Fantastic Four #265
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #265
The first half of the book is, believe it or not, a Paste Pot Pete (ok, fine, "The Trapster") solo story. He attempts to infiltrate the Baxter Building, but is defeated by a combination of his own shadow...
...Franklin's nanny robot H.U.B.E.R.T....
...and the robotic secretary Roberta.
There's dual narration in the first person: the Trapster (Wit' a workin' class inflection) and the building's security computer both provide their own interpretation of events. It's actually pretty insightful. My nine year old self didn't know anything about the poor humiliations old Paste Pot has been through over the years, but in addition to enjoying watching the story play out, he was intrigued by the file that the computer reviewed regarding Petey and the Frightful Four.
The second story is a down-timer following the Invisible Girl from after the Fantastic Four left for Secret Wars until their return. Mainly she haunts the Avengers Mansion...
...and commiserates with Mockingbird.
In the end the rest of the team returns...
...just in time to see Sue start to have her miscarriage.
"Great writing", says both nine year old and thirty something me.
Due to a very unfortunate retcon in a later story by Tom DeFalco, beginning some time prior to this issue, Alicia Masters has been replaced by a Skrull called Lyja Lazerfist. We won't see Alicia again until Fantastic Four #358 (Nov 1991 cover date - more than seven years from this issue).
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Some of the events in this issue are concurrent with Avengers #243 where the Vision makes a speech to the public attempting to reassure people regarding the missing heroes. That speech occurs "one hour" before the heroes all return home from Secret Wars, which is depicted in this issue. In addition to the characters we actually see (listed in the characters appearing section below), Sue also tentatively identifies Spider-Man, Hulk, and the X-Men from afar. Now, the X-Men actually don't return back to Central Park; they wind up in Japan. So either Sue's eyesight isn't what it used to be, or the X-Men briefly materialize in Central Park before they get moved to Japan. The MCP takes the latter approach and lists the X-Men as appearing in this issue. But oddly, they don't list Spider-Man or the Hulk. Weather watchers will note that in this book it is a "spectacularly beautiful fall" and yet it is a snowy Christmas Day in Captain America #292 and there's a terrible blizzard in Iron Man #182. All three books depict the heroes coming from or going to Secret Wars. It's why we can't pay attention to things like the weather or calendar dates. The MPC list Malice as a character appearing in this issue (due to later revelations).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showFranklin Richards, HUBERT, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Jarvis, Lyja the Lazerfist, Malice (Sue Storm's psionic entity), Mockingbird, Mr. Fantastic, Omnivore, Paste Pot Pete, Roberta, She-Hulk, War Machine
Interesting how Miller and Byrne seem to get automatic high marks.
Posted by: Jack | July 13, 2013 10:43 PM
Not necessarily: remember that a lot of what Miller and Byrne were doing in the 80s were quality and instrumental in comics at the time. (with Miller's run on Daredevil, and Byrne's collaboration on X-Men and then on his F4 run) Plus to a modern audience it's still approachable and whatnot.
It's not like he's reviewing any of the more recent Frank Miller books; sure he may like them but many have realized he's gone off the deep end in some manners.
Posted by: Ataru320 | July 13, 2013 10:52 PM
It probably just shows his taste in comics. It's his site, it doesn't mean it has to be considered objective.
I don't agree with a lot of the ratings here either. It doesn't mean anything that one guy on the internet is saying that an issue is "average" (or whatever).
Posted by: ChrisKafka | July 14, 2013 12:20 AM
Its up to fnord to determine the ratings on his site. i really enjoyed this issues as well. Miller & Byrne probably get good marks because they are accessible, I know as I've tried giving them to non comics fans, they can get into the stories in the way giving them some Tom DeFalco or Gerry Conway garbage never, ever will.
Posted by: Damiano | July 14, 2013 9:22 AM
Miller and Byrne are overrated. Everyone jumps on their stuff like the King's gold, but, personally - I think they both are hype. A few good stories, sure.
Posted by: Jack | July 14, 2013 9:29 AM
Ataru, you state "at the time" which is my point - it seems that the "at the time" qualifier is used at convenient discretion. Look, I realize it is his site, but he created as a public forum - so, it's not really his site anymore. Sure, in fascist style he could shut it down or ban an "unruly" member, fine, but it is NOT his site. My point is simple - the grades are a travesty. They did not need to be a part of the endeavor. They take away from this achievement. The entire notion of assigning a letter grade to these works is hideous ... a complete disregard for the art form. It is difficult for me to understand how the same individual that put together such a wonderful body of work is the same individual that chose to assign grades.
Posted by: Jack | July 14, 2013 9:35 AM
Jack, you insufferable dimwit, yes, it really IS his site. He did not create it "as a public forum." I don't think you know what forum means. It's his site, it's his show. These comments are not the site or the show. Or maybe you think a news article or a blog entry belongs to the people commenting on it.
And if he bans you it won't be fascistic, you twerp. You'll have thoroughly earned it. I don't know if you're autistic or what your problem is, but after a certain point people are going to stop being nice about it. The people here have been very nice to you and very polite in accommodating your lunacy and rudeness - much kinder than I would've been. Yet instead of appreciating that kindness and acting more polite or reasonable in return, you insist on basically abusing the privilege and acting with what you see as impunity - you are now actually attempting to claim that the site is yours.
I really hope you're not still able to post here by tomorrow.
Posted by: Paul | July 14, 2013 10:57 PM
Posted by: Jack | July 14, 2013 11:21 PM
And, yes, this site is indeed mine.
