The last sign that appears in the Fantastic Four: The rise of Silver Surfer is, as in previous FF franchises, also one of the most important: Captain Frankie Ray, represented by Bo Garrett. In the film she is General Hager’s second in command and tries to get the Fantastic Four to work together to stop the threat from the Silver Surfer. At the end of the film she changes sides, helps FF and even starts a love affair with the Human Torch. In the comics she is also connected to Torch, but she has never been in the U.S. Army and her background is much closer to Surfer than in the film version. Let’s take a good look.
Frankie Ray was the daughter of a woman named Lanette and of an unknown father who abandoned his family when the child was young (perhaps her biological father was Thomas Raymond, alias Thoreau, who died in his role of superhero). Lanette remarried the man she knew as Thomas Ray, a mechanic who was in fact the disguised engineer Phineas Horton. After Lanette’s death, Frankie spent all his time with his stepfather and even helped him in his laboratory, one of his hobbies. One day, when she was helping 14-year-old Frankie Thomas bring chemicals to the lab, she fell and spilled a substance impregnated with Horton cells on herself: She suddenly found herself , flooded by flames, an event that visibly traumatized her and acutely pyrophobic…. left her visibly traumatized and acutely pyrophobic. But not only did she survive the event, she came out without a single burn on her body. Not only did she learn that she could actually create flames from her body and control them at will; fearing the consequences of such trauma, Thomas, the creator of the original Human Torch, hypnotized his daughter-in-law and made her forget everything that had happened, including her firepower. Fearing that his past would endanger his little girl again, Thomas/Finey left her, disappeared from her life and sent her a cheque every month so that she could finish her studies and lead a normal, albeit lonely, life. However, before he left, Horton dressed Frankie in a transparent suit, a second skin, something he had designed for the original Torch to suppress his powers, and left behind a hypnotic suggestion so that the girl wouldn’t notice the suit. Frankie leads a normal life for the next few years, until a strange instinct forces her to follow Johnny Storm, the new Human Torch: Despite her pyrophobia, she approached the hero, was irresistibly attracted to him and flirted with him; shortly afterwards a love affair began. It was inevitable that sooner or later Johnny would discover the transparent suit, but he was shocked by the girl’s reaction: Frankie insisted there was no trial at all and became extremely defensive. Reed Richards realized what was happening and removed Frankie’s hypnotic conditioning. Suddenly all the repressed memories came back to Frankie, and she even realized that she had skills similar to those of her friend.
Encouraged by Sue Storm, Frankie even joined the Fantastic Four, where Johnny helped her use her skills. It turned out to be slightly weaker, but much more accurate than the human torch, and she experienced a freedom and self-acceptance she had never felt before. She even worried about the Fantastic Four when she agreed to kill their enemies, which was strongly sanctioned by the rest of the team, but in spite of that, she was part of the family. All this was interrupted by the sudden arrival of Galactus, who again tried to devour the Earth, led by its new predecessor Terrax the Tamer. Galactus had previously sworn to spare the Earth, but he grew weaker and weaker and felt he had no choice. When she was ready to be saved, Frankie Galactus offered a chance to grant his wish instead of starving to death: She offered herself as their new messenger and confirmed that she would have no problem offering them a planet inhabited by conscious life, unlike some of her predecessors. Galactus accepted her offer and infused her with the power of the cosmos, turning her into a powerful nova. Leaving Johnny and FF behind, Nova went into space. True to her word, she led Galactus, insensitive to the suffering of other beings, to Tarnax IV, the throne world of the Turtle Kingdom, and killed billions of people. The Scrolls tried to capture and kill her in retaliation, but she was rescued by one of her predecessors, the Silver Surfer, who took over Nova to redeem her. Nova always worked for Galactus and challenged the Ancients of the Universe, including Sodemplator, on his behalf. Together, Nova and the Surfer even defeated Captain Reptilian and Ronan the Accusator, all for Galactus’ sake, until the Silver Surfer led Nova to a life-rich planet. He asked her if she wanted to sacrifice her to the hunger of Galactus, and when Nova answered with a resounding yes, he revealed to her that they were on Earth, centuries before that. Suddenly, the weight of what she had done and what she was ready to do touched Nova, who had changed her habits… But this compassionate new herald was useless to Galactus, who had replaced his psychopathic executioner Morg. Nova didn’t want to give up his absolute freedom, but joined Silver Surfer on his peaceful journey through the galaxies and even started a love affair with him. Now the stars were the only house she wanted to belong to.
Frankie Ray is a young woman who is in love with freedom and who is constantly looking for new boundaries to cross and overcome. Because of her chaotic upbringing, she lacked some elementary empathy characteristics, which eventually made her a cold and apathetic bearer of death and destruction, before she was redeemed. Like Nova, she has the natural ability to generate flames from her body and control them at will, also using them for self-powered flight; imbued with Power cosmic, she can manipulate cosmic energy in the form of star fire, and is a transmitter and manipulator of living nuclear energy; she has also acquired superhuman strength, speed, endurance, emotions and reflexes; she can survive in the vacuum of space; and she possesses all the galactic knowledge of the universe. She’s finally enjoying the freedom she’s been striving for all her life. The Nova has become a living star, rising with relentless force…. But she has to hold on to what is left of her humanity if she doesn’t want to become the heartless monster she is fast becoming.
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