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Fantastic Four #153

Marvel | Back To Fantastic Four | December 1974 | Volume 1 | USA

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Published
December 1974
Comic Age
Bronze
Cover Price
$.25
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  • This issue should contain Marvel Value Stamp #62 - The Plunderer
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Ben angrily accuses Medusa of betraying them, but Reed tries to calm him down, saying that he does not understand. As Ben starts hammering the bars on the stasis-cage, a bolt of energy knocks him to the floor. Reed explains that inside the stasis-cage their breathing, their circulation, and even their talking are much slower than usual. Thus the force of Ben's blow traveled through the bars so slowly that the cage's automatic defenses were activated. As Reed, Johnny, and Ben hang suspended in the cage, Reed further explains that the world of Machus and the world of the Femizons are "moving together," and the resulting collision could destroy all the alternate worlds, including Earth. Reed also says that Medusa probably figured they could escape themselves, and she could not take the time to free them. Taking that as his cue, Johnny flames on and tries to melt the bars, but the cage sucks out all his energy, leaving him weak and his flame extinguished.
Reed then suggests that Johnny concentrate his heat on the bolt that is holding the cage up. Even though the heat will travel slowly, the temperature will eventually rise. So Johnny holds one of the bars with his hand. To an external observer, it would appear as if Johnny applied his heat for only a few minutes, but because Johnny is in the cage, it seems like hours. But finally the bolt melts and the cage falls to the ground in the palace courtyard. No sooner does the cage crash down than guards appear and begin peppering the trio with energy bolts. Johnny is too exhausted to battle, and when the men flood the courtyard with gas, Reed, Ben, and Johnny are overcome. A few hours later, they revive in Mahkizmo's throne room, where Mahkizmo himself is seated on an elevated platform with Thundra chained alongside. Medusa's escape has alarmed the Council of Machus and Mahkizmo's advisors, because if women have reached that degree of competence on their Earth, says Mahkizmo, it is because the men have been weak. Weak men are killed here, he continues. Ben becomes angry, but Reed whispers that eons of unthinking domination have reduced the men of Machus to fanaticism. Lacking opposing viewpoints, continues Reed, they have stagnated mentally.
Mahkizmo then says that by probing Thundra's mind, they have learned that the world of Machus and the world of the Femizons will soon merge. The men of Machus will welcome the new blood into their breeding stables and sculleries, he says, and then Machus will rule over all. Just then Reed lashes out, but he is too slow, because the effect of the stasis-cage has not yet worn off. Mahkizmo then orders the domina-ray turned on the three of them, and after their will to fight is suppressed, Mahkizmo orders them taken to the arena. Reed guesses that the domina-ray allowed Mahkizmo to defeat them before. When Mahkizmo tells Thundra that she will join them in the arena unless she joins him in his bedchamber, she spits out an insult, and seconds later she is shoved down a chute into the arena. Mahkizmo quickly pronounces his sentence—death by combat—and orders the release of the "Three-Who-Wait," and soon three grotesque monsters advance toward the four companions. They realize that this battle will be strenuous, for their will to fight has been sapped and they are still slightly slowed down from being in the stasis-cage. Nevertheless, they know that they shall battle to save an infinite number of alternate worlds. Ben grabs one of the creatures by its tentacles and slams it into the second one. The third one leaps onto Reed, but Reed wraps it in his arms and holds it for Thundra to punch. In a matter of minutes, the three creatures are unconscious. Mahkizmo, however, releases a fourth creature, the Rampager, the deadliest in his menagerie, who stuns Ben with a powerful punch.
(263 Review)

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