Monday, June 20, 2016


Writer/Artist: John Byrne | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: Bob Budiansky | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Science Advisor: Larry Niven

The Plot: Wyatt Wingfoot, one-time ally of the Fantastic Four, is out on an ATV near his Indian reservation when a red energy beam shoots down from the sky, slicing a path through the ground nearby. Later, in New York, the FF receive a call from Wyatt explaining the situation just as a similar beam strikes New Jersey. After a short call from the president, Mister Fantastic and She-Hulk depart to rendezvous with Wyatt.

As they cross the U.S., they see that several such beams have struck the country in bizarre patterns. They reach their destination and are nearly knocked out of the sky by a crashing spaceship. Upon landing, Reed and She-Hulk meet up with Wyatt and some of his tribe. Reed programs satellite imagery of the markings left by the beams into his universal translator and learns that they spell out a message: “I claim this world – Terminus.” Then, on cue, the gigantic crashed spacecraft opens up and an enormous armored being emerges.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Wyatt is about to become the new chief of his tribe. As he mulls this over, he finds himself thinking about the adventures he shared in the past with the Fantastic Four.

In New York, Johnny is about to have lunch with Sharon Selleck when he spots Alicia Masters searching for the Museum of Natural History. Johnny blows off Sharon for Alicia, prompting Sharon to wonder what the Thing would think about this development.

She Hulk notes that her true identity as Jennifer Walters is a secret from the world. I'm pretty sure Byrne himself will do away with the idea of her having a secret identity in the not-so-distant future.

Sue recalls the loss of her second child ten days earlier and notes that her physician has suggested she and Reed not attempt to have any more children due to their cosmically irradiated cells. Soon after, when Reed orders her to remain behind while he and She-Hulk leave, She throws a tantrum over being relegated to the sidelines.

Reed has developed a device which can convert the speed of the sun into ordinary objects on Earth via a subspace portal, as part of a search for a new clean energy source.

My Thoughts: To the best of my recollection, I’ve never read a single comic featuring Wyatt Wingfoot in anything more than a cameo that wasn’t written by John Byrne. So everything I know about the character is based entirely on Byrne’s version of him — which is fine with me, because I like him for the most part. As this run continues he’ll become a regular supporting cast member and eventually form a long-term relationship with She-Hulk (I’m not so enthralled with that development, though; I tend to prefer her single and ready to mingle).

But other than a brief reintroduction to start off the issue, Wyatt doesn’t have much to do here. Instead Byrne devotes most of his pages to sub-plots and science. The former is fine with me; the latter makes my brain shut down — so let’s cover that first. I like the idea that Reed is searching for a clean energy source. I’m not sure if this will play into upcoming stories, though it seems an odd thing to seed if not… but in any case, I appreciate Byrne showing us Reed working on a normal, real world problem (albeit in his typical super-scientific way). Searching for a solution to the energy crisis, while not as exciting as exploring the Negative Zone, is certainly easier to relate to.

But like I said, it kinds shuts down my brain. I’ve never found science — or rather, theoretical science — particularly interesting. I don’t mind Byrne slipping it into the story for those who — like Byrne himself — are into that sort of thing, but it’s just not for me. (I should note, however, that I have no problem with fake science like phasers and transporters — it's just the real-world stuff that bores me to tears.)

The sub-plots on the other hand, I appreciate. It’s nice to see Byrne pay some lip service to those misogynistic days of yore, when Sue was too delicate of a flower to play much of a role in the FF’s early adventures. Byrne makes it clear here that this is an Invisible Girl for the modern world and while she accepts Reed’s order to remain behind this time, she’s pretty clear that she won’t let it happen again.

Then there’s Johnny’s part of the story. I’m not sure why Byrne keeps going back to Sharon Selleck. I don’t find her a particularly interesting character and, while he’s glammed her up a bit, the unbelievably ugly outfits she constantly wears kind of cancel that out. I miss Julie Angel, who was much more fun to read about (and, yes, to look at), but she’s gone from the book for the remainder of Byrne’s run at this point, apparently settled down in California forever. For whatever reason, Byrne has opted to dump the love quadrangle he teased but barely started between Johnny, Julie, Sharon, and Julie’s fellow actor, Gray Landers, in favor of moving Johnny and Alicia together. This is another development I don’t like — but we’ll get to it in due time.


  1. // Reed programs satellite imagery of the markings left by the beams into his universal translator and learns that they spell out a message //

    Reed’s calculations are smart but the “universal” translator seems impossible without any kind of sampling. The No-Prize explanation, I suppose, would be that there’s enough similarity in those markings to other known ideogram-based alien languages for extrapolation.

    1. That's the only thing I can come up with. Byrne references the universal translator a number of times in his run, and it always just... works. I don't know if it was something previously established in the comics, or if Byrne just invented it to explain why the FF comprehend so many alien tongues, but based on its STAR TREK-inspired name, I'll assume the latter since Byrne loves TREK even more than Marvel.