to save him. Throwing Reed back through the portal into the positive matter universe, he perishes at the energy barrier that separates the positive and negative matter universes.

Elsewhere, the human Ben Grimm is about to visit Alicia to show her that he is back to normal and propose to her. When he knocks on the door, however, he realizes that he has changed back into the Thing. Fleeing the scene he returns to the Baxter building where Reed and Sue realize that the friend they were just mourning is actually still alive and well. The impostor that was posing as him -- whoever he was -- had died a hero.

52. "The Black Panther!"

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Synopsis

The Fantastic Four are given a flying craft by the nation of Wakanda as a gift, as part of an invitation to visit the mysterious African country. Intrigued by the technological marvel brought to them, Mister Fantastic agrees. Their visitor then contacts the leader of Wakanda, T'Challa, also known as the Black Panther. T'Challa and his people rejoice at the news and they raise the panther idol high before he enters the sacred temple and dons his ceremonial Black Panther garb.

Back in the United States, the Fantastic Four go to Metro College to check on Johnny who is studying hard. When they tell him that they are going to Wakanda, Johnny asks if they can bring his friend Wyatt Wingfoot along with them. Meanwhile, within the Great Refuge of the Inhumans, the royal family continues to try to find a way to break out of the barrier around their city. Karnak attempts to use his abilities to see the flaws in any object to break through the barrier, but this proves to be a failure. As Maximus mocks his family from his cell, Black Bolt broods over what they must do next.

Later, the Fantastic Four take the ship they were given to fly to Wakanda along with Wyatt. When they land the ship they are surprised to find themselves in a massive mechanical forest. Upon disembarking the ship they are suddenly attacked by the Black Panther. Caught off guard the group splits up and faces off against various traps, Wakandan guards, and the Black Panther himself. By themselves, each member of the Fantastic Four are no match for the Black Panther, but when they regroup they easily outnumber and overpower the Panther who ceases his hostilities. Unmasking, T'Challa reveals that he was merely testing the Fantastic Four's fabled abilities and has invited them to his land to for a grave task.

This story is continued next issue...

53. "The Way It Began..!"

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Welcomed as guests of the Black Panther in Wakanda, the Black Panther explains that the nation of Wakanda is unique in that it is home of a rare metal known as Vibranium. Explaining that when explorer Ulysses Klaw came to Wakanda to steal the Vibranium to make weapons, he killed the Black Panther's father. In retribution, the young T'Challa stole one of these weapons and used it to destroy Klaw's camp and in the ensuing battle Klaw's right hand was rendered useless when T'Challa's weapon caused Klaw's pistol to explode in his hand.

When Klaw unleashes solid sound creatures created by a device, the Fantastic Four and Wyatt Wingfoot help Black Panther defend his nation. Tracking Klaw to his hide out, the Black Panther battles him and in the battle Klaw's base is destroyed and his solid sound creations vanish. Surviving and his solid sound device intact, Klaw crawls into the device hoping to gain the power necessary to crush the Black Panther once and for all.

54. "Whosoever Finds the Evil Eye..!"

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While the FF enjoy a playful baseball game with the Black Panther and his people in Wakanda, in the Hidden Land, the Inhumans try to convince Maximus to work on a device that will break down the barrier that keeps them trapped in their land. While back in Wakanda, Johnny wishes he could see Crystal again and so with a all terrain vehicle provided by the Black Panther, he and Wyatt Wingfoot travel to find a way to get past the barrier and get into the Hidden Land.

They come across an ancient temple where they rouse the last survivor of Avalon, Prester John, keeper of a powerful weapon known as the Evil Eye. Displaying it's power, he shows that it can fire destructive beams of force as well as create, when he seals Johnny and Wyatt in a force dome.

While in the Hidden Land, Maximus builds a device for Triton that allows him to survive outside of water, which irks Gorgon because Maximus should be building a device to free them, Black Bolt then tries to breach the barrier by using his destructive vocal chords.

While back at the temple of Prester John, Johnny takes the Evil Eye in hopes that it can free Crystal and the other Inhumans, however Prester was unable to push the safety switch on the device and it is now building up energy that will cause the device to explode. Rushing out to stop Johnny before it's too late, Wyatt uses a gun to shoot the Evil Eye out of Johnny's hand and knocking it a safe distance away before it explodes in a giant nuclear explosion. Even though his life was saved, Johnny takes this most recent failure very personally.

55. "When Strikes the Silver Surfer!"

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Synopsis

Brief Summary:
The Thing visits Alicia Masters and is surprised to see the Silver Surfer already there. Thinking the worst, he quickly attacks the Surfer. The two continue their battle until Mr. Fantastic arrives to break up the fight and admonish the Thing for jumping to conclusions. Meanwhile, the Human Torch and Wyatt Wingfoot continue their search for the Inhumans in the Himalayas.

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Detailed Summary:
With no threats to deal with currently, Reed and Sue decide that it's time to finally take their honeymoon. While Ben tries to get in touch with Alicia. The Silver Surfer also decides to seek out Alicia. He's finished traveling the Earth and is not happy with all the greed, fear, and hatred that he has found. He hopes to seek comfort and hope from the woman that first showed him these emotions. When Ben arrives at Alicia's home, he finds that the Silver Surfer has come to visit her. Jealous and enraged, Ben attacks the Surfer and the two engage in a battle.

While in the Himalayas, Johnny and Wyatt notice that the locals are evacuating the place en mass, and decide to investigate the situation. After setting up camp they spot a giant creature in the shadows and decide to track it. While back in New York, Ben and the Surfer's battle takes them into the warehouse district of the city.

Back in the Himalayas, Johnny and Wyatt catch up with the mysterious creature, learning that it's Lockjaw of the Inhumans. Johnny is happy to have found the creature as it's teleportation ability could help them reach the Hidden Land of the Inhumans. While back in New York, the fight between Ben and the Surfer is broken up by Reed and Sue. Reed talks some sense into Ben, stating that he's mistaken the Surfer's intentions and has him apologize to the Surfer. Accepting the apology, the Surfer repairs Ben's air-cycle, and creates some flowers for Ben to give to Alicia before departing to learn more about the human race.

56. "Klaw, the Murderous Master of Sound!"

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Synopsis

Brief Summary:
Klaw attacks the Baxter Building, seeking revenge on the Fantastic Four. The battle rages on until the Black Panther sends Mr. Fantastic a pair of Vibranium bands that he uses to beat Klaw into submission. Meanwhile, the Human Torch and Wyatt Wingfoot travel with Lockjaw, hoping that the dog will finally bring them to the Inhumans.

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Detailed Summary:
While Reed and Ben test out a device that allows Reed to monitor the Negative Zone from the safety of his own lab, they are attacked by the newly powered Ulysses Klaw, who has come for revenge against the Fantastic Four for defeating him in Wakanda. While in the Hidden Land, the latest attempt to break through the barrier around their land has failed leaving Black Bolt unconscious.

Back in New York, after knocking out Ben and Reed, Klaw attacks Sue, telling her how he had gotten his powers from entering into his solid sound machine. However, Reed and Ben arrive to fight Klaw back. During the fight Klaw places a sonic barrier around the Baxter Building preventing anyone from getting in or out.

While elsewhere, Johnny and Wyatt travel the myriad dimensions with Lockjaw in hopes that the beast will eventually transport them beyond the barrier around the Hidden Land. Back in the States, a missile from Wakanda flies into the Baxter Building, piercing the barrier. Inside, Reed removes the Vibranium bands which he had radioed the Black Panther to send to him. Reed then uses them to beat Klaw into submission. After the battle Reed radios T'Challa to thank him for helping them out. While elsewhere, a shadowed figure takes particular interest in the Silver Surfer.

