Fantastic Four #301
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #301
We begin with a raid on one of the Mad Thinker's labs. The gist of the scene is to confirm that the Thinker himself is still in jail and that there's seemingly nothing going on in the lab. But it's a good time to look at Tom DeFalco's scripting. His style does great with the Thing. That "Girl Scout cookies" line is perfect Benjamin J.
Mr. Fantastic's line here about these androids - a defense automatically triggered by the police team the FF are working with - is overly hyperbolic and inaccurate, though.
Surely DeFalco knows that the Mad Thinker has sent much more sophisticated and powerful androids against the FF, including one they only managed to defeat thanks to a lucky break that sent it to the Negative Zone, and another that is literally Awesome. I imagine if Stern were scripting this we'd see a much different line here, something like a "While these androids aren't the most sophisticated the Thinker has ever used, they are still dangerous!" My quibbling over this isn't just a nerdy continuity concern (although i admit it is that too!); it's about correct characterization (Reed would of course be as precise as possible) and a desire to see these comic books not be so stereotypically comic book-y, where every threat the heroes face is the most! dangerous! ever!
Anyway, after the FF clear the lab and prison guards double-check the Thinker's cell to make sure everything seems normal, the Thinker transfers his mind to a robot double in another lab where the Wizard is waiting. And we see that while spying on the heroes as they were attacking the Thinker's lab, they recorded Franklin using his dream powers. The Wizard says that they can exploit this knowledge to use Franklin against his father. However - and this is good characterization - the Thinker draws the line at using children, saying that any plot using Franklin would have a 97% chance in resulting in Franklin's death. When the Wizard persists, the Thinker concludes their partnership.
Mr. Fantastic also caught a glimpse of Franklin during the raid on the lab, and so he picks up Franklin and hooks him up to some machines for some tests. Franklin is sleeping at the time, and he's sent his dream-self to talk to the Thing, but Reed's tests interrupt the conversation, and when the Thing goes looking for an explanation, he finds a scene that probably reminds him of what happened in Fantastic Four #141.
A fight ensues, and that leads Franklin to decide that he wants to get the heck out of there and go visit Jarvis in the hospital. The Thing agrees to take him.
But their cab driver turns out to be the Wizard, who kidnaps them both, with the intention of using his Id Machine to turn them against the rest of the FF.
But he doesn't factor on two things. First, the Thing has somehow changed - the Thing attributes it to already being "meaner, nastier -- and a whole lot angrier" which i guess would mean that the Id device wouldn't result in any changes.
And second, Franklin gets over his fear of revealing his powers to his parents, and he's able to tell them where he and the Thing are being held (by first consulting with a traffic cop near the Wizard's base).
The Thing isn't the only one who is meaner - here is the Invisible Woman using her forcefield powers to choke the Wizard without any thoughts devoted for his safety.
All along, Franklin has been misinterpreting his parents concerns about the possibility of his powers returning, and so he passes out while begging them to not hate him.
When he wakes up, he finds that his parents are ready to accept his mutant abilities.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Johnny and "Alica" are seen hiking on their honeymoon this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showFranklin Richards, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Lyja the Lazerfist, Mad Thinker, Mr. Fantastic, Thing, Wizard, Wyatt Wingfoot
This issue has to take place before the X-Men vs. the Fantastic Four limited series, since Reed and Sue know about Franklin's dream self power in that series. Unfortunately, there really isn't a logical place for a gap where it can take place before Crystal returns.
Posted by: Michael | March 3, 2014 9:23 PM
Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 17 have X-Men vs. the Fantastic Four after issue 304.
Posted by: Jeff | July 13, 2016 4:09 PM
Curiously, these androids actually seem to be the same models seen in FF v.1 #70-71, since they have the same double-barreled particle-beam blaster in their "mouths." Stern tends to use that model anytime he brings in the Mad Thinker; it also turns up (and is destroyed) in Amazing Spider-Man #242 and others will appear in Stern's Spider-Man Team-Up #2.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | September 17, 2016 1:06 PM
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