The Wasp

Micro-World of DOOM

July 5th, 1963

Across New Yorks skyline, a blazing streak of light shined down upon the people. A hobby astrologist excitedly made notes, thinking he discovered a new comet. The Black Fedora Gang was exposed by the light, making their arrest easier. The actual cause of the sudden illumination was not a fiery ball of gas from the heavens, but rather a torch.

A human torch

Johnny Storm flew as fast he dared towards the Baxter Building. Streaking over rooftops, he tapped the radio receiver in his belt buckle, silently thanking Reeds genius that allowed him to stay in contact while he was on fire. No response? Johnny had been trying to contact the other three members of the team for almost an hour with no success. Guess I have to go in the quick way!

Forgoing entering through the lobby, and already fearing the worse, Johnny lobbed a fireball at a window on the top floor, melting it instantly. Flying inside, he switched his amazing flame off and looked around. Hello?

There was no sound. The lights were on and there clear signs the other members of the Fantastic Four had been there recently. One of Ben Grimms cigars was still lit. Sue? Reed?

Hey, in here ya matchstick! A tiny, almost inaudible voice cried out from the other room.

Guys? Johnny carefully entered the living room. Everything seemed normal; that is before a tiny arm, no wider than a pin, sprang up from behind the counter. Moving quickly, Johnny gasped as he saw his teammates before him.

Reed Richards, Sue Storm, and Ben Grimm were not even an inch high. On the wall before them was a small air conditioning vent, the air being blocked by one of Sues force fields. Reed was waving one of his arms around wildly while Ben shouted with all his might. Get us out of you walking firework!

What happened? Johnny quickly scooped all three up and put them safely on the kitchen table. Did one of Reeds experiments backfire?

Johnny stepped back as all three of them suddenly grew back to their normal size. Reed carried on the conversation as if nothing had happened. No, and this is not the first Ive been shrunk.

You mean it happened to you too Stretch? Bens jaw dropped.

Oh thank Heavens, I thought I was the only one! Sue sighed with relief.

You mean it happened to you guys too? Johnny gasped.

Reed raised his eyebrow. With his elastic skin, this meant quite a few things. Alright, maybe we should all start at the beginning. Johnny, you said this just happened to you, correct?

Yeah, I was working on an old Chevy when I suddenly started getting smaller. I would have been sucked into the exhaust fan, but I was able to flame on and fly out. I came straight here. You?

Reed shook his head. I was test flying a new airship yesterday when I found myself too small to work the controls. I was restored back to my original size in time to prevent a crash.

Ben retrieved his cigar before interrupting. I was working out in the gym this morning, and the next thing I know Im doing the Gulliver bit. I didnt say anything because I thought youd all think Id flipped.

I was on the Molly Melinda McGee show last week when it happened. I was right in the middle on an interview when I was suddenly an inch high. The crew thought I turned invisible as a joke. Sue looked at Reed. Whats going on?

Im not sure, but we need to find the answer quickly. Reed reached out, his arm stretching dozens of feet to pick up the phone in the next room. I recall a scientist out West who was working on this type of science. He might be able to help.

~W

Hank yawned as he finished typing up his last report for the evening. Wow, finished before ten! I might get a decent nights sleep for once. The phones ringing immediately killed his mood. Grumbling, he answered it.

Hello? Yes? What? he furiously searched for a pencil and something to write on. Really? Well, I did change my line of study After a few moments, Hank wrote down an address. Ill be on the first flight out. He hung up before his common sense kicked in.

~FF

Hank nervously adjusted his tie. When he told Maria and Janet, the reaction was a mixed one; Maria worried about someone tracing him back to their operations, while Janet demanded he get Johnny Storms autograph.

Maria had accompanied him, more to set her mind at ease than anything else. Changing into her costume at the hotel, she had shrunk herself down and hid inside Hanks coat. Hank made his way through the cavernous lobby and towards a specially marked elevator. Flashing a special card he had found waiting for him at the hotel, Hank was ushered inside.

The trip was surprisingly short. Hank stepped out moments after the door opened. Dr. Pym?

Hank let out a small yelp. An elongated finger was motioning him to follow. Dr. Richards?

Hank stepped around the corner and almost fainted. Maria was speechless. Before them were machines the likes of which Hank could never describe. Floor to ceiling, giant contraptions bristled with a strange energy. Dr. Richards was standing before a particularly complex looking device. I trust the trip was satisfactory?

