Monday, January 18, 2016


Words and Pictures: John Byrne | Letters: Jean Simek | Colors: Bob Sharen
Editor: Jim Salicrup | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: The Thing walks through Ego, carrying a large mechanical device, and recalls how he wound in this situation: the Fantastic Four encountered Ego in space and he pulled their ship into his atmosphere for a crash landing on his surface. The FF found a rocket booster attached to Ego and made their way to it, disconnecting one power pack from the device. They then ventured inside Ego in search of his brain, with plans to stun him using the pack.

But the conditions within Ego proved too great for the FF and one by one they were forced to return to the surface, leaving only the Thing to finish their quest. Finally he finds Ego’s brain and throws the power pack at it. This enrages Ego and he powers up his rockets to increase speed toward Earth. But with one rocket disabled, Ego instead passes too close to the sun and disintegrates. The Thing drifts out into space but his teammates, back aboard their ship, find him and pull him to safety.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: The Thing recalls the destruction of Manhattan last issue. Curiously, the FF no longer seem fazed by this development, even though they were outside Skip Williams’ sphere of influence when he undid the damage at the conclusion of last issue.

In a brief scene on Earth, Frankie Raye catches sight of herself naked and has some sort of epiphany. We also learn that she has a roommate named Julie.

When he reaches Ego’s brain, the Thing receives a mental history of the Living Planet, involving his enemies Thor and Galactus. There are no footnotes to the referenced stories, however.

There is a footnote to FANTASTIC FOUR #213, though, as Ben realizes Ego is headed to Earth because he senses Galactus was recently there.

Is It Clobberin' Time? When Ego sics a bunch of “antibodies” on the FF, the Thing clobbers them soundly.

My Thoughts: I've always thought Ego the Living Planet was kind of a silly concept. That said, having the Fantastic Four encounter him makes a lot of sense, since they're generally considered to be explorers — and what's more interesting to explore than a living planet? Plus we get some nice bits with the Thing here, as he is the only member of the team able to complete the journey to Ego’s brain and finish the mission. As he's my favorite member of the Fantastic Four, I always appreciate seeing Ben Grimm get his due.

But otherwise this is a pretty forgettable issue. I honestly have nothing more to say about it. With the exception of the offbeat Human Torch story in issue 233, which somehow ages better and better the further I get from it, John Byrne’s FANTASTIC FOUR isn't exactly setting my world on fire yet. I see what Byrne is doing here, using the FF almost as an anthology vehicle to present bizarre concepts both of his own origination and from elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, but I'm beginning to remember that this is why his run—or the early portion of it anyway—never really connected with me: so far it's just a bit too much of that sort of thing and not enough soapy superhero type stuff.

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