Fantastic Four #198-200
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #198, Fantastic Four #199, Fantastic Four #200
There's something not quite right about the way his rocky form is stretching.
Doom also had Alicia create a hollow statue of Doom that he loaded with hypnotic technology to try and take over the UN, but that plot is foiled as well. The arc ends with a big fight between Mr. Fantastic alone against Dr. Doom. Reed utilizes his powers in a way I haven't seen before, creating a spiked mace with his hand, something that is more in the MO of Apocalypse.
In previous issues in this arc that i don't own, Mr. Fantastic gets his powers back through circumstances that turn out to be part of Doom's machinations, presumably so that Doom's clone can inherit the powers along with the rest of the FF's.
This arc re-unites the FF after they had been broken up for a while, since Fantastic Four #191.
These stories are quite bad. Doom is very poorly written. But luckily the nervous breakdown he has at the end of the arc lets us kind of write off his rantings. This story also has Doom taking off his mask and showing it to the FF as well as letting Alicia feel it so she can sculpt his statue (although the statue is supposed to be scar free).
They admit in a later lettercol that they didn't even realize that Doom had never shown his face to the FF before until alarmed readers started writing in. it's a bad idea - the nature of Doom's scars is supposed to be a mystery. At least the readers still don't get to see it. And in the Fantastic Four #241 lettercol, it's stated that the official policy is that the FF didn't actually see Doom's face, "whatever may have seemed to be happening in the pictures".
One thing i do like is that Reed is written like an arrogant ass like he used to be back in the Silver Age. When the Thing questions his decisions, Reed snaps "That cuts it, Ben -- if you think you can run this team of misfits better than me -- do it! If not, shut up and let me think!".
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
A D? Really? Wow. I'll admit that they went a bit over the top in trying to make Doom seem more evil (not to mention he was at the piano too much), and it was certainly a gaffe that they let the FF see his face, but I thought that overall, this story was very well done. Lots of suspense and pretty good action. I'd give it a B+, taking the solid art into account as well.
By the way, in another letter column, they stated that there was a reason that the FF didn't look surprised when they saw Doom's face, but they didn't say, or even hint, as to what that reason was. I wonder if it's ever been revealed, though as you intimate, it's been retconned away, anyhow.
Hi Dave, thanks for leaving your thoughts on these issues. If you haven't already, see the Q&A section which addresses the quality ratings. I'm a pretty harsh grader, i guess, and the characterization of both Doom and Reed seemed really poor to me in these issues, and idea of giving Dr. Doom a nervous breakdown at the end felt like a real cop-out. I also think Buckler at best does a standard Marvel House Style for the period and in these issues the art seemed sloppy and rushed. Still enjoyable to those of us who just like Marvel comics, but they weren't something i'd share with anyone not already hopelessly addicted to the genre.
Please continue to comment where you disagree. I normally won't respond; i don't want to have the "last word" on these issues and i'll let your comment stand as-is, but in this case i just thought i should clarify where i'm coming from.
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