Fantastic Four #240
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #240
...he enlists their help in finding a cure for the disease that's been afflicting the Inhumans. The FF leave Frankie Raye behind, possibly because she's being extremely incautious with her powers. Or more accurately, she shows a willingness to use her powers to kill during the brief fight with Quicksilver.
The full story here is that the Inhumans had been at war with the Enclave.
This ties back to a plot from Fantastic Four #207, where Medusa was shown to be the Enclave's prisoner. So either this war has been going on for an insanely long period of time, or Medusa was actually captured by the Enclave twice. I'm opting for the second scenario given that she appears in the Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel in the meantime.
Anyway, the war had been going badly for the Inhumans until Maximus, who had been working with the Enclave, switched sides and sacrificed himself, which allowed the Inhumans to win. But while it was all going on, the Inhumans also found themselves getting sick. When Reed arrives he's able to confirm that the problem is the Earth's pollutants...
...which have always been a problem for Inhumans but it's gotten to the point where they aren't safe even in the Himalayas.
To get away from the pollution, Reed and the Inhumans decide to move Attilan to the moon!
One potential problem is the Alpha Primitives, who, since they've been freed from slavery, have lived under the city as an independent society. We learn here that the society hasn't been going so well. Releasing them from slavery is described as a "mistake" and "misguided altruism", since the "mindless drones" didn't have the capacity to "fend for themselves". This is stated as fact, by the narrator, and maybe that's the case. Maybe the Alpha Primitives were in fact mindless drones, and freeing them was a dumb move. But that just makes everyone in Fantastic Four #132 look pretty dumb for freeing them (and is hard to square with the "latent guilt" that the Inhumans had about keeping them as slaves). It doesn't seem like the Inhumans put any effort into providing the former slaves with any help after setting them free, either, at least at first (until the Inhumans "realized their mistake").
In any event, Black Bolt orders the Primitives back to the surface so that they can go to the moon with the Inhumans.
They park their city in the Blue Area, near the Watcher's home.
And Crystal finally has her baby. And in a twist, she turns out to be completely human because "in some inexplicable way the mutant and Inhuman genes have canceled each other out."
Cameos for Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan as SHIELD freaks out when Attilan flies into space.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: In order to make room for a number of guest appearances in Fantastic Four #242, especially Dr. Strange's, this issue has been moved back in publication time.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (14): show
It was disappointing to learn there's an epic war going on an issue ago only for Maximus to sacrifice himself also off screen. I forgot about the Enclave subplot from years ago so I guess this was more taking care of lose ends. Still I kept expecting Maximus to pop up suddenly.
Posted by: david banes | October 6, 2015 2:05 AM
I like this issue, but the idea that to escape air pollution the Inhumans should go someplace with no air, no water, and no resources just doesn't make sense.
Posted by: Andrew | December 14, 2015 9:45 PM
The first appearance of little Luna Maximoff. Took her a bit to grow up.
I have to say...I have a horrible theory I want to run by everyone: Luna hasn't been seen at all for some time now. She's neither with her mother, nor her father. She hasn't even been mentioned by them or anyone else. It just dawned on me that it's possible this is because she was killed during the missing eight months since SECRET WARS. It's possible we'll see her death in DEATH OF X. Man, I'm going to be pretty miffed if I'm right, but it seems to be the only explanation.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | September 13, 2016 3:50 PM
Don't worry, I'm sure Luna is just staying at the Not Important to This Episode Camp, like most kids in fiction are when the writers can't think of anything to do with them.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 14, 2016 4:39 AM
Sorry, I messed up the link somehow, it's this:
Posted by: Tuomas | September 14, 2016 4:40 AM
I think Luna was last seen in Mighty Avengers 32, back in 2009. Infamously, in FF 21 (2012), when discussing Crystal's breakup with Ronan, Sue and Crystal discuss motherhood as if Crystal has never experienced it. I think Ronan had Luna whacked, and the royal family had Maximus erase Crystal's memory of her. Maybe there's an Avengers Disassembled type storyline waiting in the wings, if anyone at Marvel gives a damn about continuity anymore...