Uh, yes, yes it was. Hank stuttered. He felt like a lowly freshman all over again. He mentally slapped himself. Im sorry, but what exactly is the problem?

Dr. Richards told his story, followed by Sue Storm, who appeared before them. Hank felt giddy as a child with a new toy. Johnny Storm casually walked in and reported on his experiences before Ben Grimm stomped in and growled at the younger Storm before relating his own story.

Hank was overwhelmed. Thisis incredible!

Indeed, but what can you make of it?

Hank paused. Perhaps a demonstration would be in order. He opened his jacket. The Wasp flipped down to the floor before enlarging. May I present, the Wasp.

The Wasp? Wow! Johnny grinned and extended his hand. Human Torch, pleased to meet you. He sent small puffs of flame off of his eyebrows for effect.

Charmed, Im sure. She coolly nodded.

You seem capable of altering your size with no difficultly. Reed interrupted. Can you share the process with us? I might be able to synthesize a vaccine.

The Wasp looked back at Hank. He shook his head. Of course. She slipped two vials out of her belt and walked over to a nearby chair. Do you mind?

Everyone stepped back as she popped the top off of the first vial and poured a tiny amount on the chair. It shrank instantly, becoming something a doll might safely sit on instead of a human. Carefully recapping the vial, she repeated the action with the second one. The chair was restored to its former size. Amazing! Reed marveled.

Beware! A female voice called out. The Wasp carefully eyed the room.

Reed, who was that? Sue checked the security system.

Odd. Reed twisted a few knobs on a nearby machine. The device made a strange buzzing noise before spitting out a sheet of paper. Very odd.

What does it say? The Wasp stepped forward.

According to my readings that voice originated from this room!

What? Ben scratched his head. But there is only six of us, and what are we supposed to be beware?

Reed made his way over to a chalkboard. Dr. Pym, this shrinking formula of yours, was it ever stolen?

Hank shook his head. There have been a few attempts, but no.

Reed drew a slash through a formula. Do you know of anyone else involved in similar research?

A Doctor Morgan, I think, but hes vanished months ago.

Reed hummed and made a notation on the board. Wasp, have any of your rouges ever shown any kind of scientific aptitude?

A few, but none have tried to use the formula.

Then it must be one of our enemies. Reed quickly drew up a list of names. Sue, have the police any word on the Mad Thinker?

No, nothings changed since last month.

Reed crossed off the name. Realization hit as he glanced down at the next name. Of course! It was so simple!

Sue grasped it first. Reed, you dont mean

Doom!

That guy again? I thought he shrank down to nothing. Johnnys voice trailed off. Shrank?

Naturally! Doom must have continued to shrink until he left this universe and fell into another one.

Sort of a micro-verse? Hank offered. Reed raised an eyebrow and wrote the name down.

Yes, excellent! Doom must have rebuilt his shrink ray. Hes toying with us, Im sure! Reed continued to write our formulas on the board. But the question now is, what can we do?

Id like to take the fight to that old tin headed creep just once! Ben punched his palm for emphasis.

You knowthats not a bad idea. The Wasp rubbed her chin. You know where he is, and with the formula you could reverse the process, correct?

Hank interrupted. Im not sure that is a good idea. My formula is only capable of shrinking objects to inches or millimeters at best. What youre talking about is subatomic. Im not even sure if the antidote would be enough to reverse the process!

Thats a risk we have to take. Reed and the others moved to a small platform. Wasp, could you monitor us on the viewfinder? Our uniforms are wired for sound and picture and should be able to broadcast.

I think I should go with you. The Wasp protested. I do have some experience in these matters.

True, but no one knows Doom like us. Reed gripped his head. Oh no, I can feel it happening again!

Me too! Sue began to shrink. Within seconds, she was barely two feet tall and getting smaller.

Here! The Wasp tossed a vial to Reed. The malleable man tucked it into his belt before he too, became too small to see with the naked eye.

Within the blink of an eye, all four members of the Fantastic Four disappeared. Hank and Maria looked at each other. What now?

~FF

Johnny was the first to wake up. He spat blue gravel out of his mouth and looked around. Sue, Ben, and Reed were lying close by; but the location was what really captured his attention.

The ground around them was a deep pink. The sky was green and the clouds a color Johnny could not grasp. Where are we?

