Monday, June 27, 2016


Writer/Artist: John Byrne | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Letterer: Michael Higgins
Editor in Transit: Bob Budiansky | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: While Johnny and Sue tend to personal matters in New York, Mister Fantastic, She-Hulk, and Wyatt Wingfoot deal with Terminus in Arizona. The gigantic alien discards a scout who was part of his armor, and Reed questions the dying alien. The scout, a brilliant scientist from his own world, reveals that Terminus is a galactic pillager, traveling from planet to planet, enslaving their peoples and stealing their resources.

The alien passes away and Reed quickly jury-rigs the crashed jet in which he and She-Hulk arrived to react with Terminus and send him down to the center of the Earth at unfathomable speed. Though Reed suspects Terminus will return, he makes plans to be ready for him next time.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Alicia Masters visits Johnny at his still-unfurnished loft apartment. (Side-note: Recall that Johnny first found the place in issue 257. Issue 263 declared that four months had passed since #262. Johnny is sure taking his time getting his new house in order!)

While they’re together, Johnny notices a mutual attraction between the two of them. Also, Alicia notes that she was nineteen years old when she met the Fantastic Four in issue 9, and Johnny declares that Alicia is only a couple years older than him. (Note that according to Byrne’s own reference sheet, Ben is about 38 years old right now, making him roughly fifteen years Alicia’s senior.)

Meanwhile, Sue confides in Franklin her fear of being sidelined by her teammates again, and inwardly realizes that her desire for adventure is in part a coping mechanism to get her mind off her miscarriage. She then attempts to summon Johnny with the FF signal flare, though her reason for doing so is unrevealed.

Wyatt and She-Hulk share a couple flirtatious moments during the fight with Terminus (including She-Hulk calling him “Tall, red, and gorgeous” — it was a simpler time).

Later, Wyatt decides he will turn down his appointment as the chief of his tribe, electing instead to return to New York and spend more time with the FF.

My Thoughts: First off, I need to mention that during the Johnny/Alicia scene, Alicia indulges in one of the most blatantly obvious “As you already know…” recaps I think I’ve ever seen. There’s not even any pretense or attempt to disguise the info dump in some other way. She’s simply telling Johnny a full page of facts of which he is well aware, and it’s painfully clear she’s not speaking to him at all, but to the reader.

Unfortunately the rest of the issue isn’t much better. Sub-plot-wise, I’m not a fan of breaking up Ben and Alicia, and especially not of pairing Johnny with Alicia. The Thing and Alicia Masters is one of those perennial comic book romances which really shouldn’t be tampered with, and the Human Torch works best as the FF’s swingin’ single member anyway. Following Byrne, later writers will go way too far with this, eventually marrying Johnny and Alicia, writing the characters into such an inescapable corner that it would take an asinine ret-con to set things right again.

Then there’s Terminus. All the guy does is walk around, raze some buttes, and slowly approach a city. Reed’s defeat of the villain, drawing upon the experiment he was seen dabbling with last issue, comes out of nowhere, and is wholly unsatisfying. I know Mister Fantastic is the most brilliant mind on Earth, but even given that, I find it way too hard to swallow that he was able to duplicate the exact machine he had built in New York using components from a wrecked jet. And Byrne totally glosses over how he does it; he simply — does.

Terminus’s appearance last issue was suitably dramatic. Byrne gave his arrival an ominous build-up, leading to a final-page reveal which worked as a wonderful cliffhanger. But his first full appearance is, unfortunately, a supreme let-down.


  1. // Johnny is sure taking his time getting his new house in order! //

    I don’t know how many contractors you’ve had to deal with, but… 8^) He does say he’s had interior walls built and floors finished, and that he hasn’t found furniture he likes yet, so between all that and the demands of being a member of the FF I’ll give him the four months.

    1. True enough, I've never renovated anything before; certainly not a loft apartment in Manhattan! I guess, if nothing else, permits alone could've taken a couple months.