Posted by: Andrew | September 14, 2016 6:04 AM
@Andrew- no, Luna was last seen in All-New X-Factor 13, in 2014, where Pietro confesses that it was him and not a Skrull that committed all those crimes.
Posted by: Michael | September 14, 2016 7:36 AM
Yeah, Pietro finally regained Luna's respect back. She hasn't been seen since than, and now I have a feeling it's not looking too good for her chances. Maybe Cyclops (inadvertently) kills her,and that's what sets things off and why he's so hated now...
Posted by: Andrew Burke | September 14, 2016 11:15 AM
Well, Luna just showed up in the latest issue of All-New Inhumans. Apparently she's been at Captain Britain's boarding school all this time.
Posted by: Andrew Murphy | September 14, 2016 9:12 PM
Wait, I thought she was suppose to be in the "Fantastic Four schol"?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 15, 2016 1:37 AM
Boy, I miss All-New X-Factor. Pietro has never been written nearly as well.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 15, 2016 8:18 AM
I am surprised that no one has yet commented on Byrne stating the decision to free the Alpha-Primitives was "misguided altruism" on Black Bolt's part.
I certainly understand that after many generations of being treated as property by the Inhumans that the Alpha-Primitives would definitely take time to adjust to being independent beings. But it almost sounds like Byrne is arguing that the Alpha-Primitives were better off as slaves because only a few years later they're still passive and living in caves. Really, there's something quite racist about the view that they don't know what to do with their freedom, that in order to survive they need Black Bolt and the other Inhumans telling them what to do.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 29, 2018 10:14 PM
I am surprised that no one has yet commented on Byrne stating the decision to free the Alpha-Primitives was "misguided altruism" on Black Bolt's part.Hey, I can only take so much of Byrne's five-year reign of terror ruining my once-favorite book; I can't be expected to comment on every loathsome racist/fascist bit of filth he drags in here. Is this before or after he decides that Latveria just can't handle democracy and what they really need is "benevolent" psychopath Dr. Doom back in charge? I forget.
I know we've got a few years until "genocide against the Skrulls is just the plan of universal entropy! Suck it, you green bastards!" so it's hard for me to get too worked up over "Byrne promotes slavery" when I know "Byrne glorifies genocide" is coming down the pike. But that's just me, I suppose.
Posted by: Dan Spector | January 30, 2018 2:35 AM
So either this war has been going on for an insanely long period of time, or Medusa was actually captured by the Enclave twice.Or the war was resolved relatively soon after issue #207 and the Inhumans have been battling the plague since then, and just haven't had time to keep the FF in the loop. Besides, they know Reed is going to want to hog all the glory to himself, and who wants to deal with that, anyway?
Posted by: Dan Spector | January 30, 2018 2:39 AM
The Alpha Primitives were pretty much designed to be a slave race, so it's not surprising they lack the capabilities to properly govern themselves. The Inhumans would never have designed a slave race that was capable of self organization lest they revolt. I think its perfectly fine to acknowledge that. Probably the best thing that could be done for the Alpha Primitives would be treat them much better, give them better working conditions, be properly paternal - and then never make any new Alpha Primitives because designing a genetic slave race is pretty awful to begin with.
Posted by: Chris | February 4, 2018 8:05 PM
The absolute failure of Latveria's democracy is more surprising as Zorba did not seem to be kind of person so easily corrupted. While Byrne did intend it to be a lesson that democracy sometimes fails (which is true), I think we all know that the real reason was simply to restore the status quo of Doom to be monarch (which adds a lot to the character's gravitas and hence fan appeal). It is still pretty jarring though. In my head canon, Zobra accidentally pushed a button he shouldn't on one of Doom's machines, and he went crazy.