57. "Enter... Dr. Doom!"

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The Fantastic Four battle the Sandman and the Wizard as they try and escape from their parole hearing. The Wizard is caught, but the Sandman escapes. He ends up attacking them at the Baxter Building and steals some of Reed's inventions before leaving. Meanwhile, the Silver Surfer meets Doctor Doom and visits his castle. Doom distracts the Surfer and uses one of his inventions to steal the Surfer's power.

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Detailed Summary:
While attending a parole hearing for the Sandman and the Wizard; Reed, Sue and Ben walk in on the two villains making an escape attempt. The Sandman creates chaos by splattering his sandy body around and between Reed, Ben and Sue. Reed tells Sue to trap the Sandman with her force field, but the Invisible Girl soon finds herself unable to do anything. The Wizard grabs Sue from behind and covers her mouth so the blonde girl cannot cry out for help.

With the Invisible Girl helpless, Sandman makes his escape. Now that the Sandman has eluded the three heroes, Wizard boasts of how he planned the escape attempt. While in Latveria, Dr. Doom invites the Silver Surfer to his castle to learn more about his powers and to show him his many technological inventions.

While back in New York, Reed, Sue and Ben begin searching for the Sandman, however the Sandman comes to them. He brilliantly slips in through an open window and wraps his rock-hard arm of sand around the Invisible Girl. He tells Reed that as long as he holds onto this chick of his, he won't stop him. Ignoring the very real danger to his wife of disobeying the Sandman's threat to harm her, Reed turns himself into a giant disc and frees Sue from Sandman's deadly grip. Soon the Sandman manages to escape, but not before sifting into Reed's lab and stealing a number of devices.

Back in Latveria, Dr. Doom distracts the Silver Surfer long enough to use a device on him that steals the Surfer's power cosmic and transfers it to Dr. Doom. While elsewhere, Lockjaw, Johnny and Wyatt are transported to a world full of dinosaur-like creatures and that they are transported away before getting stomped on. While in the Hidden Land, Maximus boasts that the only power capable of destroying the Negative Zone barrier is Black Bolt's own voice. Back in Latveria, Dr. Doom decides it's time to use his new found powers to strike at his old foes, the Fantastic Four, and the world itself.

58. "The Dismal Dregs of Defeat!"

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Synopsis

Brief Summary:
Now fully powered with the Silver Surfer's Power Cosmic, Doctor Doom attacks the Fantastic Four. Even with the return of the Human Torch and Wyatt Wingfoot, nothing they do can stop the super-powered villain. Satisfied with his dominance over this foes, Doctor Doom leaves them to begin his world conquest.

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Detailed Summary:
The Fantastic Four are startled by the sudden image of Doctor Doom that has materialized over their headquarters as a storm rages, but it vanishes along with the tempest before they can determine what it means. Satisfied with his newly acquired powers and after gloating over the weakened Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom decides to attack the Fantastic Four directly. Using his stolen powers, Doom summons the Surfer's surf board and sails to New York. Back at the Baxter Building, Reed and Sue decide to head to their home in Southampton, leaving the Thing alone. Doom arrives shortly thereafter and attacks the Thing, pulling him out of the Baxter Building and into Central Park. The Thing proves to be no match for Doom and is rendered immobile by the Power Cosmic.

Meanwhile, Johnny and his friend Wyatt Wingfoot are teleported to the roof of the Baxter Building by the Inhuman's dog Lockjaw. Johnny is furious that the animal has still failed to teleport them behind the Negative Zone barrier that traps the Inhumans in the Great Refuge. However, their attentions are taken elsewhere when Wyatt notices a gaping hole in the side of the building and they decide to go in and investigate. While home in Southampton, Reed Richards is working hard on a new invention when he is suddenly attacked by Doctor Doom. Like the Thing before him, Richards proves to be no match for the cosmic powered Doctor Doom. As Doom confronts Reed and Sue, Johnny finds the immobilized body of Ben and rushes to Southampton to get Reed's help. While Johnny battles Doom, Reed and Sue flee the sudden inferno. While back in Central Park, Wyatt Wingfoot uses Reed's Metabolic Accelerator to restore the Thing to normal. As Johnny's battle with Doom rages on, both Wyatt and Ben arrive on the scene. When Johnny moves clear, Wyatt fires an explosive shell at Doctor Doom, but it has no effect on their foe either.

Helpless against Doom, the Fantastic Four resign to their fate. Doom then reveals that the entire purpose of his battle with them was not to destroy his hated foes, but to show them how futile it is to try to stop him. Doom speeds away gloating over how he will use his new found power to take over the world and his most hated enemies can do nothing about it.

59. "Doomsday"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Brief Summary:
Reed Richards warns the world about Doctor Doom's new found powers, but none of the world's armies are able to stop him. Reed works in his lab struggling to find a way to stop him. Doctor Doom grows tired of showing off his power and decides to begin his conquest of the world. Meanwhile, Black Bolt decides to use his powers to shatter the Negative Barrier that was containing the Inhumans. While the Inhumans repair their damaged city, the royal family decides to venture out into the world.

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Detailed Summary:
Following their encounter with the cosmic powered Doctor Doom, Reed Richards provides information to the US Chief of Staff, who orders a full mobilization of military forces following the grim news. Reed is about to give up, but Ben purposely agitates Reed with a fight in order to get him thinking of a solution. The ploy works when Reed stops the fight to go work in his lab. Meanwhile the Russian military sends fighter jets to attack Latveria before Doctor Doom can strike at them, but the jets are annihilated by Doom's fantastic new powers. Following his easy victory, Doom then pays a visit to the weakened Silver Surfer who is still a captive in his dungeon to gloat over stealing the Surfer's powers and his future conquest of the world.

As Reed works in his lab he struggles to find a solution when he is told by Sue and Ben that Wyatt is worried about Johnny. Reed contacts Wingfoot and learns that Johnny has been training with soldiers in order to prepare for another battle with Doctor Doom. Reed forbids Johnny from going on this mission, and Wyatt manages to convince Johnny to follow orders. As they drive back to the Baxter Building, Wyatt is relieved that Johnny is focused on something other than the Inhumans for once.

Meanwhile at the Great Refuge of the Inhumans, Black Bolt has come to the only conclusion there is in order to remove the Negative Zone barrier that blocks his people from the outside world. He silently orders all his people to go to the shelters deep below the city. Only Maximus refuses to go to shelter and even though he is completely mad wishes to stand by his brother's side. Black Bolt allows this and then suddenly screams. The force of the scream is powerful enough to shatter the Negative Zone barrier, but also decimates the Great Refuge as well.

While around the world Doctor Doom gives the people of Earth a demonstration of his power by plunging a European village into darkness, turning the Aegean Islands into a frozen wasteland, and mutating a gorilla in Africa into a powerful rampaging monster. After observing this, Reed Richards shows Ben a miniaturized prototype of the weapon he plans to use against Doctor Doom. Testing it out on Ben angers the Thing and he attacks Reed but is still too weak from his battle with Doctor Doom to put up much of a fight.

Back at the Hidden Land of the Inhumans, the people emerge from their shelters to find that they are free but their cities are in ruins. Black Bolt then decrees that while his people are rebuilding their home, the royal family shall venture out into the world. Soon Black Bolt, Crystal, Gorgon, Medusa, Karnak and Triton leave in a ship. Maximus is happy that they are gone and begins scheming on how to take over the throne once again, but when he tries to gain loyal followers none wish to work with the madman.

