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Written by

  • Tom DeFalco

Art by

  • Paul Ryan


"And Then There Were 3!"


On a mission to rescue the Thing from the clutches of Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four and their allies Lyja and the teenaged Franklin Richards have arrived just as Castle Doom exploded. Facing off against Doom's robot armies. During the battle, the Invisible Woman uses her force fields to defend herself, but the strain causes her to cry out. When Franklin goes to his mother to provide aid, she tells him to stay away, as she is not totally convinced that the teenager who has replaced her baby son isn't an elaborate fraud. The group makes short work of the robots and after the battle is over, the Thing smashes out from under the rubble of the castle. Ben tells them that some alien creature has been unleashed upon the people of Latveria and was the cause of the explosion. Not far from Ben, the group finds Doctor Doom has survived the blast as well. When Reed offers a hand to help Doom to his feet, the Latverian monarch refuses the aid and gets up on his own. As Ben compares notes with the group, the energy creature he fought has retreated back to the Latverian mountains where it has now taken on a physical form. Taking on the form of a golden bat-like creature, the vows to steal the life-forces from every living creature on the planet.

Back at Doom's castle, Doctor Doom pours over the data his technicians have gathered on the creature as he tries to devise a way to stop it. He tells his head techician to gather the batter pack of that contains the last of the energies he stole from Aron the Rogue Watcher as he is already formulating a plan. Meanwhile outside, the Fantastic Four try to convince the citizens of Latveria that must evacuate the area as they are all in grave danger. However none will listen as they believe that their leader Doctor Doom will protect them. While in the forests not far away, the Torch and Franklin have tracked down the alien creature and try to attack it. The creature shrugs off their attacks and unleashes energy blasts of its own that send the two heroes flying. Seeing this, Sue tells Lyja to get ready for another attack. As the alien being enters the city, the Thing tries to attack it with chunks of stone torn from the side of the old buildings in town. The other members of the Fantastic Four begin to pile on, but the alien being has a contingency against all their powers. When it becomes immaterial after they all try to gang up at once, the creature is sent fleeing when a ship carrying one of Doom's technicians attacks. The technician asks Richards to board his craft to assist his master in coming up with a solution. Despite Sue's warnings not to trust Doom, Reed agrees to go, taking his wife with him.

Back at Castle Doom, Reed is brought to Doom's Matter Transference Platform, explaining that he uses it to teleport himself across the globe. The two men begin theorizing on a way to use that technology to banish the alien invader to another world. As the trio begin preparing this device, back outside, Johnny, Lyja, Ben and Franklin continue their battle against the creature outside. Soon, Reed, Sue and Doctor Doom arrive at the scene and begin setting up their equipment. Although the two members of the Fantastic Four believe that the device will simply banish the creature into space, Doom has rigged the device to leech the alien's energies in the process. With two cable to absorb the creature, Reed is protected by Sue's force field and tries to get close to the creature. But the monster's energy onslaught is too much for Sue's force fields and she is forced to drop it. The creature blasts Reed aside, and the feedback causes the device they constructed to explode.

Doom begins to assess the situation and decides to take action when he gets praise from some of his people who still believe that their ruler will save them. Hearing this, Doom begins to eye the battery pack that contains the last of Aron's energies within. As the Fantastic Four clear their injured, the Thing battles the creature and tosses it aside. This puts the creature into the path of Doom, who is using the last of his Power Cosmic to battle the foe into submission. Then while the monster is on the ropes, Doom tries to absorb its energies into his armor, but spends too much time gloating about this victory that the creature blasts his armor full force. As the monster gloats over its defeat of Doom, the Doctor lays on the ground on the edge of death. However he is far from defeated, Doom turns and activated a hand held device that works like the Matter Transferal Device and banishes the alien to deep space, before collapsing. In the aftermath of the battle, Mister Fantastic rushes to the side of his old foe and is surprised when Doom asks Reed to give out his hand. When the two hands meet, Doom suddenly reveals that if he is going to die, he intends on taking his greatest enemy with him. Both Mister Fantastic and Doctor Doom are then seemingly incinerated to nothing more than ash in a blinding flash of energy....


Fantastic Four #381

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