Fantastic Four #376
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #376
Nathaniel says that he's telling the FF this because the Sentinels from that future were created based on circuitry that Mr. Fantastic invented. Reed says it's impossible because he controls the patents, and i say it's missing the point to focus on who created the Sentinels when the real issue is about how humanity turned on mutants and super-humans in general. Any further discussion is interrupted by the arrival of Matt Murdock (Daredevil and the FF's lawyer) and Makio Yakaki (the FF's financial agent) to discuss the ongoing legal troubles of the Human Torch. When the meeting breaks up, Agatha Harkness admits privately to Nathaniel Richards that she knows that he's got a secret plan that the FF will hate them both for implementing, but she believes him that there's no other way.
Murdock tells the FF that the District Attorney is leaning towards a dismissal of all charges for the Torch, but in the meantime he has to turn himself in. The Thing and Lyja accompany the Torch to the police station (and are photographed by Peter Parker). As far as the financial side of things go, Mr. Fantastic finds out that the Invisible Woman has authorized a settlement involving re-building the parts of Empire State University that the Torch burned down and the giveaway of all of his scientific patents ("Askani Clan Mother, tell us the story of the dark days when the Sentinels took over the world." "Well, children, it all started when Paibok the Power Skrull attacked the Human Torch at Empire State University.").
The fighting between Reed and Sue gets Franklin upset, and Nathaniel and Agatha take notice and begin their machinations. Nathaniel blasts Reed in the back and tries to grab Franklin.
Agatha holds off Sue...
...and tries to show her that she's being controlled by Malice, but Sue is already aware of that.
Despite Sharon Ventura stepping in to help, Nathaniel manages to get away with Franklin.
He seemingly returns a moment later, but it's actually Franklin, now aged to his teenage years and wearing similar armor.
As i've said before, i became interested in Franklin Richards thanks to his Power Pack appearances and other things like the scene in Byrne's run of him fighting Mephisto. So even though i had a lot of reservations about DeFalco's FF run and didn't like specifically the idea of aging him to adolescence, i was intrigued enough to stick with this book.
Also in this issue, the Thing introduces Alicia to Lyja.
That's all we see of that meeting.
I try to separate my complaints about continuity issues that make my personal project more difficult from the regular review, but i think it's worth talking about the run-on nature of DeFalco's FF run here. DeFalco is not leaving breaks between issues. Even when one particular bad guy is defeated or whatever, the stories still continue directly from one to the next. This isn't the only time i've seen this, of course, but it seems particularly egregious here when so many changes are occurring to the team - the Thing's face, Invisible Woman's costume, the aging of Franklin, the upcoming death of Mr. Fantastic, and, to a lesser extent, the additions and changes to the group of hangers-on like Ms. Marvel, Lyja the Lazerfist, etc.. DeFalco was Editor-in-Chief of Marvel comics, and he had to know that the FF were going to appear in the Unlimiteds, this year's annual (which he wrote), Infinity Crusade, etc., and that the changes from his run would be reflected in those books. In fact, i imagine he or his editor Ralph Macchio were making sure that those changes would be reflected in other books. So you'd think they'd also consider where those books might fit into the regular FF run. But there are no such considerations. This isn't just a problem for placement. It also makes the run feel like this endless exhausting marathon. That's partially by design; the idea seems to be that the group is run so ragged by the time they get to the confrontation with Dr. Doom that they are making mistakes. But FF appearances in other books could have actually added to that impression if they were coordinated better (or at all). Instead the other books feel like weird intrusions that don't fit comfortably anywhere, and this book feels like the Neverending Story (and not in a good, awesome flying giant dog way).
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: As noted above, the FF books fade into each other with no accommodation for other stories. That's why i ended the last entry with FF #375 even though it ended on a 'talking cliffhanger' of Nathaniel Richards getting ready to explain his story to the group. I reasoned that the FF were interrupted by various other things, and only get back to regrouping for Nathaniel's story at the beginning of the issue here. This issue also ends on a 'talking cliffhanger', with adult Franklin Richards instead of Nathaniel. And i'm again pausing, this time to make room for Fantastic Four annual #26.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAgatha Harkness, Alicia Masters, Daredevil, Dr. Doom, Franklin Richards, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Lyja the Lazerfist, Makio Yakaki, Malice (Sue Storm's psionic entity), Mr. Fantastic, Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), Nathaniel Richards, Psi-Lord, Roberta, Spider-Man, Thing
On the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off Angel, the main character's infant son is kidnapped and taken through a portal. He returns shortly afterward as a teenager, having grown up fighting alongside his kidnapper in a hell dimension.
Unless there's some earlier story that both are riffing off, I think we know a '90s comic Joss Whedon was reading.
Posted by: Mortificator | November 8, 2016 5:59 AM
Hold that, I suddenly remembered Illyana. Never mind!
Posted by: Mortificator | November 8, 2016 6:04 AM
Yeah, if Joss Whedon was cribbing anything with Connor, it was Illyana.
Posted by: Austin Gorton | November 10, 2016 9:34 AM
Believe me, my desire for a comment delete or edit function was intense. Fnord even mentioned the X-Men in his review, so I don't know why my mind went to Connor first and Illyana second.
Posted by: Mortificator | November 10, 2016 9:52 AM
Mr Fantastic: "Why yes, I did need to be brought-up-to-speed regarding the never-heard-about the 'Days of Future Past' world even though I confronted it directly not three annuals ago and I'm the fucking smartest man on earth who goes dimension-hopping as a casual Sunday drive."
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 11, 2016 12:50 AM
not to mention Reed brought DOFP up during the FF's dealings with the TVA at the end of Simonson;s run.
Posted by: bob | November 12, 2016 10:28 PM
Comments are now closed.
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