Posted by: Jack | July 14, 2013 11:22 PM
And, I'm sure that the original creator has stated somewhere that this is our site, hence, mine. You know - like the jingoistic song: This land is your land, this land is my land ...
Posted by: Jack | July 14, 2013 11:23 PM
The site isn't really yours, you know. It includes a public forum, sure. The person who actually owns and runs the site has more claim to it than any of us. Hence why it's his right to continue to grade comics any way he so chooses.
And, that song wasn't jingoistic. The singer intended it as a protest and pro-Communist piece.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | July 15, 2013 12:27 AM
I never thought I would say this, but I agree with Paul. Jack, it's nice that you have your opinions, even different ones than FNORD12, but you are becoming a complete troll. Feel free to disagree, but there is no reason to continue to post your fundamental disagreements with his subjective grading of the comics.
Posted by: Chris | July 15, 2013 1:19 AM
Chris - You are correct on Guthrie's intention. True it is not a jingoistic piece. Yes, the communist element is clear.
Posted by: Jack | July 15, 2013 7:23 AM
But, Chris - the song still intends to evoke a national pride, thus, a jingoistic element. And, Chris, communist or not, it can still be jingoistic. And, Chris - it still fits well with my point about the site - this site is your site, this site is my site, etc. Finally, Chris - why don't you say something about the foul mouthed Paul?
Posted by: Jack | July 15, 2013 7:41 AM
Since we're talking about songs we like, I like Metallica's 'Trapped Under Ice'. It's literally about a guy trapped under ice.
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | July 16, 2013 12:27 PM
Wanyas, thanks for the levity. I apologize to all (except Paul) for bursting on the scene in such a belligerent manner. Let's keep in mind, we all share the same passion for an art form that shaped our respective childhoods.
Posted by: Jack | July 16, 2013 5:38 PM
Good-bye Thing! I'm sure I'll like She-Hulk but the team isn't quite the same when there's a temporary switch-out. I got a bunch of Bryne's FF volumes lined up for Christmas so I can't wait.
Posted by: david banes | December 14, 2015 9:57 PM
I feel sorry for The Trapster since I think someone who is an expert with a binding agent like that should be pretty darn dangerous. Same with The Spot, seems like a silly power but he's warping space and time and should be way more dangerous. Okay the two aren't quite the same but both have tricks that should be a little more dangerous.
Posted by: david banes | January 19, 2016 3:29 PM
Byrne and Miller were both trendsetters, and when read in chronological context, they deserve high marks.
Posted by: Bo Dallas | April 27, 2016 10:57 AM
The first part of this issue seems to me one of the finer comic short stories (i.e., shorter than a full regular sized issue) that Byrne crafted. Another example from just a few months earlier, which is also both innovative and highly successful, is his "Snowblind" from Alpha Flight #6.
This was quite a fitting way, I felt, to handle the silliest of all "classic" Marvel villains. Pastepot Pete! And I wonder if Ray Bradbury's classic prose short story "There Will Come Soft Rains," about a computer-controlled house, might have been an inspiration here.
A lot of attention in the comics world goes to epics, long arcs, special series, graphic novels, crossover events, etc. But on reflection, I realize that a lot of my favorite things across the whole realm of comics are tightly crafted shorts, in which every panel tells and is essential. There are few things, for instance, that I value more than the best installments of "The Spirit" or the awesome Goodwin/Simonson backup Manhunter stories from Detective Comics in the early 70s. And there are many other exs. Sometimes, as here, less really is more.
Posted by: Instantiation | July 4, 2016 1:01 AM
This is one of those "blinding rage" stories for me; Byrne doesn't seem to understand that treating supervillains as disposable jokes retroactively damages the better stories they've appeared in the past. Stan moved Pete forward (after he'd already been an antagonist worthy of multiple battles with the Torch and had even helped save the Avengers in Avengers #6) by giving him a better name, a better costume, and a team, but here Byrne turns him into an illiterate idiot for the sake of an extended joke. HATE.
Of course, this could just be that I'd been recently Byrned, er, burned, by "Snowblind" and John's just stealing the money for that one. ("It's a snowstorm, I'll just make blank panels and I won't have to draw anything!" I'm pretty sure that had already been joke in an issue of What If…?, along with an all-black panel about Blackout fighting in a coal mine or something like that, and JB had enough clout that he could actually get away with this crap whereas the actual working artists had to draw something for their wages.) I mean, it doesn't insult the customers at all for them to pay money and find they've purchased F*CKING BLANK PANELS, nope! Especially when they're likely buying because Byrne was the "hot" artist of the day.
Combine that with "this supervillain doesn't meet my standards, let's kill him off" snobbery that was a year's worth of Scourge crap I was still bitter over, and this pushed all my buttons, and not in a good way.
Posted by: Dan Spector | June 14, 2017 2:05 PM
In fairness, though - didn't Alpha Flight #6 (the "Snowblind" issue) come with a big "Assistant Editor's Month" warning label? Sure, the white panels were a stunt, but that was the case for a lot of books that month and we were warned in advance. Some books got silly stories, some got fill-in artists, some had the creator injected into the story artificially (oops, also true of Byrne's "Fantastic Four"). Frankly, given the choice between a few pages of white panels and what some of the other books had to offer that month, I feel like Alpha Flight readers got off light. You can argue about whether it was a good idea to do it at all, but I don't think it's fair to blame Byrne for his contribution to a scheme thought up by editorial.
Posted by: Dan H. | June 16, 2017 3:46 PM
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