Spider-Man/Fantastic Four #3
Issue(s): Spider-Man/Fantastic Four #3
The actual story starts with a pretty logical premise. At the end of Fantastic Four #349, Spider-Man got the Mole Man to give up his attack on the grounds that a battle in his kingdom would cause a lot of damage. So it turns out that the Mole Man just waits until everyone is above ground before renewing the attack.
The Invisible Woman is able to convince the Mole Man that the Skrulls that attacked his kingdom will not attack again.
But in the aftermath of the Mole Man's departure, Kristoff is able to reactivate De'Lila.
One of the Skrulls on the ship is named Dr'zzt. Might be a coincidence, but i immediately thought of the world's most famous Drow elf character (which i know isn't saying much), Drizzt Do'Urden.
Ghost Rider notices that innocent blood has been spilled, and alerts everyone to the fact that De'Lila has been freed. But a seemingly powered up De'Lila is able to mesmerize all of the male characters, except Spider-Man (whose Spider-Sense warned him to look away) and Ghost Rider (charms are useless against the Spirit of Vengeance, which i guess confirms that De'Lila wasn't manipulating him in the original FF story).
It's worth noting that this story, which obviously has its own narrative intentions, steps on the toes of one of the themes of Walt Simonson's FF run, which showed that Mr. Fantastic's love for the Invisible Woman was strong enough that he wasn't susceptible to the seductions of either Nebula or De'Lila. That said, the theme of their love is brought up (as an aside, i'm disappointed to see the use of the name She-Thing)...
...and the solution to the charm problem is having Spider-Man trigger the jealousy in both the Thing and Mr. Fantastic.
I think it's supremely funny that the kiss also had the effect of shaking Johnny Storm out of the charm spell. Grant Morrison once suggested that there was an incestuous subtext to Sue and Johnny's relationship. You could file this away as evidence of that. And Johnny's overly dramatic protestations aren't throwing us off the trail.
Of course that still leaves the Hulk and Wolverine, who don't have any girlfriends around to swap spit with, as Sue uncharacteristically puts it. For Wolverine, Ghost Rider uses a limited version of his Penance Stare to remind Wolverine about the agony he caused during a day in, er, World War I.
As for the Hulk, the two Things gang up on him...
...and push him into the Skrull ship, threatening De'Lila's means of escape. This causes De'Lila to agree to release her hold on him.
De'Lila surrenders. Spider-Man says that he hopes the "New Fantastic Four" will never have to get back together again, because if they do, it means that "things have gone completely off the rails". That's certainly how i'd describe their next appearance as a group.
We then get to what has been Christos Gage's theme for this mini-series: the mutual respect that Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four have for each other, and how they basically consider him to be part of the family (in publication time, it was around this time that Spider-Man was essentially part of the Fantastic Four and their Future Foundation). This time we're focused on the platonic relationship between Peter and Sue.
I like the idea but i don't really buy it. The general idea that Spider-Man may hang around the FF a lot and has mostly not been interested in Sue romantically is true, but in practice he rarely interacts with Sue at all, and i don't see them having this kind of relationship. Of course a big part of this series is Spider-Man sort of discovering that he has this relationship with the FF, but the nature of continuity inserts is that he has these revelations and then goes right back to the old status quo in the books of the period. One thing that you could make a case for, i guess, is that Marvel super-heroes generally get chummier with each other over the years, and a continuity insert series like this helps flesh out why that is happening beyond the fact that they get together for Secret Infinity Wars once a year.
The issue ends with Kristoff extracting a bit of armor from the ITT robot.
I've been iffy on this series. I especially don't like the look of Mario Alberti's art, even while i think his storytelling abilities are better than average for 2010. Gage has some character ideas here that i don't hate but i don't feel like they fit so well in the time period. And, action wise, it's a total rehash of the original FF story. Which makes for a fun nostalgia trip (for those of us who haven't just read the original) but not much else.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The very first narration capsule in this issue says "A few years ago", but besides that and a final panel that takes place "Elsewhere/Elsewhen", this story takes place directly after Fantastic Four #349. This is the first issue of this series that doesn't cause huge continuity problems for me thanks to the fact that it piggybacks off of an existing story without bringing in any additional characters or making references to other comics.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showDe'Lila, Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Giganto (Subterranean), Hulk, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, ITT, Kristoff (Time Travel), Mole Man, Mr. Fantastic, Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), Noble Kale, Spider-Man, Thing, Wolverine
Hey, Johnny's "Spider-Man--kissing my sister? NOOOO!" doesn't have to be hetero
Posted by: James Nostack | July 21, 2015 4:05 PM
An alternate universe where Spidey and Johnny were a couple would be hilarious.
Posted by: Thanos6 | July 21, 2015 4:25 PM
De'Lila's powers seem different in this issue than in Fantastic Four 347-349. In FF 347-349, she was clearly a telepath- she could read Reed's thoughts, and there was nothing to suggest her powers only work on men. Here she seems to have some power to hypnotize men and only men- Peter is able to avoid being enthralled by not looking at her, and Sue and Sharon are unaffected.
Posted by: Michael | July 21, 2015 7:55 PM
Just recently read this mini-series and found it surprisingly entertaining. But Johnny's reaction to the kiss was definitely the high-point. I also love the idea that Peter would flirt with Sue just to annoy Johnny and not because he's attracted to her.
Posted by: Erik Beck | November 14, 2015 11:52 AM
"I apologize to you and to a certain redhead back home, who I'm totally not married to."
Posted by: Morgan Wick | January 28, 2018 12:11 AM
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