Fantastic Four: Storm Rising
New York City was wild and crazy as it always was and despite the cold winter nights, people had not slowed down going about their business, nor had the criminals. For the most part, the police took care of fighting the crime throughout the city, except for on occasion when they needed to call in some extra power for assistance.
Both Reed and Sue Richards gave up trying to resist being the superheroes they had become after the whole fiasco with Galactus and the Silver Surfer in China and they were happy now, as they were finally married and a part of a family that included her hotheaded brother, Johnny Storm, also known as the Human Torch, Ben Grimm, who was given name, the Thing, thanks to Johnny, and Alicia Masters, Ben's longtime girlfriend. Whenever they were called in to help, the Fantastic Four, as they had been dubbed by the media, also thanks to Johnny, dropped whatever it was they were working on and gladly did what it was they were meant to do since that fateful day when they were brought together.
This afternoon was no exception as Reed had received a call from the city's police commissioner, alerting Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman to an emergency downtown, asking them for the team's assistance to end it. A robbery at the city's largest bank was in progress and the large group of hired thugs was using technology that gave them abilities that mimicked the powers of the Fantastic Four, making it too much for the police to handle. Reed suspected that the technology was most likely stolen as well, or possibly given to the thugs to use against them by whoever it was that hired them.
The Fantastic Four managed to take the group down without many problems at all, until the end, when the leader of the group fled to the roof, where Johnny had flown up to in order to cut him off from escaping, while the rest of the Fantastic's were finishing taking down the others. The guy had been using a weapon that created flames more powerful than a regular flamethrower, but when he came face to face with the Human Torch, he quickly tossed it to the ground and suddenly pulled one of the hostages he had dragged along with him, up in front of him to use as a shield, as he quickly placed a gun up to her head.
"You made a smart choice in tossing your flamethrower there, as you see that you can't hurt me with that, but did you really have to take such a beautiful lady hostage?" Johnny asked cockily as he hovered in the air, still flamed on, just a few feet away from where the thief and the woman stood. "It's like you don't know me at all. I'll give you until the count of three, but if you don't lay down your gun and let her go, then I will be forced to hurt you. Now, is that what you really want?"
"You can't hurt me," the thug answered angrily. "You would just be arrested yourself if you attack me."
Johnny looked at the man in confusion as he asked, "Who said anything about attacking you? I don't plan to attack you, but I am going to help the lady here out by knocking that gun from your hand."
Just as he said, Johnny quickly shot a small burst of fire toward the man, successfully striking his gun hand, causing the thief to drop the gun to the ground. As soon as she saw her opportunity, the woman used the back of her head to knock the thug backward so that she could pull away from him and then Johnny finished taking him out by turning off his flames and landing on top of him, successfully knocking the thug unconscious.
After he finished, Johnny looked at the woman as he stood up and then said, "That was a pretty nice head butt there, Miss. Are you all right now?"
The woman smiled at him as she moved closer to him and replied, "I am now, thanks to you. You're the Human Torch. I'm new in town, but I've heard all about you from my boss. He's talked a lot about you and your team."
"I'm flattered," Johnny responded as he grinned, intoxicated by her long, flowing red hair and deep, green eyes. "I'd like to meet your boss if he or she would be interested in meeting a real superhero. I'd be even more interested in getting to know you though."
"Take it easy there, Flyboy," she answered as she and Johnny were finally touching, their faces only an inch apart as he slowly moved in to kiss her. "I believe that you and my boss have already met. His name is Victor von Doom."
Johnny attempted to pull back as soon as she mentioned Victor's name, but before he could she roughly pushed her lips up against his and suddenly he was growing colder and colder as a blue frost suddenly flowed from her mouth and into his own, quickly freezing him from the inside out, despite his extremely high body temperature. Because of his power, it took much longer to subdue him to unconsciousness than she had planned on, but eventually she managed to do so and then slowly eased his body to the ground, just as Victor came walking out from the shadows of the building, where he had been watching the whole scene with a smile on his face.
Victor spoke up smugly as he said, "Johnny Storm always was a fool when it came to a pretty face. Nicely done, Miss. Frost. I see that the money I'm paying you to join me is money well spent."
The woman replied, "He was easy to seduce, but there's something I don't understand. Why go through all of this trouble, just to kidnap someone, when I could have very easily caught him when he was alone while out for a walk or something? What do you plan to do with him?"
"I just wanted to have a little fun and to make sure that the others would be too distracted to come to Johnny's aid," Doom responded. "Now, let's get him and get out of here before they notice he's missing. I promise, you'll learn everything you need to know very soon."
The last time Victor had been with the Fantastic Four, Johnny had managed to take him down all on his own as he had possession of all of the team's powers, with the exception of the final strike by Ben as he knocked Victor into the ocean by hitting him with a metal slab being lifted by a crane. It was the second time Doom had been defeated by the young hothead of the team and this time, Victor was going to make him and the others pay for humiliating him in front of the world by using Johnny's power against them in a battle that would force them to bow down at his feet and beg him for mercy.