Fantastic Four #249-250
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #249, Fantastic Four #250
...and they trick him into attacking the FF instead.
Franklin Richards tries out his typical deus ex machina resolution, but with his self-imposed power blockers, nothing happens.
The FF are thoroughly trounced by Gladiator, but luckily the "X-Men" show up to help out.
Except they certainly aren't talking like the X-Men.
Spider-Man and Captain America also show up to help.
It's shown that the Gladiator's powers aren't really super-strength. It's more of a will-based limited telekinesis that manifests itself as super-strength. For example, Gladiator can lift an entire building, which isn't really possible because the building would crumble under its own weight.
I suppose this is commentary on Superman or an attempt at providing a science-fictionish explanation of Superman's powers. But it also provides the means for defeating Gladiator.
Reed uses an image projector to trick the Gladiator into thinking his powers aren't working, which causes enough doubt for him to be knocked out.
With Gladiator temporarily knocked out, the "X-Men", actually the Skrulls...
...are then defeated.
The reconstruction of the Baxter Building is complete with issue #249, and we even get an old school cutaway view of the new layout.
But the building gets trashed again during the Gladiator battle.
Fun stuff! Even mimes.
Editor credits probably aren't all that exciting to anyone, but just a note: Jim Salicrup leaves the editor position for this book during the course of these issues. The credits for #250 are actually split between Salicrup as "plot editor" and DeFalco as "script editor", and then it'll be a bit of musical chairs in the editor's seat for a while.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Captain America's appearance takes place after Captain America #276-278. Spider-Man's appearance is context free. It's also worth noting that any references to the Baxter Building being a shambles after Terrax's attack shouldn't occur after this issue, although there is some leeway due to the fact that Gladiator causes a decent amount of new destruction this issue. The Gladiator references the events of this issue in Uncanny X-Men #167, so this must take place prior to then.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
The title to #249 refers to an essay/book by Frederick Nitzsche, and a classic EC science fiction story by Harvey Kurtzman.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 18, 2011 1:24 AM
Byrne used a similar expalantion for Superman's powers during his run on that title in DC.
Posted by: Chaim Shraga | June 16, 2012 12:57 PM
#250 was originally supposed to be FF Annual #17.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 6, 2013 4:09 PM
Dave Cockrum was quoted in a contemporary fanzine about Byrne's FF:"I really hate what Byrne's doing on the FF. He should be sat on and made to stop it."
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 27, 2013 6:36 PM
nice homage to Amazing Fantasy #15 with Spidey swinging with Richards
Posted by: Russell white | September 15, 2013 5:23 AM
I haven't read this one in years. Does Gladiator actually find out about Reed saving Galactus on-panel or did Claremont retcon that in later?
Posted by: Jay Patrick | September 14, 2014 4:26 PM
Claremont retconned that in later.
Posted by: Michael | September 14, 2014 4:32 PM
Heh, love Cockrum's comment. Had I known of it at the time, I would gladly have volunteered to do the sitting.
(I know it's an unpopular position, but Byrne's run just fills me with frothing rage. But I'm not in a page-long rant mood, so I'll skip it. But I have to "love" how JB uses the pseudo-science to deconstruct Gladiator/Superman here [and thus mock those of us who've enjoyed either character's previous appearances] and half a year later, he'll pull that "the Negative Zone changed the colors of our costumes" inanity right out of his you-know-where. And we haven't even gotten to the pro-genocide #261 yet, have we? Okay, stopping now.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | October 3, 2014 8:29 AM
The explanation for Gladiator's powers is very similar to the Hitesh theory about mutant powers.
Posted by: Enchlore♠ | October 7, 2014 2:53 PM
Yeah, well I didn't care much for what Cockrum had just been doing on X-Men and this is my favorite run ever on FF, so...
Anyway, I also love the homage to AF #15. I also love the panel below where Spider-Man references Electric Company.
As someone who was both a Marvel and DC person, it's always weird to see things described in terms of "Thor class", partially because Superman is so obviously the big example in DC and it's not a direct correlation in Marvel. Gladiator, of course, is a Superboy clone, but as is demonstrated here, his strength is partially psionic. But I always think of the Hulk as by far the strongest Marvel character, since his strength is theoretically limitless (witness Secret Wars).
I guess it's just that my head thinks, yeah, Thor is the best example to compare other characters to - especially since Hulk's strength can vary. But my heart just says, nah, because he just never seems to me like he's in a Superman class. But that's my issue, not anyone else's.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 6, 2015 6:32 PM
According to a Mike Barr letter in Back Issue #80, the cover to #249 so irritated Dick Giordano at DC that he considered suing Marvel. He changed his mind when Barr reminded him of the George Bernard Shaw play that had "superman" in the title decades before Superman existed.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 17, 2015 11:06 AM
I didn't see mention of it above, in the review or the comments so far, but Byrne famously recycled his cover to 249 for an issue of Superman.
Posted by: Todd | July 8, 2015 6:41 PM
Interesting about that recycled cover. Note how all the defeated characters match up: Thing/Blok, Reed/Brainiac 5, Human Torch/Sun Boy, Invisible Woman/Invisible Kid. Obviously, Bryne is making a clever comment here.
Speaking of Superman/Thor, in the JLA/Avengers crossover (Busiek/Perez, 2003-2004), Superman wins a fight between the two. The story is a fun, campy romp, climaxing with Superman bearing both Thor's hammer and Cap's shield into battle ... not that it does him much good against Krona.
Two scans, just for fun:
Posted by: Instantiation | July 19, 2015 6:59 PM
Loved these two issues. Issue 250 was just an awesome melee with Spidey and Cap getting to join in. I'm surprised Cap wasn't sent flying from Gladiator's punches. I mean it's like The Blob, you could hit him with something super strong and he won't move...but the ground he's on sure can.
Posted by: david banes | January 4, 2016 4:15 AM
David, Cap's shield is part vibranium, remember? It absorbed the impacts.
Posted by: Michael | January 4, 2016 7:55 AM
Yeah but I swear he went flying from another hit that struck his shield.
Posted by: david banes | January 4, 2016 2:23 PM
Yeah, but Byrne explains that was due to some special gizmo the Skrulls were using at the end.
Posted by: Michael | January 4, 2016 8:04 PM
"...unless he's suddenly able to change size at will!"
Captain America? More like Captain Exposition amirite
Posted by: Oliver | January 24, 2017 4:32 PM
"Man and Superman" was actually the title of a play by George Bernard Shaw, although it was in part a response to the concept introduced by Friedrich Nietzsche in the book, "Thus Spoke Zarathrustra"
Posted by: Ubersicht | January 26, 2017 6:39 PM
Spider-Man mentions how he gave rights to Electric Company to make a comic about him - this was first mentioned in Amazing Spider-Man #186. Nice little nod from Byrne.
Posted by: Enchlore | January 29, 2017 12:01 PM
Spider-Man seems to imply that the Electric Company was the first to use the "Spidey" name, but the nickname Spidey started appearing pretty consistently on the cover copy of Amazing Spider-Man, starting with issue #13. Random people at the circus were calling him Spidey by issue #16 (1964).
And Spidey himself was calling himself Spidey long before Electric Company started their "Spidey Super Stories" show (1974). Why blame the Electric Co. when it's more accurate to blame Stan Lee?:o)
Posted by: Holt | May 26, 2018 4:35 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|