FANTASTIC FOUR #164
Marvel | Back To Fantastic Four | November 1975 | Volume 1 | USA | 349 Owned
1st Appearance of the Crusader

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Published
November 1975
Comic Age
Bronze
Cover Price
$.25
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Issue Facts
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  • 1st Appearance "CRUSADER" (Thelius)
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Stories May contain spoliers
 The CRUSADER Syndrome! 

1st Appearance "CRUSADER" (Thelius)

The Baxter Building is once more the scene of another training session for the Fantastic Four. This time it's the Invisible Girl who is testing her powers to make herself and other objects invisible and creating invisible force fields against the Thing. With the test over, it confirms to Mr. Fantastic that Sue's powers have been amplified after being exposed to the 5th Dimensional Thunder Horn.
Johnny enters the room in a new outfit and announces to them all that he's going out on another date before Flaming On and flying off to keep it. The other FF members are happy that Johnny is finally moving on following the wedding of Crystal to Quicksilver. When Johnny arrives on his dates roof-top, he Flames Off, because this girl doesn't know that he's really the Human Torch and, wanting a normal relationship has decided to not let her into his life as a super-hero. Going down to his apartment he meets with his date: Frankie Raye. He takes Frankie to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Their date is interrupted when there is a bright flash of light. Atop of the Washington Square arch is the Crusader, who proclaims that he has come to destroy the sinners of the Earth that are motivated by greed.

He then bursts into the apartment of Calvin McClary, his intended target, grabbing the startled man he whips him into the sky. With someones life at stake Johnny has no choice but to reveal to Frankie that he's the Human Torch in order to save the man's life. Witnessing the transformation, Frankie is locked in fear, however when Johnny leaves McClary with Frankie he fails to notice this. He battles the Crusader who easily defeats Johnny in combat, temporarily blinding him with his light bands, prompting Johnny to fly as high into the air as possible so as not to harm anyone while blinded. During this time, the Crusader throws a chunk of concrete at McClary, seemingly slaying him before teleporting away.
Johnny, with the last of his strength he creates a Fantastic Four signal before passing out and falling toward the ground. Spotting Johnny's signal, Reed quickly stretches out to save his brother-in-law even though it causes him great strain due to his fading powers, but still manages to save Johnny's life. With Ben and Sue joining them, Johnny explains what's happened. Realizing that the Crusader is still a threat, Mr. Fantastic tells the others to return to base while he searches for the Crusader by stretching his legs so that he is many stories high.
 First appearance of Frankie Raye (later Nova II) 

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