I don't think the Skrull homeworld being eaten proves Byrne promotes genocide. The Skrulls are in the same position as every other race Galactus wipes out. The purpose isn't to say that is a good thing. It is obviously a terrible thing. When it happens, the Skrulls are quite sympathetic. It's to say Galactus is a fundamental law of the Marvel cosmos, and there isn't any more moral agency to his predations than there is to an asteroid wiping out life on a planet. You may not think he sells that properly to the reader, but it is supposed to be objectively true. It's still a terrible tragedy, but Galactus only does what he most, and while it is awful, it is part of the Marvel Universe's eschatology.
Posted by: Chris | February 4, 2018 8:10 PM
This was the first issue of the Byrne FF run which I found ponderous, dense, and even boring at points. It's very busy. Even the big splash panels seem cramped for space. The art leans farther than usual towards compressed Ditko, and away from expansive Kirby, style-wise. Figures are small, unstriking, and lack their usual presence. Byrne introduces some changes which I don't particularly like: the casual and unspectacular levitation of Attilan to the Moon, the corruption of Frankie Raye, and the downpression of the master/slave status quo for the Alpha-Primitives.
I don't think Byrne has peaked yet, but IMO this is a dip in his climb to his personal peak, which for me at least is still ahead. Even so, I still find a lot to like; it's almost always a love hate thing for me with the Byrne. I see this as starting the 2nd stage of the Byrne retcon: Up until now was more or less the "reset" phase, paving the way for him to lay in bigger and bigger changes. I don't think he's as yet realized that, even as the FF become more successful, he will begin losing more and more control over them. At this point in 1982, less than a year into his authorial run, he still retains a previously unprecedented amount of control.
Posted by: Holt | May 14, 2018 9:28 PM
A lot of these Byrne elements are just as easily read as Byrne wanting to take things back to "how Kirby and Lee did 'em" and not thinking that much about the implications of how he gets there. When Kirby introduced the Alpha Primitives, they were "a rampaging horde" of mindless types; if that's the case, then someone who's far more invested in the "original intent" behind the characters or in "what makes sense" given that description might well decide that the Alphas "don't work" as a slavery metaphor and toss that out rather casually.
Of course, that doesn't actually get rid of the implications, but there's a persistent perspective from certain corners regarding on sci-fi and fantasy, a view that the fantastical elements work by their own rules and logic, and only stories that are *explicitly* about "real" things have any sort of political implications. "the 'verse" is all that matters. But I think you could compare this to, say, issues #280-282 or so; that's Byrne (thinking he's) consciously making a statement about racism and prejudice, sot here the real-world issues "count" and here they "don't count." Again, I don't at all agree with this view; pop culture is culture and, intentionally or not, promotes certain cultural ideas. It always connects with the real world in multiple ways, or it'd be incomprehensible.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 16, 2018 6:03 AM
In that Wein/Wolfman interview that has been linked here a few times, Wein seemingly contradicts himself by complaining in a single paragraph about Byrne changing everything back to 1964 but also Byrne making alterations to the legend: "I resent his implication that everything in the past 20 years hasn't happened, that it's still 1964. Everything he's doing is throwbacks to the past. I resent him tampering with so much of the legend. In the space of a couple of months, he's taken care of the Inhumans and moved them to the moon; he's taken care of a couple other things like that. It's really very imperious to suddenly decide to change so much that is integral to the whole Marvel mythos"
Which makes it seem like Byrne can't win, and Wein is complaining both about reverting to the legend & changing from the legend.
In fact, (mirroring Omar's comment), Byrne's moving them to the moon was him reverting them to their original intent as a "lost civilisation". Noting that Attilan had already moved from the Andes to the Alps to the Himalayas ("it was even on an island at one point"), he decided to move them again to fix his belief that "everybody just kept stumbling upon them on Earth. We had this lost civilisation and I think Aunt May was the only character who hadn't accidentally walked in on Attilan. It seemed like every writer's default story".
So Wein's slightly bitter complaining turns out to be more right than he probably knew.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 16, 2018 6:44 AM
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