Monday, March 28, 2016


Chronicler: John Byrne | Letterer: Jim Novak | Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Al Milgrom | Tall: Jim Shooter

The Plot: As Daredevil patrols Manhattan, he bumps into an invisible barrier and sets out to find its cause. Meanwhile, Annihilus reveals to Alicia Masters that he plans to merge the Negative Zone with our reality, destroying both. He then reveals his true face to Alicia and prepares to kill her.

In the Negative Zone, the Invisible Girl, the Thing, and the Human Torch fight Taranith, but he escapes to the bridge of his starship and takes off with the Fantastic Four aboard. As the FF make their way to the bridge, Mister Fantastic’s intellect lives on in Taranith’s computer and he asserts control over the ship. Taranith departs in an escape pod, but it explodes.

Reed sets course for the Negative Zone portal, and two weeks later, as the FF make their final approach, he gains control over his body using a cyber-helmet. But the FF are soon alerted to the fact that the portal has been destroyed, leaving them stranded in the Negative Zone.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Annihilus explains to Alicia that his body is wasting away thanks to an encounter with rival warlord Blastaar in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #75.

With the two weeks added this issue, the Fantastic Four have now spent two and a half months in the Negative Zone, though only a few days have passed back on Earth.

Is It Clobberin' Time? Not this time.

My Thoughts: Reed using his tremendous brain to seize control of Taranith’s ship is a fun way to take this storyline, and I also like the idea that he’s unable to fully transfer his mind back to his body yet. We know he will, but the fun will be in seeing how it happens and how that ties in with the Annihilus plot, as it almost certainly must.

I haven’t really mentioned it yet, but one thing I really like about this run is how Byrne drops in cameos from other heroes at the drop of a hat. It’s odd, because I don’t really like this under most circumstances. I feel that guest appearances should be a special occasion and a big deal, rather than a matter of course. But over the past twenty-plus issues, we’ve seen appearances from Doctor Strange, the Avengers, Doctor Strange (again), Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America, Spider-Man (again), She-Hulk and the Wasp, Daredevil (again), and probably one or two others I’m forgetting.

Where in most situations I believe this makes the universe feel very claustrophobic, for the Fantastic Four it seems natural. More than most any other heroes, they encounter the really big menaces, the sort of stuff you would expect to bring everyone together. Plus, it helps from my perspective that not all these characters interact with the FF every time they pop up, as seen here. Daredevil guest-stars, but he’s on Earth while the FF are in the Negative Zone, and Byrne is simply using him as a vehicle to let us know about Annihilus’s barrier.

Lastly, I should note that once again, Byrne subtly reminds us of the Thing’s intelligence and of his past as a test pilot, as he immediately explains to Sue and Johnny what’s going on when the spaceship launches. I like little touches like this, and Byrne is pretty good at pulling them off.


  1. Daredevil slamming an invisible wall up in the air and still landing running after that always was one of my favorite Daredevil moments.

    The most fun bit though is Taranith not loosing his stride while running away from the FF on his ship on ladder and on the ceiling and through a surprise trapdoor and whatnot. It's hard not to hear the theme from the game Boulder Dash inside one's head when watching the little bugger go.

    For a creature bent on death and destruction, Annihilus certainly has some serious issues over his lost looks. Continuity-wise, Byrne again does recommendable job by picking up and building on from what happened in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #75.

  2. Wow, the thing where DD falls and lands on his feet never really registered with me, but that really is a great and simple way to establish the character.

    I agree with you that Annihilus is unusually vain here, almost as if Byrne is transferring a bit of Doctor Doom to him for some reason. And I'm with you on Byrne using continuity from MTIO as well. He doesn't reference the series often, but whenever he does, it fits and/or informs his stories nicely.