While Reed Richards is hard at work constructing the full sized version of his weapon against their foe, Doctor Doom grows tired of his show of power and decides to finally use his power to take over the world.

60. "The Peril and the Power!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Brief Summary:
The Fantastic Four continue their desperate struggle against the newly powered up Doctor Doom. However, no matter how hard they fight, they can not stop him. They are able to delay him long enough for Reed's Anti-Cosmic Flying Wing to be deployed. It attacks Doom and leads him up into the Earth's orbit and directly into Galactus' invisible barrier. He disappears in a flash of light and Silver Surfer's surfboard returns to its rightful owner.

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Detailed Summary:
The Fantastic Four witnesses Doctor Doom continuing to put on a display of his new power. The Thing becomes impatient waiting for Reed's plan to come to fruition and tries to leave to fight Doom alone but is stopped by Mister Fantastic. Suddenly, Wyatt Wingfoot enters the Baxter Building to warn them that Johnny has rushed off to fight Doom alone.

Just as Wyatt is telling the rest of the Fantastic Four these troubling news, the Torch has caught up with Doctor Doom and attacks him with full force. Despite this, Doom is able to deflect Johnny's flame attacks thanks to the Power Cosmic that he now controls, ultimately blasting the youthful hero away in a whirlwind. While back in Latveria, the weakened Silver Surfer struggles to break free from his cell. He is found by one of Doctor Doom's guards who starts beating the alien for his own amusement.

Meanwhile, the Black Panther has provided the Fantastic Four with a new ship to follow Johnny and Doctor Doom. When the FF find Doom, the dictator makes short work of their ship by crushing it with a tree. Reed, Sue and Ben manage to escape the ship being destroyed, but Doom is coming to attack. He focuses on the Thing, in order to get revenge on the monster for crushing his hands during a previous encounter. [6] Even though he puts in his best efforts, Ben is no match for the new cosmically powered Doctor Doom, but he still continues to fight. At that very moment, the Watcher continues to struggle watching the battle from his viewing post on the moon. Unable to resist the temptation of interfering with the battle, the Watcher decides to visit a far off sector of space where a new race is evolving in order to resist the temptation.

Back on Earth, Reed and Sue climb to safety and find Johnny on the battlefield. They manage to catch up with Ben and Doom. The Fantastic Four begin attacking Doom in a concentrated effort, but whatever they try to do, Doom has a countermeasure to stop them. Elsewhere in Europe, the Inhumans have landed their ship and begin trying to build a new home, however they are spotted by some locals. Highly prejudiced of these new strangers, some xenophobic locals try to attack the Inhumans, but are sent fleeing when Gorgon stomps his hooves.

Finally, the Fantastic Four have distracted Doom long enough for the construction of Reed's Anti-Cosmic Flying Wing to be completed and deployed. It begins to weaken Doom as it flies by, and when it takes off, Doom goes after it in a vein attempt to try and destroy it. This is all part of Reed's ultimate plan as the flying wing takes Doom high up into the atmosphere where he impacts with the barrier placed around the Earth by Galactus. Because he has the Surfer's powers, this barrier seemingly destroys Doom upon impact, ending his threat. As Reed explains what happened, they witness as the Silver Surfer's surfboard -- no longer carrying Doom -- flies toward Doctor Doom's castle and its rightful owner.

61. "Where Stalks the Sandman?"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Brief Summary:
When the Fantastic Four return to the Baxter Building, they realize that there is an intruder hiding within. It turns out that the Sandman has returned with augmented powers (from the technology that he had previously stole from Reed). Meanwhile, the Silver Surfer gets his powers and board back and destroys Doom's castle in revenge. Crystal leaves the Inhumans to find the Human Torch. And Reed gets sucked into the Negative Zone during their battle with Sandman.

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Detailed Summary:
Reed, Sue and Ben return to their Baxter Building headquarters following their battle against Doctor Doom, when suddenly the headquarters' defenses begin attacking the Thing. As Reed shuts down the defenses it becomes painfully obvious that someone is in their headquarters stalking them.

Meanwhile in the dungeon of Doctor Doom's castle in Latveria, Doom's guards continue to taunt their prisoner, the Silver Surfer. Suddenly, the Surfer's board smashes through the wall it returns to its rightful master following the defeat of Doctor Doom. With his Power Cosmic now restored, the Surfer takes to the skies to escape but not before decimating Doom's castle.

Back in America, the Fantastic Four begin searching for the intruder in their headquarters when the room is suddenly flooded with sand. The three are dragged into another room where the sand suddenly reforms into the Sandman. The one-time member of the Frightful Four has come with a new costume comprised of equipment previously stolen from the Baxter Building to get revenge against his foes. With more control over his powers than ever before, the Sandman mercilessly pounds his three foes and gloats how the Human Torch is not around to help them.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Europe the Inhuman royal family has settled into a new location. But Crystal has grown restless as she desperately wishes to seek out the Human Torch, whom she had fallen in love with during their last encounter. Black Bolt gives her permission to go seeking Johnny out. Crystal uses Lockjaw to teleport to America, and she materializes in the middle of the football field at Metro College where a game between Metro and Empire State University is underway. Recognizing Crystal from a description he got from Johnny, Wyatt Wingfoot tells the girl that Johnny rushed off to the Baxter Building after hearing radio reports of the Sandman's battle with his teammates.

When Johnny arrives at the Baxter Building, he gets there too late to stop the Sandman from sealing himself within Reed's Space-Time Chamber. The Torch uses his powers to melt through the wall and he attacks the Sandman along with Reed, but the pair are not prepared for the Sandman's powers. When the Torch tries to use his flame on the Sandman, he reveals a new ability of his costume: a device that mixes the sand of his body with various other substances. He chooses to mix himself with a freezing compound that when melted creates a poisonous gas. As the chamber fills with the toxic fumes, Reed quickly opens the portal to the Negative Zone in the hopes of sucking all the bad air out and saving their lives. With the possibility of being sucked through the portal, the Sandman decides to flee, smashing out of a nearby window. However, Reed is not as lucky and is sucked in through the portal just moments before the door closes. The FF then watch in horror on the view screen as they see Reed pulled into the Negative Zone and toward the area where positive and anti-matter meet explosively, threatening to end his life in the process.

62. "...And One Shall Save Him!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Continued from last issue...

Following their battle against the Sandman, Reed has been sent hurtling through the Negative Zone, and is en route with the explosive core where positive and anti-matter meet. As the Fantastic Four lament over the situation, Crystal of the Inhumans teleports into their headquarters with her dog Lockjaw. The Human Torch, who has grown to love Crystal, is happy to see that she is finally free, but the reunion is marred by the impending demise of Reed Richards. However Crystal believes that she has a solution and teleports away with Lockjaw to bring help.

Meanwhile, within the Negative Zone, some alien beings pass by the destruction wave and drop off a dangerous criminal who is imprisoned in a special containment suit and left on an asteroid to be drawn into total annihilation. Reed observes as the ship flies away, unaware of the potentially dangerous cargo they just dumped on the opposite side of the asteroid he is standing on.

Back on Earth, a foreign army begins setting up weapons on an a seemingly deserted island in direct contravention of NATO rules. Unfortunately for these soldiers they selected to set up shop on an island claimed by the Inhuman royal family who easily trounce the soldiers and destroy their weapons. With the enemy sub destroyed and the soldiers sent back to the mainland, the Inhumans regroup. They are soon joined by Crystal who explains her plight to them and asks Triton to help pull Reed out of the Negative Zone as Triton's swimming abilities would be the most useful in the zero gravity of that dimension. As the Fantastic Four continue to watch each agonizing moment of their leader's impending demise, Crystal returns with Triton and Lockjaw.