Fascinating! Reed was awake and alert within seconds. My theory was correct. We shrank so much we exited our universe and fell into a smaller one!

Halt! The word, delivered in English but with an accent none of the four could place, made them turn their attention to a group of armed men coming over a small hill. By the order of his royal highness, you are four are to be placed in irons and brought before our glorious leader!

Why you Ben was on his feet in an instant, but Reed held out his hand.

Hold old friend, we are the intruders here. Quietly, he whispered. We need to find out if it is Doom. If we run, he might be capable of shrinking us even further.

Ben looked down at his friend. Alright, I give, I give. He held up his rocky orange hands in a sign of surrender. Take me to your leader.

The sarcasm was lost on the guard. We intend to! The men pointed their spears at the Four, who quietly went along with them. They were marched over the hill towards a walled city. All four members were taken aback by the sheer size and grandeur of the walls.

Its huge! Sue gasped. Large cannons dotted the walls. She noticed the smaller holes in the walls, and made a mental note about the rifle barrels poking out of a few of them.

Big deal, you see one wall you see them all! Ben shrugged his shoulders. One of the guards took offense at the Things flippancy.

Quiet! Our Leader does not tolerate dissent! He poked Ben in the back with his spear. The gesture caused the monster of a man no pain, but it was principle of the matter that annoyed him.

They hurried through the open doorway. Reeds suspicions were confirmed the moment they passed through the large gates and into the city proper. Look!

Before them was the city. The people passed back and forth on their business, all of them under the watchful eyes of a large statue. The figure was clad in a long cloak that wrapped around the statures leg. Under that was a suit of armor, a rare design not seen on this or any other world. The statue spoke of a man Reed knew all too well. Cast in iron, the grim visage of Doom watched everyone in silent judgment. Doom!

The four of them were taken straight towards the palace. The guards stepped short as they entered a room that could have easily housed the Baxter Building. The door behind them slammed shut. A deep voice emanated from behind the throne. Richards.

Doom.

The throne spun around. Dr. Doom, the most dangerous man alive, sat regally on the carved wood. Surprised that your pathetic plan failed?

There wasnt much a plan Doom. We didnt intend to shrink you.

Ah, but you did! Dooms eyes narrowed behind the slits in his armor. I grew small Richards, smaller than an atom! I fell between realties until I landed in this universe. He stood up and marched down the steps. The people here, before I arrived, were a simple breed. Happy in their poverty, content with nothing. The very sight of them made me ill! I presented myself before the King, and with a few rudimentary science demonstrations, I was made head science advisor.

And you set about building another shrink ray, didnt you? Sue questioned.

Very astute Ms. Storm. The natives had little idea on what they were building, but they were smart enough to follow my instructions. Doom walked in front of them, his hands clasped firmly behind his back.

And you used that to take over? Reed frowned.

Doom, to everyones shock, chuckled. No Richards, I did not. Doom is many things, but a fool is not one of them. I wanted the peoples help. I could have conquered them, true, but even my armor is finite. Having them give me the throne made my task all the easier.

Give it to you? But how? Johnny gasped.

Marriage to the Princess Pearla. Doom turned to face them. Of course, she was hesitant, but Doom needs no one. She is imprisoned in a specially built cell, one you four will be seeing shortly.

Alright, so you got us, now what? Ben shouted.

Now what, you gruesome gargoyle? Now Doom has his revenge. Once you four are out of the way, Ill unleash my weapons upon the Earth. The name of Doom shall reign supreme!

Pressing a button on his gauntlet, Doom stepped back as the floor under the Fours feet gave way and dropped them into the darkness. Doom peered into the darkness before closing the door. With that, he turned away and went about his business.

~W

I dont like it. The Wasp looked out of the window. They have been gone too long.

Hank busied himself by looking over Reeds machines. Well, this is more in their line of work than ours. Maybe we should just wait?

Perhaps youre right. Maria slipped her cowl off. Darling, tell me, what do you think of them?

Who, the FF? Hank stopped in his research. A good idea I guess. Youre still thinking about a team?

It was an idea. Maria shrugged, which usually meant she was still thinking about it. We might be able do more good that way.

True. Hank nodded. One of the machines suddenly came to life. What on Earth?

Can anyone read me? Reeds voice echoed out of the machine. Dr. Pym? Wasp?

