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Appearing in "What If... The Fantastic Five had invaded the Negative Zone?"

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Synopsis for "What If... The Fantastic Five had invaded the Negative Zone?"

Uatu the Watcher introduces himself and the Multiverse to the reader, as per usual, before discussing Nexus Beings and how threatening they could potentially be if left unchecked. He then recalls the time the Time-Keepers appointed Immortus custodian of the time stream to remove alternate realities containing Nexi that threaten their existence. Immortus tried to exploit the power of the Ultimate Nexus, the Scarlet Witch, for his benefit, only to result in a chain of events that ultimately led to him bound in limbo with all the nexus energy in the multiverse, under the Time-Keepers' control.

Uatu then tells of recently sensing the Time-Keepers at the Citadel at the End of Time. It appeared that once again the Time-Keepers' existence was in danger, courtesy of four Nexi who had escaped Immortus's notice during his tenure. They have decided these Nexi must be destroyed, and allow the Watcher (whose astral form they detect) to observe the proceedings. The Watcher disapproved the Time-Keepers' intent, but bound by his oath to never interfere, he had no choice but to watch. It was at this moment when he recognized the alternate reality the Time-Keepers were focusing on first: the one where Spider-Man is a member of the Fantastic Five.

Susan Richards was about to give birth, and she and her baby would die unless they could get anti-matter from the Negative Zone. Spider-Man, the Human Torch, Mr. Fantastic and the Thing all traveled to the Zone to retrieve anti-matter. Meanwhile, as Uatu watched, he realized this could not be the same reality he saw before, for this world's variant of Sue was apparently never Queen of Atlantis and instead married Reed, as was the case in the reality of Uatu's primary observance. He asked the Time-Keepers why they've chosen this particular reality, at which point they reveal the Nexus Being of this world is Franklin Richards, the unborn baby, and their provision for his death was the possible victory of Annihilus, the ruler of the Negative Zone.

By chance, one of Annihilus's scavengers captured Spider-Man and took him to his dungeon. Annihilus attempted to take Spider-Man out with his Cosmic Control Rod, only for Peter to blind him with his webbing and make off with it. Meanwhile, outside Annihilus's hideout, Reed, Ben, and Johnny were searching for a way in when they were captured and put against defense mechanisms: a giant robotic foot attempting to crush the Thing, a gyro-saw attempting to slice Mr. Fantastic, and a Sonic Sponge attempting to engulf the Human Torch. They were all saved by Spider-Man, who used the Cosmic Control Rod to eliminate the threats. Reed realized the Rod could be just the thing needed to save Sue and the baby, and the team begin to make their way out of the Negative Zone.

Back with the Watcher and the Time-Keepers, Uatu noted the Fantastic Five had easily overcome Annihilus and his defenses due to the added strength of Spider-Man. However, the Time-Keepers declare they have one more plan to ensure Franklin's death, and begin manipulating the unsuspecting Doctor Doom of this reality. Mr. Fantastic and his team eventually reach the gateway back to their world when they were attacked by Annihilus's gunship. Reed attempted to fiight back with the Rod, only for Doctor Doom to intervene with a force field between them. Doom explained that a disembodied voice had told him about the Cosmic Control Rod as well as how to reach it, and he tokk the Rod for himself, leaving Reed and his team to drift into the anti-matter planet which would eliminate them. Meanwhile, at the hospital, Sue reached the point where the doctors had to bring her to the delivery room, and the doctors confide with Crystal that her and the baby's chances of survival are nearly nonexistent.

Back in the Negative Zone, Annihilus, equipped with his Annihilator, confronted Doom, and a fight broke out between them over who would keep the Cosmic Control Rod. Meanwhile, the FF recovered and managed to escape before they were consumed by anti-matter. As they made their way to Doom and Annihilus, Uatu listened to Reed's monologue and learned his prior assumption about this reality was wrong — this could very well be the same reality he saw before, as Namor had generously gave Sue up to let her be with Reed. Suddenly, Doctor Doom's astral body left during the battle with Annihilus, meeting with an entity calling himself the Whisperer. The Whisperer told Doom he was being manipulated by the Time-Keepers, and that the Cosmic Control Rod would not help him free his mother from Mephisto's thrall like they claimed. The Whisperer then showed Doom that if he didn't give the FF the Cosmic Control Rod back, Reed Richards would go insane and destroy the world. Doom decided to trust the Whisperer, and as soon as his spirit returned to his physical body, he gave up the Rod to the FF. Afterwards, Doom held off Annihilus so the FF can escape, seemingly sacrificing himself as the both of them drifted into the anti-matter planet.

Bewildered by Doom's actions, the FF managed to get to the hospital in time where Susan safely gave birth to Franklin. Meanwhile, Uatu smugly noted that the Time-Keepers failed to prevent the birth of a Nexus Being. Undaunted, the Time-Keepers remained focused on their plot to eliminate the remaining three Nexi, although they didn't know why Doom gave up the Rod and sacrificed himself. It was at that point Uatu silently realized he was the only one who witnessed Doom's meeting with the Whisperer, as well as the Whisperer rescuing him from death at the last instant.

This story is continued next issue...

Appearing in "Lady Deathstrike got a hangnail"

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Synopsis for "Lady Deathstrike got a hangnail"

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