Quickly explaining her plan, Triton is then sent through the Negative Zone portal and quickly "swims" out and rescues Reed and brings him back toward the portal. While their backs are turned, the special containment suit explodes outward, revealing it's prisoner: Blastaar the Living Bomb-Burst. Watching as Triton and Reed Richards pass through the portal back to Earth, Blastaar decides to follow after them. On the other side, the Fantastic Four are happily reunited, and take Reed out of the lab to celebrate. As they go, they are unaware that Blastaar has followed them. Seeing this as a new world to conquer, Blastaar climbs out the window and is suddenly grabbed by the Sandman. The two briefly come to blows until Blastaar hears that the Sandman wishes to work with him and the two agree to team up and destroy the Fantastic Four, then take over the world.

63. "Blastaar, the Living Bomb-Burst!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

After rescuing Reed Richards from the Negative Zone, the Fantastic Four and their ally Triton are attacked by Blastaar -- a being who escaped from the Negative Zone -- and the Sandman. When Reed tries to counterattack he is knocked back, leaving the way open for Triton to enter the fray. Although he gets the drop on Blastaar, Triton is weakened when blasted by the Sandman's moisture robbing sand, and is knocked out. Sandman then grabs Blastaar and takes him down to the street where they begin wreaking havoc upon the people below. Down on the street are the Human Torch and Crystal who are about to go on a date when they see the panicked crowd and decide to go back to the Baxter Building to investigate.

Sandman and Blastaar's rampage attract the police who try to incapacitate Sandman with a cement gun, but he is freed by Blastaar's bomb busts. Sandman begins to question his choice in partner when he realizes that Blastaar is drunk with power. However he is not given time to reconsider since both the Human Torch and the Thing arrive on the scene and begin battling it out with their foes. While inside the Baxter Building, Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Girl get Triton to a water tank to replenish his strength. Watching video of the battle below, Mister Fantastic then begins working on a device to stop Blastaar. As the battle rages on, Blastaar attempts to take Crystal as a hostage, but learns that that is a mistake when she unleashes her elemental powers upon him. Furious that Blastaar attacked his girlfriend, the Human Torch begins unleashing his full power on Blastaar, who is able to withstand the extreme heat.

Meanwhile, the Thing and Sandman continue to tussle until their battle takes them to the docks. The struggle ends when the Thing dumps the Sandman into the water. Defeated, the Sandman allows his body to dissipate in the water in order to escape. Just then, Reed and Sue enter the battle, and while the rest of the Fantastic Four keep Blastaar occupied, Reed manages to clamp on a helmet he invented to incapacitate their foe, ending the battle.

64. "The Sentry Sinister"

List of appearances

Synopsis

As Reed and Ben work in the lab, Sue expresses her displeasure of having been working non-stop for two weeks and demands that the team take a vacation. Talking it through with Reed, they decide that taking a break is exactly what they need after their recent trials and tribulations.

Meanwhile, on a deserted island in the South Pacific a pair of explorers search for existence of an ancient alien civilization on the island. Using a strange artifact, the elderly explorer triggers an energy beam at a jutting rock that uncovers a secret underground bunker of a highly technological race. Inside they find a massive robot that identifies itself as Sentry #459. When the archologist's guide fires his gun at the robot, it immobilizes them with a mass of "Collodial Atoms". While back at the Baxter Building, the Fantastic Four choose where to go on vacation by letting the Thing throw a dart at a map of the world. Coincidentally, the dart hits a small deserted island off the South Pacific. As they prepare to leave, Johnny opts to stay behind to spend some alone time with Crystal, whom he had just recently reunited with. Triton also opts to stay behind to look after Crystal and Lockjaw. Soon, Reed, Sue and Ben take off in the Pogo Plane headed for the island.

At that very moment, the Sentry has emerged from his bunker and activated a device that will put a protective screen around the island that will destroy any other intruders. When the Fantastic Four arrive, they hit the barrier, but are protected by Sue's invisible force field, much to the surprise to the Sentry. It then grabs the Pogo Plane, but the members of the FF manage to disembark and attack. The Thing manages to strike a blow that breaks part of the Sentry's outer housing but it's instant repair circuits kick in and the robot begins to overpower the Thing. Mister Fantastic then enters the fray, knocking the Sentry into the water allowing him to save the Thing.

Back at the Baxter Bulding, Johnny spends time with Crystal while Triton tests out the FF's Air-Cycles. Just before Johnny and Crystal can get intimate they are interrupted first by Lockjaw, then by a distress call from Sue. On the island, Sue keeps her fellow teammates safe until Johnny is teleported there by Lockjaw and enters the battle. During the Torch's battle with the Sentry, one of his flames burns down to the bunker below causing an explosion that cracks open the facility. Falling into the shattered bunker, the other members of the Fantastic Four find the archaeologist and his guide and free them. While the island begins to explode around them, the Fantastic Four and the others are teleported away by Lockjaw. Left alone, the Sentry stands down, unable to abandon his post even as the island explodes around it.

65. "-- From Beyond This Planet Earth!"

List of appearances

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Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

Synopsis

After the destruction of Sentry 459, the Kree Supreme Intelligence has become interested in the planet Earth. The Intelligence probes the minds of the Fantastic Four as they sleep, warning them that their guilt or innocence in the matter will be determined by his agent, Ronan the Accuser. The Fantastic Four all awaken, surprised to learn that they all experienced the same exact dream, leaving them to ponder what it could really mean.

While out in deep space, Ronan the Accuser is in his ship en route. Arriving above Earth orbit, Ronan then uses his Matter Transmitter to teleport himself to the surface of the Earth. Materializing in the middle of New York City, Ronan then erects a Aura of Negativism in order to conduct his trial uninterrupted by outsiders.

Meanwhile, unaware of the dangers, the Fantastic Four begin going about their day. While Reed and Sue are out on a dinner date they suddenly vanish in the middle of their meal. Johnny is teleported away while out on a joy ride in his new hot rod with Crystal. Lastly the Thing is teleported away as he is on his way out to meet Alicia. They find themselves trapped within the Aura of Negativity with Ronan. When the Thing tries to attack the Accuser he is instantly felled by a blast form Ronan's Universal Weapon. He quickly downs Ben, Johnny and Reed. After this show of power, Ronan uses his Universal Weapon to change Reed, Sue and Johnny's street clothes into their Fantastic Four uniforms. He then tells them to prepare for sentencing while the Thing struggles to get to his feet, just as Ronan finds them guilty of crimes against the Kree Empire.

At that same time, Alicia waits for Ben to arrive, but becomes worried because he has never been so late before. Suddenly she is greeted by a stranger in her room who convinces her that to trust him as she is needed elsewhere. This stranger then leads Alicia out of the room as the two somehow manage to pass through the wall of her apartment. Back at the Aura of Negativity, the authorities have gathered and are trying to use high tech weapons to breach the barrier, but find that they are no use against it. Inside the cone, the Fantastic Four rush at Ronan, ready to fight for their lives. Both Johnny and Reed are knocked out in the initial fight, but Ben manages to grab hold of Ronan and pin him to the ground just as his Universal Weapon is being fired. The resulting blast causes Ronan and the Aura to disappear. As the Fantastic Four try to make sense of this encounter, Reed suspects that the Kree will be returning to their world very soon. As he is saying this, the Kree ship carrying Ronan the Accuser returns to its home galaxy.

