Cover Date: February 2010
Release Date: December 3, 2009
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Andrea DiVito
Colorists: Bruno Hang & Jay David Ramos
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Assistant Editor: Rachel Pinnelas
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Artist: Brandon Peterson
Title: "Riddle of the Sphinx
Part One: The Gathering"
Richard Rider turns to find himself facing his greatest enemy - the Sphinx!
Darkhawk wants to quickly attack their foe but Nova knows from experience that they need to figure out what he wants and find a way to outsmart him. Rich also suspects that, for some reason, the Sphinx cannot see Chris. The Egyptian warns the human rocket that it is about to get very dark and then the Djinns will attack as part of a contest between gods.
Suddenly, the three are attacked by a sandstorm which quickly forms into the shapes of various animal soldiers. The Sphinx indicates that they are not alive but are expressions of death. As they fight the creatures, the Sphinx becomes digusted by Nova's lack of success in the battle. He disappears and leaves Darkhawk and Rich to fight alone.
The sand beings try to rip Darkhawk's amulet from his chest armor and Nova finds that he has no link to the WorldMind. Rich tells Chris to brace himself since, without the WorldMind, he has no subtle control over the Nova Force. The Nova Prime then releases a full gravimetric pulse which destroys all the sand creatures!
Later, Nova creates an energy bubble to lift them out of the sand. The two discuss where they are with Darkhawk believing they are in ancient Egypt. Nova doesn't quite agree especially after they come across an archaeological dig site. They approach the site and discover an unexpected ally - Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four!
However, Nova soon discovers that this Reed Richards isn't exactly the same Mr. Fantastic that he last met after the Skrull Invasion a few months ago. Rich estimates that Reed has been snatched out of time from a period right after the Skrull/Xandar War. The leader of the Fantastic Four warns Nova that he must not reveal any future events to him as it may contaminate temporal continuity.
Richard Rider agrees and asks him if he knows why the Sphinx has abducted them. Reed Richards admits that he does not know nor does he know where they are exactly. He does remind Nova that the Sphinx is a cosmic level threat with vast power and an intellect that makes him very dangerous. Nova Prime informs the FF leader that the Sphinx mentioned a "contest between gods". Reed is concerned and notes that it appears they have all been transported to Egypt's Valley of the Kings circa the 1920's.
Mr. Fantastic shows Nova and Darkhawk one of the Sphinx's pyramids. Underneath its stone facing, the pyramid contains very advanced technology. Reed mentions that the powerful Egyptian has left something behind and he's determined to find out what it is for. At nightfall, the stretching hero informs his two allies that he is convinced the pyramid is a chronal accelerator capable of rewriting the time stream. Rich and Reed theorize that the Sphinx is attempting to unravel time in order to save himself from his previous defeats.
Suddenly, the rip in space/time known as the Fault appears in the sky! Reed admits that it had also appeared the previous night. Even though Nova can't tell Reed much about the Fault due to its place in the future, he does agree to get some readings for him as it may help them get back to their own time. As Nova Prime and Darkhawk fly towards space, Richard Rider is suddenly knocked backwards by an invisible shield! Before Chris Powell can help rescue his friend, he finds himself facing a group of attacking animal creatures!
At dawn, Rich awakens in a tent at the archaeological dig. As they walk outside, a figure approaches them from the river. Nova grabs Mr. Fantastic and they fly to meet the stranger. When they arrive, the two heroes discover that it is Black Bolt and he's carrying a woman wrapped in cloth bandages! Rich is stunned as Black Bolt had died during the recent Shi'Ar/Kree War.
Before he can question the leader of the Inhumans, the group is attacked by a huge reptilian humanoid creature! Nova instantly flies into action and unleashed a double energy blast at the monster who is instantly knocked unconscious.
Back at the camp, Reed and Richard discuss the arrival of Black Bolt. Nova indicates that he must have arrived from a time period prior to his. When Mr. Fantastic asks him to explain, Nova lies and says it is because he looks younger than he remembers him. Their conversation is interrupted by the return of Darkhawk. Chris is excited about some data he discovered after fighting off the creatures in orbit. He had deployed his claw-drone and it returned shocking information. The drone revealed that the group is not located on Earth of the 1920's. An holographic image displayed by the drone shows they are on a magical construct of some sort!
Nova turns to Black Bolt and asks about the woman he brought with him. As Richard Rider unwraps her, he is stunned to discover that the woman is...Namorita!