Monday, November 7, 2016


Writer/Penciler: John Byrne | Colorist: Glynis Oliver | Letterer: Jim Novak
Editor: Michael Carlin | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
And a Mighty Marvel welcome to Joe Sinnott, Inker Extraordinaire!

The Plot: At Avengers’ Mansion, Mister Fantastic puts the finishing touches on a device designed to scan for Doctor Doom’s brainwaves. Meanwhile, the Wasp takes Sue and She-Hulk to visit her hairdresser at the French embassy. Across the street, the Latverian embassy comes under attack by a costumed villain called the Invincible Man. Sue and the other women attack him and he reveals that his family is being held hostage within the embassy by Doctor Doom.

The Invisible Woman, She-Hulk, and Wasp storm the Latverian embassy with the Invincible Man and split up inside. Sue encounters one of Doom’s robot duplicates and destroys it, but is then ambushed by the Invincible Man. Sue sees his face but does not recognize it, however he reveals that he is actually Doom in another body.

The confused wife of Doom’s “host”, Peggy, comes to his rescue by smashing Sue over the head with a vase, knocking her out. Doom then summons the rest of the Fantastic Four using a new pager system built into their costumes.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: The "resurrection" of Jean Grey last issue has prompted Reed to consider, following his appearance in the original SECRET WARS, that Doctor Doom might still be alive.

Reed reminds readers that Doom was believed killed in issue 260, and later Doom himself recaps the events of that battle.

Sue states that the Invincible Man was once an alias used by the Super-Skrull when he impersonated her father, but there’s no footnote to the issue in which this occurred. There is, however a note directing readers to FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #19 to learn about the defeat of the Skrulls.

The wife of Doom’s host body, Norm McArthur, recaps to a neighbor her husband’s strange behavior ever since the battle with Terrax. (Also, she notes that he sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger, which I appreciate. So many adaptations of the FF seem to forget Doom should have an Eastern European accent.)

She-Hulk says that it’s been “weeks” since she last battled Doom’s robot guardians, meaning only some weeks have passed since FF #279. I believe this jibes with Byrne’s internal timeline, as I don’t think he’s had any of his patented random multi-month jumps in a while.

Sue tells Doom that she recently discovered the full limit of her power during the Psycho-Man saga in issues 280 – 281.

As noted in the summary, Reed has recently built signal pagers into the FF’s uniforms — though somehow Doom is aware of this, even though Sue’s newly established power level takes him by surprise.

Johnny attempts for the second time to propose to Alicia, but once more he is interrupted by the call to action.

Is It Clobberin' Time? As Sue notes, somebody has to say it!

The Quotable Doom: “I know full well who you are, Peggy MacArthur. And I… thank you. You have been useful and thus I shall allow you to depart, alive.

My Thoughts: It’s kind of amazing that Doom “died” back in issue 260 and Byrne has kept him out of the picture for the past thirty or so issues. There have been semi-appearances by the Latverian monarch since then, notably in issue 268’s “The Masque of Doom” and the Kristoff story in #278 – 279. It’s a cool way to add some substance to Doom’s apparent demise while still exerting his influence over the FF.

But now he’s back, and in his final story arc of Byrne’s run. Byrne will leave the series around #295, just before a planned “Doom War” storyline which would have culminated in FF #300. But we’ll talk a bit more about that next time.

I’m not sure why Byrne decided to have Sue running around this issue with her hair halfway cut and styled, but it looks really weird. I get that in the hectic life of a superhero, action can come calling at any moment, but it seems to me that the writer should generally choose a moment when the hero is mostly fully put together. You rarely see the Bat Signal light up the sky while Bruce Wayne is on the toilet, and by the same token, I find Sue charging into the fray with unkempt (and presumably damp) hair to be very aesthetically unsettling.

(I know, I pick some weird nits sometimes, but there are certain things that just get irrationally under my skin. Oh -- but on the plus side, ding dong, the mullet is dead!)

But the rest of the art here is great! The credits “welcome” Joe Sinnott aboard as inker, which would seem to imply he’ll be around for the long haul, however he will ultimately only last three issues before Al Gordon arrives as the new regular inker (barring a couple fill-ins) through the end of Byrne’s run.

But for now, at least, all the praise I heaped on Sinnott in my review of ANNUAL 19 applies here as well. Everyone is perfectly on-model while retaining all of Byrne’s signature tics. This is a really, really good match.


  1. I was glad for the note about Doom’s accent as well.

    // Mister Fantastic puts the finishing touches on a device designed to scan for Doctor Doom’s brainwaves. //

    And then an alert appears on the screen just as he strolls to the foyer with the ladies. Way to build a brilliant machine and not have it sound an audible alarm or buzz your suit with a notification, Reed… I’d love to have gotten the scene where he returns to his workstation at the mansion, sees that screen, and realizes he’d have had a better idea of what that hubbub at the Latverian embassy was about.

    1. Especially odd it's not set up to notify him since the FF having brand-new pagers built into their uniforms is brought up as a plot point in this story...


    2. That's exactly what made me think about it buzzing Reed's suit.