66. "What Lurks Behind the Beehive?"

List of appearances

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

  • Him (First appearance) (Behind the scenes)

Locations:

Items:

Synopsis

Ben has asked Reed and Sue to help him uncover the location of Alicia after she has turned up missing, starting at her apartment. When Ben begins beating himself up over his appearance and how Reed has apparently stopped trying to cure him. When Reed tries to console Ben, the Thing angrily swats him aside and storms out of the room. When Sue gets her husband up off the ground, he reveals that he hasn't stopped trying to find a formula that will cure Ben, and that he has been keeping his work a secret until he finds one that will work permanently.

Meanwhile at a secret facility known as the Beehive, Hamilton arrives with Alicia Masters with him through the Transfer-Grid via his Space Warpers. She is introduced to the other members of the Enclave: Zota, Morlak and Shinski. They explain to her that they are all experts in their scientific fields and have asked her to help them out with their latest creation. They then take her to a large slab of clay in order to test her ability to sculpt based on what she feels. When she succeeds in creating a perfect rendition of Morlak's face, passing the test that they wished to conduct.

Back in New York, the Thing spends his time brooding as he walks through Central Park. He runs into a police officer who notices that he is down and offers to help, but Ben isn't interested in the sympathy of others. His mood takes a bit of a turn for the better when a group of adoring fans come to meet him and one of the young girls in the group kisses him on the cheek and runs off to tell her friends. With his sense of self-worth renewed, Ben heads back to the Baxter Building. There on the roof, the Human Torch returns home to find that Crystal is unimpressed with how he suddenly abandoned her when the were out joyriding. [7] But the two manage to patch things up when Johnny starts to fool around. When they go into the building they find Reed hard at work on a device called a Heat-Image Tracer that will hopefully allow them to reconstruct the moments leading up to Alicia's disappearance.

Meanwhile, at the Beehive, Zota and the others take Alicia on a tour of the facilities when suddenly there is an explosion out in Lock 41, prompting the Enclave troops to mobilize to contain the danger. They explain to her that they have been working for years to try and create an artificial lifeform. When they succeeded their creation broke free from its tank and hid itself deep inside Lock 41, using its fantastic powers to force everyone out with it's blinding light. Alicia quickly realizes what they have asked her to do: They want her to go into Lock 41 and get an idea of what their creation looks like, as she is blind its defenses will have no effect on her.

In New York, the Thing returns to Alicia's apartment with some flowers and learns from her landlady that she hasn't returned, but his teammates are upstairs in her room. Going up to see, he finds that Reed has set up his Heat-Image Tracer to try and reconstruct what happened to Alicia. After scanning the room, they replay what they have captured and witness her kidnapping at the hands of Hamilton. [7] At the Beehive, Alicia and Hamilton begin suiting up to enter Lock 41. Inside, they push through the rocky terrain until they are held back by a flaming barrier. As Reed begins examining the footage he has captured, he notices that Hamilton was using Space Warpers and believes he can replicate the devices. While back at the Enclave, Alicia and Hamilton prepare as the creature known as Him begins to approach them.

67. "When Opens the Cocoon!"

List of appearances

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Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:

  • Vacuum Car

Synopsis

Continued from last issue...

After examining the footage of Alicia's abduction, Mister Fantastic begins working on replicating the device that allowed her abductor to pass through a solid wall to wherever he came from. After getting components from Tony Stark, Reed is finally ready to complete the process that will eventually help them find out where Alicia was taken.

Meanwhile, deep within Lock 41 of the Beehive, Alicia Masters and Hamilton continue down the tunnel to find the artificially created man known as Him. The scientists' creation fights back with blasts and beams of energy that keep Hamilton back, but Alicia presses along on her own despite his protests. When Hamilton tries to go after her, he is caught up in strange tendrils that come out of the walls. While outside in the main lab, the other scientists monitor the progress. With fears that Him may be impossible to control, Shinski shows them their final fail save, a device that will create an ultrasonic wave that will send Him into the deepest reaches of space where the artificial man will be no threat to them.

Back at he Baxter Building, Sue, Johnny, Ben and Crystal all sit down for breakfast while they wait for Reed to emerge from his lab. After two days of work, Reed believes that the device used to kidnap Alicia has been correctly duplicated. Back at Lock 41, Alicia finally makes it to Him where she learns that the artificial being has sealed himself in a cocoon. Ready to emerge from his chrysalis, Him admits that he is weak and frightened, but Alicia assures Him that she will remain there for the duration of this metamorphosis. At that very moment, Reed completes his assembly of the device. He tells Sue and Crystal to remain behind. Holding Ben and Johnny's hands, Reed surprises everyone when the trio suddenly pass through a solid wall and end up at the Beehive complex where Alicia is being kept. There they are attacked by the guards, and respond in kind.

Deep within Lock 41, Hamilton catches up with Alicia and is surprised to find that Him will emerge from his cocoon in moments. Seeing their creation as an evil abomination of science he tries to destroy it but Him fights back with a single blast, stunning both Alicia and Hamilton before beginning his final transformation. By this time, the Thing has managed to force Alicia's location out of one of the guards and the Fantastic Four rush to her rescue. Inside Lock 41, Hamilton is leading Alicia to safety when a wall collapses on him, killing him. Alicia is then found by Ben and Johnny. They quickly flee the scene as Him's power levels continue to rise. As the Fantastic Four leave, the scientists who created Him realize that their experiment has gone too far and try to activate the device to abort Him into space, but it fails to work. As the Fantastic Four and Alicia pass through the doorway back home, Him emerges from Lock 41. The perfect, golden skinned and blonde haired man, admonishes his creators for creating him for their evil ends and sentences them to death. Suddenly, the Beehive explodes, seemingly slaying all within.

68. "His Mission: Destroy the Fantastic Four!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

The Fantastic Four pay a visit to Alicia, who has been hospitalized after her encounter with the scientists of the Beehive. [8] The tender moment between Ben and Alicia is soured when Ben implies that he is taking advantage of her blindness as a selfish means of dating her. Reed gets Ben out of the hospital room and asks him what is wrong. Ben admits that he has doubts that Alicia would remain with him if she ever got her eyesight back and saw what he really looked like as the Thing. When Reed tries to reassure Ben that Alicia truly loves him, Ben finds it hard to believe and begs Reed to find a way to restore him to normal.

At that very moment the chemist Doctor Santini has been captured by a mysterious man who exposes Santini to his hypno-lenses. Demanding to know what Reed Richards had hired him for, the man learns that Santini was sought out to help try and find a cure for the Thing's condition. This gives their mysterious enemy just the right avenue to get revenge against his hated foes.

While back at the Baxter Building, Reed conducts another test on Ben's body in his ongoing quest to try and find a means to cure his friend. He tells Ben that with the help of Doctor Santini he may be able to create a cure that will be permanent this time around. As they exit Reed's lab, they walk in on Sue trying on her new modified costume that has a mini-skirt. When she is spotted she is embarrassed and tries to turn invisible. This turns into a playful chase between husband and wife. When Reed wraps himself around his wife, Ben helps her out by blowing so hard that Reed is thrown off of her. This makes Reed happy since it appears that Ben is acting like his old self again.

