Monday, January 25, 2016


Words and Pictures: John Byrne | Lettering: Jim Novak | Coloring: Glynis Wein
Editor: Jim Salicrup | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: The FF return home from Doctor Doom’s castle and the Human Torch departs to check in with his girlfriend, Frankie Raye. Meanwhile, Reed places Doom into stasis and heads out for an afternoon with his family while the Thing and Alicia remain at the Baxter Building, where the Thing engages in a workout.

On a horse ride in Central Park, Reed, Sue, and their son Franklin run across a group of hobos, accompanied by a nine foot-tall alien woman, knocking over a jewelry store. The alien uses vertigo-based powers to allow the group to escape. Reed and Sue track them to a pawn shop, where they capture one hobo before the others escape again. The prisoner explains that the alien appeared in their camp days earlier and the hobos’ leader, Archie, determined she was looking for silver. Archie took advantage of her quest to begin a crime spree.

Reed and Sue pick up their universal translator at the Baxter Building, then locate the hobos and the alien again. Reed determines that the alien is intoxicated and confused thanks to the excess oxygen in our atmosphere, and went looking for silver when she really needed indium. When Sue uses a force field to thin the air for her, Reed is able to calm her down.

Later, Reed and Sue bring the alien back to her crashed spaceship where her crew welcomes her return. Reed provides the aliens with indium to power their ship and they depart Earth.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: We're reminded that the Fantastic Four were Doctor Doom's prisoners in Liddleville for weeks. After locking Doom up, Reed makes plans to contact the Latverian embassy and determine what they want done with him.

Ben finds himself concerned that Alicia loves the Thing, rather than Ben Grimm.

Johnny meets Frankie’s roommate, Juliet D’angelo, an actress who goes by Julie Angel. Also, Frankie disrobes for Johnny, eliciting a shocked and confused reaction from him.

As they enjoy their day out, young Franklin is weirdly happy to see his parents kiss in public. Later, Franklin uses his mutant power to throw the alien woman off her attack, which concerns Reed and Sue.

Is It Clobberin' Time? Nope, though Ben does accidentally trash an isometric barbell device Reed created for him.

My Thoughts: This is an interesting issue for a couple reasons: One, structure-wise: Byrne uses the first eight pages to wrap up the previous issue’s Doom story and check in on sub-plots and character development for Johnny and Ben, the two characters who don't feature into the main action. From there, the remainder of the issue is a straight Mister Fantastic/Invisible Girl team-up adventure with no interludes or other distractions. It seems like a structure you don't see all that often, and I kind of like it.

Two, Byrne presents the issue’s “villain” as an alien woman who turns out to be drunk -- an original concept, if ever I've heard of one. This is another sort of “quiet” TWILIGHT ZONE-esque tale in the vein of issue 234’s “The Man With the Power”, but where that one didn't really grab me, this one I like. Part of it is due to the interplay between Reed and Sue, a perfectly well-adjusted, lovingly married couple, and part of it is the absurdity of the situation: again, a nine foot-tall drunk alien woman teams up with a gang of hobos to rob jewelry stores. It's just so wonderfully ridiculous.

This one may not be a thought-provoking epic, but the absurdity alone makes it a fun issue.


  1. I might be leaping to conclusions here, but might the first 8 pages be a call back to amazing Spiderman 33, where Lee did the same with the master planner plot ?

    Or the first half of FF 48, where Lee and Kirby wrapped up the inhumans plot, before launching in to the Galactus three parter everybody knows.

    i might just be reaching here though.

    1. You could be right about Byrne doing the mid-issue wrap-up as an homage. As I said before, I've never actually read the Kirby/Lee run except for the occasional scattered issue, but if it's something they did, then knowing Byrne, it seems incredibly likely he was paying them a tribute.

    2. Lee did it earlier with Ditko in ASM 33 in Feb 66,_February

      And then repeated it with FF 48. So its possible he liked the trick enough to do it twice in a row,_March

    3. Technically I think Ditko was the sole plotter of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN by issue 33; even Lee has admitted that. He hasn't admitted how much of FF was plotted by Kirby, though scholars seem to think it was most of it, with Lee only editing and writing dialogue.

      But I'm not here to start a Lee vs. Kirby/Ditko debate! I appreciate all their contributions! Marvel wouldn't be Marvel without those partnerships.

    4. Well technically I am sure lee still had input on ASM and the FF, but by the time Ditko left.He and Lee weren't even on speaking terms anymore.

      And it's possible Lee told Ditko about this cool idea he had for ASM 33 and Ditko saw the potential and then Lee repeated it with Kirby.

      Also I think you may find this interesting:
      As well as this:

      And the site it self

      While I don't necessarily agree with a lot of it and it's quite a heavy read there is a lot of fascinating information in there.

      And the second link is the most thought provoking in my opinion, if a bit biased, because I disagree with the notion that there were no good stories after 1991 anymore.