Um, were here! Hank cautiously looked at the machine. How do I operate this?

Just listen, Ill do the rest. Reeds voice was weak. Weve been captured by Dr. Doom. Is the Wasp there?

Im here. Maria slipped her cowl back on and stepped forward.

Good. We need you to stay still. We have a method of shrinking you down, but you have to stay still.

Hank eyed his wife. He cupped his hands over his mouth. I dont like it. How do we know this is Reed?

How do we not? She shook her head and whispered back. Even if this is a trap, I have to go. They may actually be in danger?

Hank sighed. He suddenly kissed his wife. Just dont do anything crazy.

The Wasp stepped forward. Im ready. The words were no sooner spoken than the Wasp found herself transported to the Micro-Universe. The Baxter Building, Hank, everything gone in an instant.

The Wasp opened her eyes to see an armored man in green standing before her. Behind him was a strange machine with a microphone attached to one side. Several armed men were off to the side. The armored man unfolded his arms. The Wasp, I believe?

And you must be Doom.

Doctor Doom, but I am willing to forgive the oversight. He gestured towards the guards, who quickly surrounded her.

That machine, it allowed you to sound like Mr. Fantastic?

Doom smiled behind his mask. A good first impression was made. Yes. A small device I made on a whim.

Why did you lure me here? She didnt protest when the guards marched her towards a corridor.

Because, Doom casually gestured, You aided my enemies. That is reason enough. To the guards, he pointed. Place her in a separate cell and take her belt. I want no surprises!

The Wasp said nothing, as she was lead away to the dungeon. I have to escape, but how? She winced when her belt was cut away. She silently thanked Hank for installing a hidden compartment in her boots, but she grew agitated when the guards refused to leave. She noticed that not one of them blinked. How can I get out of this?

~FF

How do we get out of this?

Reed stared out of the window of their small cell. Before him was a thick window that prevented the cell was being flooded. The water was so clear he could see all the way to the distant shore. Strange fish and other aquatic animals passed by. They had landed in a heap inside a small circular room. The previous occupants were at first startled, but calmed when Sue explained whom they were. The older man and younger woman introduced themselves.

I am the Princess Pearla, and this is my father. She was dirty, and dressed in rags, but there was an air of nobility about her. You come from Dooms world?

Yes, yes we do. Reed surveyed the cell. Princess, tell me, what do you know about this lake?

The princess sighed. That is no lake. Doom had the land cleared and this part of the castle built. What you see out there is acid. Only the walls of this prison are strong enough to withstand it.

Acid? Amazing! Reed marveled as a school of black and gray fish swam past. But what of this fish? How can they survive in such an environment?

They are not really fish stranger. She pointed to a crab-like creature that scuttled across the windowpane. They are all artificial. Doom is watching us as we speak.

I think I may just have an idea then. Reed gestured towards the window. Everybody, I dont want any emotion. Reed quickly turned around and spoke. No one say anything. Act calm. Sue, use your force fields to shield us. Ben, Johnny, you tear away those inner walls but leave enough to keep the acid out.

Reed turned back towards the window. He began to talk, lecture, thought Ben, about the various histories of Earths noted physicists. Every few words he could add something odd, like keep and follow it a few seconds later with digging all the while working those words into his speech.

I get it! Ben chuckled to himself. He tapped Johnny on the shoulder. With Sues force field covering his hands, his gesture went unnoticed. Writing out the message in the dirt, he carefully wrote out Reeds plan. Distraction. Keep Working. Sue cover us.

Johnny nodded and slowly burned off a thin layer of rock. When they had a small pile, Reed turned to face them. Very good. Johnny, I need you to wield those stones together. We need to make a balloon large enough to all of us. He poked one of the stones. The material here, from what the king has told me, is light enough to almost fashion as cloth.

Reed, what about air? Sue paled. The strain of keeping the work invisible was starting to take its toll.

That will be a problem. Sue, I need you to cover the ship with a force bubble. Johnny, your flame should act as a natural fuel, filling the balloon. Hopefully Sue will be able to keep the acid out.

Ill do my best. Sue promised. She concentrated on the strange rocks as Johnny turned his fingers into miniature blowtorches.

~W

The Wasp leaned against her cell. I suppose bribery is out of the question? The guards were silent. Ok Maria, youve been in tougher jams than this. She looked down to her boots. She offered up several prayers of thanks to Hank for having the foresight to install compartments in the heel. Now all I have to do is get to it.

