Monday, August 29, 2016


Writer/Penciler: John Byrne | Embellisher: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Glynis Oliver | Letterer: John Workman
Edits: Michael Carlin | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: In outer space, the Baxter Building explodes and one of Doctor Doom’s recording devices monitors the apparently deceased Fantastic Four, Wyatt Wingfoot, and Franklin. But as soon as the device departs, the FF reveal they are alive, playing possum inside one of the Invisible Girl’s force fields. Under directions from Mister Fantastic, the group returns to Earth inside the field, landing at Castle Doom in Latveria.

Inside the castle, the FF defeat several of Doom’s robot guardians and make their way to his sanctum. There they find Doom and several of his robotic doubles. The FF easily defeat the doubles and unmask Doom, revealing him as the late monarch’s ward, Kristoff. The FF prepare to return to the United States with Kristoff in tow, hoping to deprogram him.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Reed explains to She-Hulk that Doctor Doom adopted Kristoff following the murder of his mother in FANTASTIC FOUR #247.

On the following page, Reed deduces that Kristoff’s scheme failed because he didn’t realize Sue had gained the power to generate force fields in FF #6, which happened at a point after the boy shut down the memory transferal process last issue.

The story ends with an epilogue/teaser for next issue, which shows H.M. Unger, the racist leader teased last time, riling up a group of men to beat a priest for preaching racial equality. We then learn that Unger answers to a mysterious shadowed master (still Psycho-Man as noted last time) and wears multiple faces as part of the villain’s scheme.

Lastly, it's not a continuity note, but that cover blurb, "Doomsday Plus One!", is a nod to one of Byrne's very first professional comic series, DOOMSDAY +1, from Charlton Comics.

Is It Clobberin' Time? She-Hulk once again borrows the Thing’s catchphrase as the Fantastic Four burst into Castle Doom.

The Quotable Doom Kristoff: “Unhand me! None may touch the person of Doom!”

(He also at one point refers to She-Hulk as a “great green oaf,” which should probably have been the FF’s first clue that this “Doom” hasn’t yet hit puberty.)

A number of words come to mind to describe She-Hulk.
"Oaf" is not one of them.
My Thoughts: This is a very breezy issue, twenty-two pages which zip by in a flash, yet it doesn’t feel overly decompressed or underwritten. It’s just a nice, quick read.

Byrne leads things off with a dramatic two-page spread showing the destruction of the Baxter Building. The FF take this incident in stride, immediately directing their attention toward returning to Earth and getting to the bottom of Doom’s plot, leaving the reader wondering if the loss of their home will be glossed over amid all this action — but there’s no need to fear on that count. As soon as the dust settles, in a very believable fashion, the true gravity of the situation sets in as Reed and Sue suddenly realize the place they’ve called home for the past 275 or so issues is no more.

It’s a moment akin to, say, the destruction of the starship Enterprise in STAR TREK III, and Byrne sells the gravity of the situation appropriately in both the opening artwork and the closing dialogue.

Plus we have a clever outcome for Kristoff’s scheme — blown because he was too impatient to see his memory implantation through to the end — and that harrowing sequence at the beginning where Reed coaches all of the team (including himself) to use their powers in unison and get them back to Earth in what I believe is a realistic scientific fashion. Like I said, it’s just a very well-written and nicely constructed issue. It may not carry the gravitas of Byrne’s more thoughtful work and it may not be as Earth-shattering as his bigger epics, but in terms of straightforward superhero action, this has to be one of his best FANTASTIC FOUR issues.


  1. // The FF easily defeat the doubles and unmask Doom //

    Way too easily, I thought. The Doombots were nice enough to tell us that they couldn’t really even act in their own defense while in Kristoff’s presence without express orders from him, yeah, but they’re also supposed to be in replicas of Doom’s own armor so Torch shouldn’t be able to take ’em out with one blast if he can’t likewise do that with Doom.

    1. Yeah, the Doombots were pushovers here for some reason. Typically one is able to stand in for Doom himself, going up against entire teams. It's kind of odd, now that you mention it.