Fantastic Four #261

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The Sub-Mariner sees the Invisible Girl off with a kiss after he and Marrina drop her off at the Baxter Building following their adventure together on the North Pole. Thanking Sue for her help, Namor picks up Marrina and flies away, intent on showing her the splendors of Atlantis. Going inside, Sue recalls how hectic the past 24 hours have been between their battle with Doctor Doom, and her adventure with Marrina and Namor. Checking to see if her husband is home, Sue finds no trace of Reed Richards in the Baxter Building. She then decides to call Avengers Mansion to see if he is still there working on the Vision. When the Avengers butler Jarvis answers the phone he tells her that the Avengers have gone off to investigate a strange energy beam that breached the mansion earlier, but does not know if her husband went along with them. Overhearing the phone conversation is the Silver Surfer, who has recovered from their battle with Tyros. When Sue mentions the beam that the Avengers are investigating, the Surfer recalls that it was the same beam that drew him to Earth prior to the battle.

Deciding to investigate this mystery further, the Surfer summons his board from the wreckage of his battle in Queens. Both the Surfer and Sue go to Avengers mansion and fly through the hole blasted through the wall from the beam. Inside the Mansion they find the Scarlet Witch presiding over the inert body of her husband. The Witch explains to them that one moment Reed was there, the next he was gone and the hole was in the wall. With none of the equipment in the Mansion able to detect where Reed has gone, the Surfer uses his Power Cosmic to peer back into the past. He calls up the past events, revealing that the beam teleported Reed Richards away. The Surfer then gravely informs Sue that her husband was abducted and taken somewhere off the planet.

Sue returns to the Baxter Building where she fires off the Fantasti-Flare calling Johnny and Ben back to headquarters. There she begins planning a mission to search for her husband. When the others tell her she should stay behind because she is pregnant, Sue refuses to stand back while her husband is missing. Soon the three remaining members of the Fantastic Four are blasting off in their rocket into space. Along the way, the Thing recollects how it was a space flight that led to the accident that gave them their powers. Soon they reach the Blue Area of the Moon where they rocket past the Inhumans home of Attilan and head for the citadel of the Watcher. Exiting their ship, the group then walk inside and begin searching for the Watcher in the hopes that he will help them find Reed. Johnny speeds ahead but he quickly loses track of his teammates in the massive citadel. Meanwhile, Sue and Ben are greeted by the Watcher. Uatu informs them that he knows why they are there and agrees to take them to the location of Reed Richards as he was going to observe the events surrounding his capture as well. Calling Johnny back with his mind, Uatu then uses his powers to spirit them all across space to Reed's location.

An immeasurable distance later, the come to a massive fleet of alien vessels and teleport aboard one of them. There they are greeted by an alien delegation led by Xxan Xxar. He agrees to take them to their leader, and the rest of the Fantastic Four are shocked when they find Reed bound and stretched over some kind of torture device. When Sue asks what they are doing to her husband, Xxan explains that they are executing him for sparing the life of Galactus, and that all the aliens of this fleet are survivors of his previous hungers. Sue refuses to allow her husband to be killed and the rest of the Fantastic Four try to break him free. When they do, the Watcher steps in and traps them in bubbles of pure thought, telling them that Reed must be put to trial for his supposed crimes.

Brought before a council of aliens from the various ships, Reed explains to them that he could not bring himself to kill Galactus on humanitarian grounds, regardless of what the powerful being has done in the past. The Watcher also chimes in to explain that Galactus also serves a greater purpose to the universe and thus must continue to exist. The alien council is almost convinced enough to let Reed be let free, but before they can make that decision they are interrupted by the arrival of Empress Lilandra of the Shi'ar, who has come to see that Reed Richards is executed for his crime of allowing Galactus to live.

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