She sat down on the flat sheet of metal sticking out of the wall. Crossing her legs, she felt down to her left heel. Say fellas, I dont suppose you know where I can find a good shoeshine boy around here, do you?

One of the guards turned to his fellow. What is she saying? In the second the other guard turned his head to answer, Maria rapped on the side of her boot. The heel sprang open, and a small device fell out. Leaping to her feet, she pressed a stud at the end of the weapon, causing a small arch of electricity to spark. Jamming into the closest guards neck, she dodged a thrust spear from the first one.

Grasping the weapon in one hand, she pulled forward, slamming the guards head into the bars. Taking the keys, she opened the cell door and quietly slipped out. Now, where can I find the Fantastic Four?

~FF

It had taken too much time, Reed thought. They had slowly peeled away as much of the inner wall as they dared. Johnny had turned his fingers into a small blowtorch and had fused the stones together into a roughly spherical shape. Ok, Reed, its ready!

Everyone, I need you to stand as close as you can! Reed stretched himself out as thin as he could, wrapping everyone in a tight embrace. Sue, use your force field to knocked a hole in the wall. Johnny, use your heat to expand the stone.

On my mark, 1,2,3! Reed shouted the last number. Sue nodded and encased everyone in a bubble. Concentrating, she pushed the outer reaches of the bubble further and further until the walls gave way.

The acid flooded into the chamber. Its holding! Sue gasped. Her mind felt like it was being broken from the inside. Hurry Johnny, hurry!

The makeshift balloon floated out and up. The acid foamed against Sues bubble, but she held it. They rose faster as Johnny increased his heat. Its working!

Great job, but keep it up! Reed twisted his head around. Every single fish in the lake had stopped moving. Dooms spies have spotted us. Be prepared to fight when we hit the surface!

No sooner had they broken the surface than a spear bounced harmlessly off of Sues bubble. Sue, can you turn this into a platform?

Gladly! She relaxed, causing the bubble to shift and reform into a solid platform under their feet. Reed relaxed back to his normal dimensions. Soldiers from the city were amassing at the lakes edge and Doom himself was in the center.

~D

Sire, should we not advance?

And be at their mercy over a lake of acid? No, let them come to us. Doom calmly assessed the situation. Doom never leaves anything to chance. He turned his head slightly towards the city. Just as I predicted.

General, there will be a prisoner coming from the city. I want her to be able to make her way towards the heart of the battlefield. Doom gave the order and the words rippled across the troops.

~FF

Hitting the beach, Sue staggered to her knees. Is everyone safe? She panted as she wiped the sweat from her brow.

We are sis. Johnny helped her to her feet. Reed and Ben took an eye to the area.

Ok Stretch, what now? Ben felt the old chill on the back of his neck. Dozens of battles in the Pacific had given him an edge for combat. He heard the distant marching, and for a second, imagined a squadron of Japans finest meeting him head-on.

Princess, Doom said he married you. Reed turned his attention to Princess Pearla as she helped her father.

Yes, but once the vows were exchanged he threw me and my father in that dungeon. Her fist tightened at the memory.

Do you think you could still command any troops? Reed saw the green banners of Doom peaking over the hill.

Possibly, but Doom was a popular figure. It is possible that our troops will follow him instead of us.

Then I guess well just have knock some sense into them. Ben cracked his knuckles and stepped in front of the group. Here they come!

~W

Maria found herself outside the city. This was too easy. She had not stopped a single guard since she left the dungeon. In fact, she had not seen a single person on the streets. Hearing the sound of drums, she pulled a pair of binoculars out of her belt, which had been carelessly draped over the back of a chair, and looked towards the sound.

An army! Moving as fast as she dared, the Wasp saw a great gathering of men in the distance. If I shrank they wouldnt see me, but it would take too long to get there. Seeing a fluttering piece of parchment going by, an idea came to her.

Snagging the piece, she folded it as best she could. Popping a pill the second she let go, she snagged the backend of the makeshift airplane and flew it towards the fight. I hope the Fantastic Four are doing ok. Im not sure I can handle such a group by myself.

~FF

The fight was fairly, and oddly, one-sided. Doom stayed off to the side, neither speaking nor directing his troops. The foursome, to their credit, was handling themselves admirably. The troops ornate spears and javelins were unable to break through the Invisible Womans force field. Their heavy shields crumbled under the might fists of the Thing, and melted into slag under the Human Torchs heat.

