Monday, March 21, 2016


Story & Art: John Byrne | Letterer: Jim Novak | Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Al Milgrom | Seeker: Jim Shooter

The Plot: The Fantastic Four’s exploratory module is picked up by a gargantuan spacecraft from the long-dead planet Kestor. After a brief skirmish, the Kestorans welcome the FF aboard and explain that 10,000 years ago, their planet was destroyed by a supernova. The entire population of Kestor was placed into suspended animation aboard the ship, which was to take them via auto-pilot to a new planet. But the ship was damaged as it left, and its computer awakened five hundred Kestorans to crew it. However its memory banks were also destroyed, and the ship has traversed the Negative Zone aimlessly for 10,000 years, now crewed by the descendants of those original five hundred.

Reed repairs the computer system and the Kestorans find the planet they sought, but its atmosphere proves incompatible with them. Reed argues that this is due to evolution, and the Kestorans in stasis should be fine on this new world. But the Captain disagrees and orders his ship away from the planet, sending his men to attack the FF during departure. The ship’s first officer then reveals a secret to the captain which proves too much for him to handle, and he dies.

The first officer calls off the attack and explains to the FF that all the Kestorans in stasis perished in the same blast that damaged the ship 10,000 years ago, and only his bloodline has known the secret for all this time. The Fantastic Four leave the Kestorans to continue their endless quest.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Julie Angel tries a new hairdo and attempts to call Johnny for his thoughts on it, but Annihilus answers the phone and tells her he’s not in (yes, you read that right). Meanwhile, Julie’s roommate, Sharon, is still interested in Johnny.

Also, we learn here that while the Fantastic Four have been exploring the Negative Zone for two weeks, only a couple days have passed on Earth since their departure.

Is It Clobberin' Time? The Negative Zone brings out the best in the Thing, as we get a second consecutive issue to feature some clobberin’.

My Thoughts: I generally like a story with a twist ending, though Byrne cheats in setting this one up. During the opening pages, when the FF arrive aboard the Kestoran vessel, they scan two types of lifeforms aboard: those with normal, almost human metabolic rates, and those “…with heartbeats so slow they’d be nearly dead by our standards.” This is clearly meant to meant to be the five hundred living Kestorans and the 20,000 dead ones in stasis.

However we later learn that the Kestorans in stasis died 10,000 years ago! So what life signs were our heroes reading? They should have known immediately thanks to their sensors that the larger population of Kestorans was dead. Byrne is a bit too clever for his own good here, and the result is an enormous plot hole which detracts considerably from the big revelation.

All that said, Annihilus answering the Fantastic Four’s telephone and informing Julie that Johnny is not home more than compensates for any shortcomings with the main plot.


  1. Oh God that panel with Annihilus on the phone! He looks like he's just called to a tavern somewhere and the barkeep is currently announcing to his clientele: "Ok listen up! I got Annie Hilus here on the line, and I wanna blast her baloorian!"

    1. I still can't get over Annihilus answering the FF's phone. Why?? I'm sure they put up an outgoing voicemail stating they'd be out of town for a while, yet Annihilus thought it would be a good idea to play receptionist. On its face, it seems a mechanism to move Julie and Sharon to the Baxter Building, which does happen, but they play no role in the story's execution, so it's really just a bizarre, surreal moment which leads to nothing.

  2. Other than that, people of internet have noted that the Kestorians' ship is in fact a curling iron:

    1. Funny that the blogger makes such a big deal out of the reference. Had you not provided this link, I would never in a million years have realized the ship was based on a curling iron! What's obvious to one person isn't automatically obvious to others.


  3. // So what life signs were our heroes reading? //

    Due to the time differential between the Negative Zone and the FF’s positive-matter universe their scanners are reading echoes of the biosignals that the dead Kestorians gave off when they were still alive.