At that moment at a nearby garage, Johnny shows off his girlfriend Crystal to his friends. When they begin hitting on Crystal, Johnny reacts poorly by giving one of his friends a literal hot foot. Upset by Johnny's immaturity, she summons up a whirlwind with her elemental powers to shake things up a bit. As Ben, Reed and Sue have some fun, their mysterious foe completes his disguise so that he looks identical to Doctor Santini and prepares to enact his plan of revenge against the Fantastic Four. Back at their headquarters, Ben puts on his best suit for their guest, but it bursts at the seams because he was holding his breath to put it on. When "Doctor Santini" arrives, he is introduced to Ben. After seeing a display of the Thing's power, "Santini" promises that after this experiment Ben will be an entirely different person. Reed begins to work with "Santini" on a possible cure.

Meanwhile, Ben has gone for a walk and is so lost in thought, he is oblivious when members of the Yancy Street Gang manage to knock off his hat with a shot from a slingshot. As the two scientists complete their work, they believe they have some sort of success. Although she doesn't voice her concerns, Sue has come to mistrust "Doctor Santini" but cannot explain why. When Ben returns he is excited to get the experiment under way hoping it will cure him. First Ben goes into a chemical bath and then is bombarded with mesa rays. Finally Ben is strapped into a "molecul-board" for a final bombardment of energy. When "Santini" announces an unexpected adjustment, Reed tries to stop him but he is too late. When the beam hits Ben it doesn't change him back to normal, it only affects his personality. Filled with a total rage, the Thing blames Reed for failing to restore him to normal yet again, this time fully prepared to kill his best friend.

This story is continued next issue...

69. "By Ben Betrayed!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

With Ben turned evil he goes on a rampage through New York City with his comrades trailing behind him trying their best to stop him, leaving the bogus Dr. Santini -- dropping his disguise to reveal that he is really the Mad Thinker -- with full access to Reed's laboratory. The Thinker boasts that once the Fantastic Four have been defeated, he will no longer be known as the Mad Thinker, but instead will be recognized as the All-Powerful Thinker.

While the FF and the National Guard try to stop Ben's rampage across the city, the real Dr. Santini awakens to find that he's being watched by a powerful Android, and the Mad Thinker finds Reed's portal to the Negative Zone. Before the Thinker can decide what to do with the portal, he reasons that if Reed Richards is still alive then Reed will figure out soon who was impersonating Dr. Santini, and thus he rushes back to his hideout to deal with the real Dr. Santini before the police arrive. Just then, taking a break from fighting the Thing, Mr. Fantastic comes to the realization that this series of incidents could only have been orchestrated by the Mad Thinker and asks the police to help in sweeping the city to try and find the Thinker's hideout.

While elsewhere in the city, the rampaging Thing manages to slip past the authorities, dead set on ruining Reed Richards once and for all.

70. "When Fall The Mighty"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, and the New York police manage to track down the Mad Thinker's hideout in the hopes of finding a way of restoring the Thing's personality to normal. Upon their arrival, they are attacked by the Thinker's army of androids. While they destroy the androids, the Torch speeds forward just as the Mad Thinker begins flooding the room with water.

While out on the street, the Thing learns of the police dragnet out trying to find him from the newspaper and decides to go to the Mad Thinker's hideout to get his final "revenge" against Reed Richards. When a taxi fails to stop for him, he goes on a rampage in the streets attracting the police and forcing Ben to flee through the sewers. Back at the Baxter Building, Sue laments over the situation and is comforted by Crystal. Meanwhile, at the Mad Thinker's hideout, the Torch melts a hole in the floor to stop the room from flooding but flies directly into an electro-wall barrier blocking their path into the next room. Elsewhere, the Thing emerges in the New York Subway and hitches a ride on a train on his way to the Thinker's secret lab. Just then Mister Fantastic slips under the barrier and with the help of the real Doctor Santini manages to knock out the Mad Thinker and turn him over to the authorities.

When the Thing arrives he attacks Reed and Johnny, who begin luring him across town to the Baxter Building. Taken to a jail cell, the Mad Thinker is not completely out of tricks and remotely activates one of his androids which also makes its way to the Baxter Building. Just as Johnny steers Ben into the path of the menta-wave unit, Reed blasts him. The jolt knocks the Thing out, leaving Johnny to believe he died. Before they can check, the Thinker's android comes crashing through the wall, just as Sue enters the room to see what is going on.

71. "... And So It Ends..."

List of appearances

Synopsis

Continued from last issue..

With her teammates all knocked out trying to restore the Thing's personality after it was altered by the Mad Thinker, only the Invisible Girl is left standing when the Thinker's android comes crashing through the wall. In order to get away she turns invisible, but when the android turns its attention to her husband, she blasts it with an electro-force beam. While it stuns her foe, it also works to revive Reed, Ben and Johnny. Sue then begins dodging the robot when it begins tracking her with its radar system until the Thing gets up. Ben has been restored back to his normal personality and begins fighting the android. With Sue's help, Ben manages to knock the robot out of the building.

However, when Johnny and Reed revive they believe that the Thing is still under the Thinker's control and is attacking Sue and come to her "rescue", until Sue tells them that Ben is back to normal and they all stand down. While down below, the android picks itself off the ground and flies back up to the Fantastic Four's headquarters. When it begins to attack, Johnny tries to use his flame powers, but the android counteracts this by coating its body in ice. When Johnny was then frozen and knocked out, the android attempted to throw him from the building, but was stopped at the last moment by Reed who saved Johnny's life. Reed then lured the android into his space-time laboratory and sent it hurtling into the open portal into the Negative Zone, ending its threat. In the aftermath of the battle, Reed went to rush to his wife's aid while Crystal went to check on Ben and Johnny to see if they are all right. In the aftermath, Reed informs the team that due to Sue's pregnancy and the constant danger in their lives, the pair are quitting the Fantastic Four.

This story is continued next issue....

72. "Where Soars the Silver Surfer!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Brief Summary:
The Silver Surfer decides that the best way to unite the planet is to give it a common enemy, himself. He starts to attack countries all over the earth, but the Fantastic Four confront him. They are not able to stop him, so the US Army's latest missile is launched at him. It starts to weaken the Surfer, but the Thing destroys it in order to save his life. This humbles the Surfer and he realizes the error of his ways.

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Detailed Summary:
Ben, Johnny and Crystal are lamenting about the fate of the Fantastic Four now that Reed and Sue have left the group when they are warned by the Watcher that the Silver Surfer intends to attack humanity. While on a train bound for a new home for Reed and Sue, Reed reiterates that this is the best choice so Sue is not put at risk while she is pregnant.

Meanwhile the Surfer, having seen nothing but bigotry, hatred, greed, and oppression while traveling the Earth, decides to attack humanity in hopes that they will unite together and forget their differences in order to try and stop him. This brings him into combat with both the Thing and the Human Torch. The army prepares to launch a special missile to deal with the Surfer while the Watcher stops the train that the Richards are riding on and asks Reed to aid his friends in stopping the Surfer. Leaving Sue behind, Reed is transported by the Watcher to the Baxter building where he meets Johnny and the two travel to where the Thing is battling the Surfer alone.

At that moment the military launches their special Sonic Shark missile, Reed and Johnny chase after the Surfer in the Pogo plane, when the Surfer is hit with the missile that starts to drain his cosmic energies. The Thing knocks the missile into orbit before it can explode and kill the Surfer and the weakened and humbled Surfer realizes the errors of his ways. He bids farewell to the Fantastic Four to continue his journey to find his place on the Earth.

73. "The Flames of Battle --"

List of appearances

Synopsis

This story takes place after the events of Daredevil #38...