Let us go Doom! We can handle all of this and more! Reed shouted. Doom silently lifted a hand.

At once, the soldiers stopped fighting and retreated. Doom marched forward. You think to order Doom?

Reed snapped back to his original shape. Victor, for the love of Heaven Reeds words were lost as a sizzling blast of energy shot out of Dooms closed fist and struck him full in the chest.

Reed! Sue shouted.

You tin-plated bum! Ben rushed forward, fists raised. Doom casually lifted one hand and stopped both rocky orbs from descending.

Your antics are tiresome. Once, the thought of torturing you four was the only thing that sustained me. Now? Now I only see four weaklings who are not fit to be the enemies of Doom.

With a mere twist, he shot the Thing back several feet, almost knocking him into the acid lake. This world has given me power! Power enough to crush all of you and all who oppose the will of Doom!

The next instant a paper airplane flew by and crashed into Dooms helmet. What? Spinning around, Doom readied an attack. He failed to see that his attacker was not chest height to him, but rather knee height.

The Wasp fell backwards and lashed with both feet, slamming her heels into Dooms insteps. The armored dictator staged back. What? You again? Doom spat through his grill. It seems that I underestimated you. I wont make the same mistake again!

Now! With a thought, Sue engulfed Doom in a force bubble as flames from the Human Torch filled it. Dooms armor protected him against the flames, as far as she knew, but the heat would be his undoing. She kept the bubble suspended several feet off of the ground, shaking it every few seconds to keep Doom off his guard.

The army was disorganized. Several squads rushed forward, shouting victory for Doom, while an equal number turned on them, proclaiming loyalty to the royal family. Princess Pearla stepped out from behind Ben and raised her hands. Stop!

At once the men laid down their arms. Pearla moved towards the mass. The tyrant you served, she pointed to the flame filled ball, wields no more power over you. She crossed her arms.

Your highness, forgive us! One man broke rank and dropped before her. We assumed Doom was simply acting on your command!

Pearla reached out and touched the mans shoulder. The Wasp saw conflict in her eyes. Is she going to excuse what happened? She wasnt aware of everything that had happened, but she kept her hand near her stinger just to be safe.

I forgive all of you. Pearla spoke. The men were visibly relieved. Let there be no more violence today. A cheer went from the crowd. The princess faced Sue. Let him go.

The heroes from Earth were shocked. What?

Let him go. He has committed crimes here, and he shall be punished under our law.

That is quite fair, but Doom is more dangerous than you realize. Reed argued. The Wasp glanced at the bubble and gasped.

The flame has gone out!

Everyones attention was now on Dr. Doom. Via his amazing armor, Doom had extinguished the flames His green cape and tunic had been burned away, but the man himself was still very much alive. Glowering, he simply folded his arms and waited.

Pearla studied the man carefully. Bring him to the throne room and I will pass my judgment. There went a great cheer from the crowd, but Reed couldnt help but stare at Doom.

~W

The Wasp sipped the purple liquid she had been handed. It tasted vaguely like wine. Doom stood silently inside the bubble and had not moved since they arrived. Moving past the revelers, Maria found her attention drawn to the armored man. Be careful, hes dangerous, especially when he isnt saying anything. Susan warned.

She nodded, but grew alarmed when the light revealed something. Hes gone!

Susan dropped the bubble. The armor promptly pitched forward and broke into a dozen pieces. That bum! Ben picked up the faceplate and crumpled it.

He must have escaped shortly after extinguishing the flame. Reed picked up a gauntlet.

Ill summon the hunting beasts! Pearla fumed, but Reed held up a hand.

I doubt they would do any good your highness. Doom, unless I am mistaken, he held the gauntlet up to the shrinking machine, comparing the similar circuit designs of the two, invented another machine similar to this one. He simply escaped when we werent looking, if that was even he at all.

What do you mean? Marias curiosity was piqued. We fought him, you said he was trapped here from before.

Yes, but Doom is a master of robotics. We could have easily been fighting a machine that self-destructed, leaving only an empty suit.

Princess Pearla gently took the ruined mask from Bens hands. I will have my smiths melt this infernal thing down. Turning to the foursome and the Wasp, she extended her arms. I want to thank all of you. You delivered us from a great evil, and your presence will always be a welcome one.

