Cover Date: May 2010
Release Date: March 17, 2010
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Mahmud A. Asrar
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Bruno Hang
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Assistant Editor: Rachel Pinnelas
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Covers Artist: Brandon Peterson
Title: "Time Out"
As they rush towards the Sphinx, Richard Rider realizes that the energy and destruction around them is reality trying to reorder itself to accomodate the Sphinx having two Ka Stones which is normally impossible. The heroes find themselves joined by the super-villains they have recently been fighting in single combat. However, the powerful Egyptian is not impressed with their efforts and quickly disintegrates Basilisk!
Reed Richards and Nova discover that the younger version of the Sphinx is still alive. They ask him how to stop his counterpart before it's too late. The injured Anath-Na Mut tells them that more powerful version of himself is already mastering paradox magic to bypass universal laws and is insane. The older possessor of the Ka Stones disagrees and feels his younger self doesn't appreciate what he is becoming. He picks up his powerless counterpart and swallows him whole!
Mr. Fantastic states that what has happened is impossible. Rich points out that a number of things that shouldn't be possible are happening including the death of Black Bolt. When Namorita asks why that wasn't possible, Nova reveals to everyone that the leader of the Inhumans wasn't supposed to die until the Shi'Ar/ Inhumans War.
Suddenly, Reed asks Rich if he knows the information or remembers it. The fact that Nova remembers the information indicates that history has not changed yet. It also means they still have a chance to stop the Sphinx. The leader of the Fantastic Four theorizes that the Sphinx built his magical construct inside the Fault because it is where time and space are broken. Inside such a region, the Sphinx would be allowed to do the impossible and possess two Ka Stones at the same time.
However, Dr. Richards believes that the true universe outside of the construct remains unchanged. He also postulates that the Sphinx is adjusting to his new power levels and learning how to use the two power gems together. Once he completes his task, the power-mad Egyptian will collapse the construct and reenter the universe. By then, the Sphinx will have remade reality so it will accept his new existence.
Nova asks Mr. Fantastic what would happen if the Sphinx went back into the universe before reality is altered. Reed explains that the Sphinx would collapse in the interdimensional equivalent of an explosive decompression. Richard Rider flies directly at his magical foe while communicating with Mr. Fantastic through Darkhawk's armor. The young Earth hero needs Reed to figure out complex quantum calculations in order for their plan to work.
Nova continues evasive actions to avoid the Sphinx's energy blasts. He is able to throw up a gravimetric shield just as a massive beam hits him! However, the heroes lose contact with their defender and believe he has been killed.
Suddenly, they hear Rich's voice come across the communicator! Nova is using the Nova Force at its maximum level and is able to hold back the Sphinx's blasts! With three seconds of maximum shielding left, Nova receives the calculations he needs to generate a stargate! The Sphinx is violently ripped apart as the stargate exposes him to the real universe!
Unfortunately, with the Sphinx's death, his magical construction begins to tear itself apart. Dr. Richards believes they will all be returned to their normal place and time in the real universe. Realizing that Namorita is being sent back to eventually die, Nova grabs hold of the woman he loves and refuses to let go.
Ten years in the past, Black Bolt finds himself with his wife Medusa in Attilan alive and well.
Five years in the past, Reed Richards is in his laboratory believing he has awoken from a strange dream.
In the present, Nova awakens to the voice of the WorldMind on the Resolute Duty. He discovers that only five minutes have passed since he had disappeared on the planet Shard! Centurion Zan Philo informs him that they were also able to rescue Darkhawk, the Kree archeologists and a young woman.
Richard Rider turns to see Namorita resting on a medical bed!
Darkhawk feels a sense of foreboding as Namorita's arrival will likely have later consequences. But for right now, Nova doesn't care.