Tricked into believing that Doctor Doom is disguised as Daredevil as part of a sneak attack on the Baxter Building, Reed, Johnny and Ben prepare for his arrival. In reality, it is the real Daredevil, coming to warn them of Doctor Doom's latest scheme. But when he approaches the Baxter Building he is attacked by the Human Torch. He manages to douse the Torch's flame by tricking the youth into crashing into a water tower. As Daredevil pulls the Torch out of the water, he is approached by Spider-Man who believes DD when he explains his situation. Deciding they need more assistance, Spider-Man goes out looking for anyone else who might be able to help them and finds Thor stumbling through the city. When Spidey tries to convince Thor to help, he initially denies the request because he has another task ahead of him, but changes his mind when Spider-Man questions his bravery.

Meanwhile, Daredevil has reached the top of the Baxter Building and is attacked by the Thing and Mister Fantastic. As they struggle, Daredevil manages to activate the demolo-gun that Reed had set up on the roof in order to break free. Seeing the devastation below, Spider-Man and Thor rush to the scene. They arrive just as the Torch revives and rejoins his teammates, attacking Spider-Man and Thor. As Daredevil battles Mister Fantastic, Thor struggles with the Thing and Spider-Man clashes with the Torch. Because his strength has been sapped by a spell, Thor convinces his father Odin to briefly restore his full strength so he can hold his own against the Thing.

Just as Reed manages to subdue Daredevil, he is prevented from hitting the hero by one of Sue's invisible force fields. She interrupts the raging battle and points out that Daredevil cannot be Doctor Doom, as Doom was just on television making a public address. With the battle over, and the truth revealed, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Thor all part company leaving the Fantastic Four to wonder about what to do about Doom next. Reed tells them that they cannot invade a sovereign nation, and hopes that Doom does not leave his homeland anytime soon.

74. "When Calls Galactus"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Brief Summary:
The Silver Surfer returns to the Fantastic Four for help, as Galactus is once again summoning him. Human Torch helps him hide from Galactus, while the Thing confronts the Punisher who was sent to find the Surfer. The Fantastic Four begin to overpower the Punisher, when he is teleported away and Galactus appears to search for the Surfer himself.

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Detailed Summary:
Ben Grimm pays a call to his girlfriend Alicia Masters and is shocked to see that the Silver Surfer has already paid her a visit. He quickly learns that the Surfer is depressed because Galactus has summoned him. When Ben acts dismissive of this the Surfer loses his temper and attacks the Thing, having grown tired of Ben's jealousy over the larger issue. He commands Ben to look in his eyes and he sees an image of the Punisher coming to Earth. They quickly arrive at the Baxter Building where Johnny is helping a clean-up crew with repairs to their headquarters following their battle with Daredevil, Thor and Spider-Man. When they tell Johnny what is going on, the youth is not very sympathetic, opining that maybe the alien should go back to his master so that he can end his exile on Earth. The Silver Surfer states that he could never be a herald again, as he doesn't want to help Galactus destroy any more planets. The argument does not go much further as the Punisher arrives outside the building. While he is not as powerful as he has been in the past, the Surfer exerts all his strength and fires an atom-compacting thrust to try and stop the invader. The work crew makes a run for it as Johnny and Ben prepare for battle.

Ben ventures out to the rubble to see if the Punisher was destroyed and is attacked. The two begin battling it out as Johnny enters the fray as well. Elsewhere Reed and Crystal begin trying to convince Sue that she needs to get out of the city until the baby is born because it's the only way she will remain safe. Suddenly they hear the battle raging outside with the Punisher and Reed rushes off to help. He arrives just in time so save Johnny after he knocks the Punisher into the river and the resulting splashdown douses his flame. As Reed begins to battle the Punisher, Galactus draws ever closer to Earth, his hunger growing he is fully prepared to rescind his oath to spare the Earth if his former herald refuses to return to the stars as his herald once more.

Back on Earth, Ben pulls himself out of the rubble and takes a cab out to the waterfront to rejoin the battle with his friends. When the three male members of the Fantastic Four begin to pile on the Punisher, the robot is overpowered and is suddenly teleported away, leaving them to ponder their next challenge -- Galactus himself. Just then the ship carrying Galactus appears over the Earth and a search beam is trained on the planet to search for his exiled herald. In the aftermath of the battle, the FF realize that the Surfer had disappeared when the fighting started. Johnny suddenly remembers what the Surfer had said before he vanished, that there were "worlds within worlds."

75. "Worlds Within Worlds!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Brief Summary::
Galactus is not able to find the Silver Surfer, so he determines to attack the Fantastic Four until they give up his location. No matter what he does to them, the Fantastic Four will not be defeated. It's when he threatens the Earth with a giant meteor that Reed agrees to find the Surfer for Galactus. Back at his lab, Reed realizes that the Surfer is hiding within the Microverse.

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Detailed Summary:
With Galactus searching for the now missing Silver Surfer; Reed, Ben and Johnny begin to ponder where their sometime ally might have vanished. While in deep space, Galactus finishes his probe of the Earth. With his hunger growing, Galactus must find the Silver Surfer and find a new world soon or else he will be forced to consume the planet he previously vowed to spare. Realizing that the key to finding his exiled herald lays in convincing the Fantastic Four to betray his location, Galactus uses his powers to attack them. Rending the ground from beneath them, Galactus then uses his power to send the trio into the upper atmosphere but returns them to Earth before they die in the void. Recovering from the ordeal Reed, Johnny and Ben are shocked when constructs of themselves suddenly rise from the water. As the Fantastic Four battle these cosmic powered doppelgangers, the Human Torch wonders how the Surfer can hide from something so powerful. As he wonders this, the Surfer continues to shrink down in size, flying onto the slide on a microscope in Reed's lab. He shinks sufficiently enough to enter the Microverse, bringing him a sort of peace that now -- in this strange alternate universe seemingly existing within the molecules of the world he knows -- he can soar the vast empty space of a universe for the first time since his exile.

Meanwhile, the battle between the Fantastic Four and their doubles rages on. Each member finds their duplicate to be an even match. When Reed suddenly realizes that each one is skilled at fighting their equal, he suggests that they switch opponents. Sure enough, these cosmic constructs are quickly defeated. Then Galactus sends a mental command to the Fantastic Four, ordering them to bring the Surfer to him or suffer to consequences. To show that he is not bluffing, he commands a massive meteor to appear over New York City, causing those viewing this danger on the street to panic. As this happens, Crystal is watching over Sue in a hotel room, and decides to keep this from Mrs. Richards, fearing that such news might strain her already complicated pregnancy.

With the meteor heading straight for Manhattan, Reed quiets his teammates long enough to summon the mental control to reach out to Galactus with his mind. Mister Fantastic agrees that they will help him find the Silver Surfer but they will need time. Although Galactus grows impatient he allows the Fantastic Four the time they need, teleporting them to Reed's lab to expedite the search. Having deduced that the Surfer has escaped into the Microverse, Reed takes his teammates to a vehicle he has constructed to explore that other world.

76. "Stranded in Sub-Atomica!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Brief Summary::
The Fantastic Four enter the Microverse to find the Silver Surfer. They try to force him to come back with him, but the Surfer overpowers them. They are then attacked by the Psycho-Man's Indestructible One. Delayed by this new menace, they start to worry about Galactus destroying the Earth. Hearing this, the Surfer makes the Indestructible One disappear and agrees to confront Galactus.