That suits me fine! Johnnys grin threatened to split his face. He had been flirting with the princess since they got back, Sue wryly noted, but the princess had been rather cold to his gestures.

Um, speaking of that, how exactly are we supposed to leave? Maria calculated the amount formula needed. I dont have enough for everyone

Not a problem. Reed pointed a rubbery finger towards Dooms machine. We can use this to get back home.

Pearla clapped. Excellent! You leave, but only after the celebration, correct? Reed had to be convinced, but everyone was soon in the swing of things. Tales were told; Reed and Sue of their adventures and Maria of hers. When the party was finally over and everyone was restored back to their normal size and dimension, Maria walked over to Hank.

Darling, have I got a story to tell you! She whispered. Facing the Fantastic Four, she bowed. It has been an honor fighting alongside all of you.

The pleasure was ours. Reed shook her hand. Dr. Pym we should really try to get together again, maybe swap some notes? I have an amazing theory about spatial cell walls I think youd you be interested in.

Maybe next time. Hank shuffled his feet. If everything is ok

Yes, we do need to leave. I must escort Dr. Pym back to Center City, and crime never takes a holiday.

Goodbyes were said, information exchanged, the usual leaving ceremonies. The Pyms left the Baxter Building and went back to their hotel. The next day, they were just another married couple on holiday. Catching an early flight back to the West Coast, Hank had an idea as he browsed an early edition he bought in the terminal.

It was not one of his usual kinds, but it did seem like challenge. Gently nudging Marias elbow, he sat back in his chair, waiting for her to wake up. Darling? Maria yawned. She found the inter-dimensional travel bit worse than any jetlag she had suffered through before.

Honey, how about a vacation? Hanks grin was wide. Maria smirked, as she knew this meant he had an idea.

Ok mister genius, where to? The Moon? Maybe check out Atlantis?

Hank held the paper up and pointed to a small article buried in the back. I was thinking a bit closer.

Greece? Marias eyes lit up. Hank what a wonder idea! I used to visit my grandparents in Athens when I was a child.

Hank nodded, but his attention was focused on the article. Actually I was thinking more of a busmans holiday, if you dont mind.

Maria, puzzled, read the article. Monsters? Hank, surely you dont believe this tripe?

After what you went through? Besides, if there is nothing to it, then we still get a vacation out of it.

She smiled. A point.

Hank returned the gesture. I have my moments.

The end

Notes to Astonish

This tale was based on The Micro-World of Doom, which was first published in Fantastic Four I#16 (July 1963), with credits to Stan Lee (script), Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), and Artie Simek (letters). All rights reserved by the respective copyright holders.

Next time, be here as Marvels Most Masterful Married Couple meets and greets with a certain one eyed horror!

Fan mail

From Danrilor

Just wanted to let you know that I am digging your wonderful series. I really like how the dynamic between the Pyms and Janet is working out. Just the right amount of potential jealousy/love triangle but the adventure is the most important thing. I also like how formidable you made Egghead because (although he has an easy power to mock: an odd shaped head) he has a history of being a very tenacious adversary. The Aardvark is just really up his vicious alley.

Anteater, actually, but close enough. And your Cap story? Man, why arent you working for Marvel?

They call me Bruce

Fighting the likes of Egghead is a yolk Ant-Man has to bear.

Ill remind you good sirrah, that Ill do the puns around here, got it?

From Darci

Thanks for Tales to Astonish #11, "The Terrible Traps of Egghead!" Jerry Bails' Who's Who lists H. E. Huntley as a pen name for Ernest Huntley Hart, born in 1910, died 1985. wikipedia states that he is most famous for creating the character Super-Rabbit in 1943. It appears that, other than Nick Fury #8 in Jan 1969, 1963 was the last year he worked for Marvel. I think you did a nice job of adapting his story. It's great to see a little sparkle in the repartee!
Keep up the good work!

I was not aware of that. Thank! Always a pleasure to learn new things.

And from Tiffani

I agree, you did a wonderful job with this story. Of course, you
always do a great work.
Fantastic stuff, thanks for sharing

Upcoming tales:

Sensational Comics#13-Rumble in the Desert!

Amazing Fantasy#4-Now Strikes the Tarantula!

The Avengers#1-Earths Mightiest Heroes!

Be here next time True Believers!