Characters Appearing: Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Lyja the Lazerfist, Malice (Sue Storm's psionic entity), Psi-Lord, Roberta, Thing
Fantastic Four #384
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #384
See the Considerations for Fantastic Four Unlimited #5 regarding that.
They are interrupted by the arrival of a new technician who Sue has hired to help out with the FF's equipment "until Reed returns" (Johnny and Ben are still shocked that Sue doesn't believe that Reed is dead). The technician turns out to be Scott Lang, who the others don't yet know is Ant-Man.
For what it's worth, the Human Torch and the Thing have a conversation about why the Thing didn't ask Mr. Fantastic to cure his face while he was still alive. The Thing says that Mr. Fantastic wasn't a plastic surgeon, and that his face is just as ugly scarred or not. This seems to imply that it's no longer an open, festering wound, and we later see that the wound does seem to be getting better.
So that's something. He's still wears the helmet during this issue's battle, but it comes off soon.
Meanwhile, Franklin Richards has been struggling with the fact that he's learned that his mother is the "great enemy" that he's been sent back to this timeline to stop. He goes to confront the Invisible Woman while Scott Lang is trying to figure out Mr. Fantastic's time sled and the equipment that the FF took from Latveria.
Franklin uses armor given to him by Nathanial Richards to drain psionic energy. He calls himself Psi-Lord.
Sue and Franklin get locked in a room during the fight. The Thing and the Torch aren't able to bust down the door. So Scott reveals his secret identity and helps pick the lock.
In the meantime, Franklin enters Sue's psyche and encounters Malice.
It's never quite confirmed that Malice has been controlling Sue.
It seems like Malice is transferred to Franklin, though.
It will be confirmed next issue that Malice has moved out of Sue into Franklin. Sue's costume won't be modified immediately after this, but it will in a couple of issues.
I wrote some things about Sue's possession of Malice in the entry for Fantastic Four Unlimited #4 that might really have been better here or in next issue's entry. It looks like i dropped this series in realtime just before this issue, so i never saw this revelation. I had said in earlier entries that i stuck with DeFaco's series for a "long time" waiting for things to develop, like whatever was going to happen with Franklin. And i guess i did stick with the book for over a year. But that's not as long as i thought (especially since DeFalco's run goes on forever). I actually feel good about that; i didn't get sucked into buying as many bad comics as i thought i did just because seemingly promising things kept getting dangled in front of me but never delivered.
It's worth emphasizing that even this isn't the end of the Malice "storyline"; it's really just prolonging things and continuing the ongoing series of frantic "emergencies". And even though Malice is sort-of an Infinity War doppelganger, i still think of it as it was originally presented in John Byrne's run, as Sue's suppressed assertive side, so it's weird for it to get transferred to Franklin. I guess in a sense it is progress, because now two random ongoing concerns have been merged into one.
It's also worth noting that despite the Thing's initial outrage, there's no follow-up on Sharon Ventura, and she won't appear again during DeFalco's run on this series (she won't appear again until the year 2000). To be generous, i guess DeFalco assumed that it would be taken care of in Fantastic Four Unlimited #5, but the scheduling problem between that issue and the main series made it so it didn't work out that way. In-story, we can assume that the Wizard's Letheo-Ray eventually causes the FF to forget about Sharon entirely. But for now it feels like another ongoing emergency that needs to be resolved.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the Considerations for the last arc and Fantastic Four Unlimited #5. Next issue is a Starblast crossover, which is another reason why this issue has been pushed back in publication time.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Can't wait to see what kind of racy cut-out costume Franklin will start wearing now...
Posted by: S | February 27, 2017 8:33 PM
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