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Detailed Summary:
Needing to find the Silver Surfer in the Microverse in order to appease the commands of Galactus, the Fantastic Four travel into that dimension by using Reed's newly build Reducta-Craft, which allows them to shrink down in size small enough to cross over into this micro-universe. As they venture to this other world, Sue's doctor pays her a visit to monitor the progress of her pregnancy. When she frets over her husband, her doctor orders her not to listen to any upsetting news stories. After he leaves, Sue begs Crystal to know what she is keeping from her, but the young Inhuman tries to avoid telling what she knows, should it have an adverse effect on Sue's pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four have breached the barrier and entered into the Microverse. There they begin their search for the Silver Surfer, but Reed cautions them to be careful as they are venturing into the realm of their foe the Psycho-Man. Soon they cross paths with the Surfer and attack to try and knock him out. When the Surfer lands on a nearby asteroid, the FF land their ship and try to subdue their sometime ally. The Surfer easily fights them off and returns to soaring the space ways of the Microverse. As he flies away, his passing is detected by a ship carrying the Pscyho-Man. Detecting his old foes the Fantastic Four in the vicinity, the Psycho-Man unleashes his Indestructible One upon them.

As the Fantastic Four try to follow after the Surfer they are attacked by the Indestructible One. As they clash with the construct, above the Earth, Galactus grows impatient and begins his preparations to consume the planet. While in the Microvese; Reed, Johnny and Ben continue to clash with the Psycho-Man's construct and begin to grow desperate with the longer this battle delays their hunt for the Surfer. Hearing Mister Fantastic's panic, the Surfer returns and uses his Power Cosmic to destroy the construct they are fighting. After hearing about the current threat, The Silver Surfer grimly tells his friends that he realizes that he has a duty to protect the people of Earth and agrees to return to face Galactus. As the Surfer heads to Earth alone, the Psycho-Man observes and prepares to unleash a full out assault on the three remaining intruders in his domain.

77. "Shall Earth Endure?"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Brief Summary:
The Silver Surfer returns to Earth, while the Fantastic Four stay in the Microverse to battle the Psycho-Man. The Surfer agrees to help Galactus find another planet to eat in order to save the Earth once again. The Fantastic Four leave the Microverse, thinking that their world still needs to be saved, and the Surfer is returned to Earth by Galactus.

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Detailed Summary:
As the Silver Surfer returns to Earth to appease his former master Galactus, the Fantastic Four's leader Mister Fantastic has opted that they will remain in the Microverse until the threat of the Psycho-Man has also been resolved as well. As they discuss their next course of action a device flies towards them and teleports them aboard the Psycho-Man's ship. There the Psycho-Man reveals his intentions of destroying the Fantastic Four before making his next attempt to conquer Earth. When Johnny lashes out with his flame powers, seemingly destroying Psycho-Man, they find that he has tricked them with an encepho-projector that projected a hologram of their foe.

Back on Earth, the Silver Surfer has increased in size enough that he has returned from the Microverse. Upon his arrival he is greeted by Crystal and updates her on what's going on. She tells him not to mention any danger to Sue, and explains that she is pregnant. When Sue becomes restless from the lack of news about her husband, the Surfer uses his Power Cosmic to sedate her so she can rest. The Surfer then speeds into space to greet Galactus, agreeing to find him a suitable world again in order to spare the Earth from his hunger.

Meanwhile, in the Microverse, the Fantastic Four search for Psycho-Man, smashing their way through his ship and its defenses until they reach their foe. Psycho-Man proves stronger than they had anticipated and he bowls over the Thing. In order to get a breather, Johnny melts down a wall to block his path, but the tyrant of the Microverse smashes through the barrier easily. Ben quickly enters the fray, but the Psycho-Man gets away again, angering Reed who wanted to examine their foe. As the Surfer finds a new world for Galactus to consume, the Fantastic Four track down Psycho-Man again who attacks them in yet another suit of armor, one that can counteract their super-human abilities. However as the struggle continues, the Thing causes some of the Psycho-Man's equipment to fall on him, trapping him. However before Ben can finish him off, Reed tells him that they have to let the Psycho-Man go.

While in space, the Silver Surfer has succeeded in his appointed task and asks Galactus to set him free. Galactus refuses, instead teleporting him back to Earth so that he can find the Silver Surfer easily should he require his assistance in the future. Back in the Microverse, the Thing frees the Psycho-Man as Reed explains the threat of Galactus, and how if the world devourer destroyed the Earth, the Microverse would be destroyed as well. After Psycho-Man probes Reed's mind and learns that he is telling the truth, he teleports them back home in the hopes they can stop Galactus.

78. "The Thing No More!"

List of appearances

Synopsis

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Detailed Summary:
Arriving on Earth from the Microverse, Reed, Ben and Johnny are happily surprised to find the threat of Galactus has been averted. Elsewhere, the Wizard has been released from prison and vows revenge against the Fantastic Four, creating "Wonder Gloves" that increase his strength. After testing the weapons out, he flies towards the Baxter building to get revenge on his foes.

Meanwhile, Reed has come up with yet another invention to change Ben back to a normal human, and surprisingly this time it works with no side effects. Just then the Wizard attacks, and without the added strength of the Thing, Reed and Johnny are unable to match the villain's new powers.

While at the hospital, the doctors have some concerns about the baby Susan is carrying. Speaking to Crystal in private they show her medical charts which show that the cosmic rays in Sue's body could effect the baby. Back at the Baxter Building, Johnny and Reed manage to trap the Wizard and knock him out. While disarming him of his Wonder Gloves, the Wizard revives and manages to escape. Ben finding himself useless asks Reed if there is any way that he can change back to the Thing so he's not as useless in the future. Reed tells him that any attempt to change back into the Thing will be permanent.

79. "A Monster Forever?"

List of appearances

Synopsis

Weighing a decision between being Ben Grimm or the Thing for the rest of his life, Ben decides to leave that decision to Alicia once she has a chance to be with him as ordinary Ben Grimm. Meanwhile, Reed Richards looks over Susan's medical charts with the doctors, becoming aware of the potential threat the cosmic rays in Sue's body could affect the baby; however, he chooses not to tell Sue.

Meanwhile, police officers emptying out the Mad Thinker's old hideout accidentally revive the Android Man who tracks down an energy signature that it detects. The Android Man is taken to the very place where Ben is out on a date with Alicia, drawn there by the energy given off by the Wizard's Wonder Gloves (which are in Ben's possession). In order to battle the Android Man, Ben puts on the Wonder Gloves; however, instead of acting normally and boosting his strength, the radiation emitted turns him back into the Thing.

The Thing defeats the Android Man with ease. When Johnny arrives and tells Alicia that Ben cannot change back into Ben Grimm ever again, Ben claims it is what he had planned all along, and sadly says "Why should I be a nowhere nobody like plain Ben Grimm? When I can be the Thing forever....!"

80. "Where Treads the Living Totem!"

List of appearances

Featured Characters:

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Locations:

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Synopsis

While Susan is still in the hospital, the FF get mail from Johnny's friend Wyatt Wingfoot who has been spending the summer back with his tribe. He asks for the FF's assistance in helping him solve the mystery of some hauntings that have been going on in the area.

Traveling to Wingfoot's tribe, the group learn that the tribes people are being terrorized by their god Tomazooma, the Living Totem. However, they soon learn that an oil company is interested in the land, are behind Tomazooma, using a robot built after the tribe's god of worship to scare them off the land.

With Reed, Johnny and Ben's help, Wyatt manages to destroy the false Tomazooma robot, and after the battle, the group is shocked to see that the real Tomazooma had come to destroy the impostor, but is now leaving seeing that they managed to destroy its fake without its help.

81. "Enter -- The Exquisite Elemental!"

This story is a reprint of the
1st story from Fantastic Four #81