But we're getting ahead of ourselves - how did Jimmy Carter end up in this, the dilliest of pickles? Well, that's a bit of a story. See, Nick Fury called up Ben Grimm because he found out that Mentallo and the Fixer were up to no good, as is their custom. All Fury knew was that the pair were on the lookout for the Thing, with whom they'd had no prior contact. As if on cue, the villains bust into the Heli-carrier and bean everybody with crazy science robot-bullets that lets Mentallo control the minds of their targets and run off with a mind-controlled Thing in tow.
They need Thing, see, to gain access to The Fabled Baxter Building. One questions why they figure they'll need the Thing given that they clearly have the burglary expertise necessary to kidnap a superhero surrounded by secret agents aboard a flying aircraft carrier made entirely out of bad science and villain-shooting lasers, but I guess I just don't think enough like a supervillain. Once inside, the two make use of Doctor Doom's time machine - which Reed Richards keeps handy in case Thing wants to punch Nazis or younger versions of himself - to acquire Deathlok, lame-ass Cyborg/Zombie/Assassin-thing from the future.
Promptly glocking Deathlok with a magic mind-control bullet, the villains make good their escape by casting an illusion of a dinosaur drawn entirely without reference material and hopping out the window on flying discs.
Cut to Washington, DC, where Jimmy Carter is about to be inaugurated, and the Fantastic Four are there not because of any clear and present threat to the president but because of
Deathlok, meanwhile, is raging against his mind control the only way he knows how - by bitching at us through the magic of internal monologue so overwrought, I'm pretty sure band logos were written in the margin. Seems his programming - to shoot Jimmy Carter with Mentallo's special gun - is impossible for him to overcome, as he is a science-spawned monster, or something. However, he finds a loophole: if he makes himself a big enough target, the Secret Service or one of the four ridiculously powerful superheroes publicly arrayed against him might stop him before he can pull the trigger.
So he walks out into the crowd, mid-Carter-speech, and starts yelling at the weak-willed crowd to take him down. Which they utterly fail to do - he gets his shot off in spite of the presence of a gigantic man made of stone, a woman who can cast invisible forcefields at the speed of thought, like thirty guys whose entire job is to take bullets for the president, a guy made of living rubber and the Human Torch within about ten feet of his target.
They don't, I guess, call him "the Destroyer" for nothing.
America's newly-minted president is down, cradled in the overdramatic arms of Sue Storm, who's making like Jackie O, except she's blaming the president's death on the failure of the Fantastic Four, instead of, say, LBJ or the Cuban mob. Things are looking grim even as the Thing lays out our villains, finally, but all is not as it seems.
Remember that call Reed made earlier? Yeah. It pays off. In spades.Reed didn't tell anybody the Impossible Man was pinch-hitting for America's favorite peanut farmer so as to duck Mentallo's mental powers, see, and that's all well and good, except for one nagging point - I'm pretty sure a space alien just got inaugurated president.
And that is awesome.