Fantastic Four #187-188
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #187, Fantastic Four #188
And he's partnered with the Molecule Man.
Here's the Invisible Girl's powers being useless again.
The Molecule Man's consciousness had been trapped in his wand after his last fight with Iron Man in the Everglades. Later, when Klaw escaped from the alien dimension he was trapped in, he wound up in the Everglades instead of the Savage Land (due to the Nexus of All Realities, i assume)...
...and he found the Molecule Man's Wand and gave it to a hobo, allowing the Molecule Man to possess him.
The whole team is soon captured, and they are again humiliatingly rescued by the Impossible Man.
The Molecule Man's goal was to do something with Reed's Psi-Amplifier - i think transfer the powers from his wand to his own body - but Reed short-circuits the device while he's using it, knocking him out. But then Reed dumbly picks up the wand.
The Watcher shows up, but he's a bit of a red herring.
He's not here because the Molecule Man is a super threat. MM is defeated when he attempts to destroy the remainder of the FF, but the effort of transforming the unstable molecules of their costume is too much, and he is split apart from Reed, back into the wand.
The wand falls into a smokestack and is seemingly incinerated. I first learned about the Molecule Man from Secret Wars, when a big deal was made about his inability to affect organic molecules. But as seen in these issues (including the scene from #187 where he turns the Thing into glass, and here where he attempts to disintegrate the FF), organic doesn't seem to be a problem and it's unstable molecules that affect him. It was organic in his first appearance, though. I'm also a fan of Jim Shooter's nerdy, self-conscious depiction of the Molecule Man, so to see him here as a raving generic super-villain doesn't work for me.
But the reason that the Watcher has appeared is because he knows that Reed is going to quit the FF. He's been without powers for a while and become a pawn of two different super-foes now (I assume he's counting the time the Brute replaced him). Reed's real strength is his super-intelligence, not his stretching ability, but i guess he doesn't know that. So he quits, and Sue leaves with him.
The Human Torch and the Thing wonder who will replace them, with Thundra, Tigra, Medusa, Crystal, and Power Man all said to have their own affairs now.
For once, the Watcher doesn't actually interfere; he doesn't even talk this issue. Again it's the "fat man" version which always looks wrong to me since i first encountered Byrne's "alien baby" version.
I know this is kind of sacrilegious, but George Perez's art doesn't seem all that spectacular to me on first glance. Sure he draws some crazy stuff...
...but the main thing about Perez is his incredible detail, and dense pages filled with panels.
And that is very, very valuable, and allows for very nice pacing. But the overall impression doesn't wow me the way some other artists do. It's just a lot going on. With the Molecule Man's powers, there is a lot of room for an artist to let their imagination run wild, but Perez doesn't really use that opportunity. I should also acknowledge that part of my reaction here is due to the use of my less favored versions of the Molecule Man and the Watcher, which shouldn't be a knock against Perez but i'm only human.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Continues more or less directly from the previous arc, with a little time allowed for travel home from New Salem. Next issue is a reprint and then we finally get a break in the non-stop action that has continued from FF #171, although after this issue the Fantastic Four is broken up and they shouldn't appear anywhere as a group (and Reed still doesn't have his powers).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
FOOM#17 announced that Len Wein was bringing back the Psycho-Man in this title and renaming him "Psychon".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 7, 2013 9:08 PM
The walking skyscraper later reappeared in a Hostess ad.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 1, 2013 4:08 PM
I consider Perez really to have hit his stride in the 1980s, mostly for the other company. The panels in the above scans are recognizable and very good, but I can see why they might have slightly underwhelmed. They're not so fine as what he did on TEEN TITANS, CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, and WONDER WOMAN. In those years, he really earned his reputation as one of those names commonly invoked as a measuring stick ("So-and-so is no George Perez, but his art isn't bad").
It's similar to the Byrne case. His first run on FF is nice enough, but not inspired. Then he returns to the title with more distinguished results.
Posted by: Todd | September 3, 2013 1:45 PM
I actually wondered at first glance if 188 wasn't drawn by Perez. 187 is so clearly him - that panel of Thing lying on the ground is quite good, but the latter issue isn't recognizable as him, at least not to me.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 28, 2015 9:15 AM
I think the way the Molecule Man retcons work is that the "son" is Owen Reece without any inhibitions, which means that the mental blocks that kept Reece from using his powers on organics don't apply to the "son." Reece literally had to imagine he was someone else in order to fully use his powers at this point.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | January 15, 2016 9:37 AM
I love the skyscrapper giant with all the people flaying about wildly as it just roars out smoke. I think that's some top notch art and imagination right there.
Posted by: david banes | January 17, 2016 4:34 AM
These issues played a big role in making me a FANTASTIC FOUR fan. I think the giant an interesting comparison for the kaptroids from INHUMANS #2, which Perez drew two years earlier.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 17, 2016 5:18 AM
The first several pages of What If?#6(12/77), which features the FF, are separate from the main What If? story and appear to be in continuity.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 14, 2016 3:14 PM
The animated anthropomorphic skyscraper is a stunning idea, unfortunately undercut by the script's insistent (re)assurance that nobody died as a result. (See also: in Ang Lee's 'Hulk' movie how dutifully he shows people emerging unharmed from all the smashed vehicles.)
Posted by: Oliver_C | May 14, 2016 5:35 PM
You know, going over all these issues again especially from a continuity standpoint... the FF have been going full tilt at this point nonstop since the Galactus/Counter-Earth story. Was there ANY break for them between then and here besides the one the MCP "made up" during issue 176?
Now that the team has broken up for a bit its good to have a nice long gap between issues 188 and 189 for the FF to catch up to the amount of time that's passed for the rest of the MU.
Posted by: Jeff | June 17, 2016 10:52 PM
Small gaffe in my last comment: I of course meant between 188 and 190-- issue 189 was a reprint.
Posted by: Jeff | June 17, 2016 10:55 PM
I agree with fnord about preferring the other versions of Molecule Man and Watcher. The Perez art here is good just not as good as he is now.
Posted by: Mizark | July 22, 2016 4:52 AM
Comments are now closed.
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