Fantastic Four #258-260
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #258, Fantastic Four #259, Fantastic Four #260
It starts "several months ago", at the same time, according to a narration box, that the Fantastic Four are recuperating from their fight with Gladiator and the Skrulls. Doom is overseeing the rebuilding of his nation. He's informed that Dr. Strange is now without an apprentice, in a scene we also saw in Dr. Strange #57. He considers engaging in a deception to become Strange's apprentice...
...but decides he's too busy rebuilding his kingdom.
Next he checks in on Kristoff, the child whose mother was killed while under Doom's protection during the battle to reclaim his kingdom.
With Kristoff in tow, he checks in on his army of Doombots, and discovers a scratch on the shoulder of unit A76. It turns out that this was the unit that was with Arcade when he kidnapped the X-Men. The scratch was from where Arcade struck a match on Doom's shoulder. Doom says to the robot "I see. And in what manner did you terminate Arcade for this affront to the personage of Doom?". Upon discovering that the Doombot did not in fact kill Arcade, Doom destroys it.
It's also worth noting that Doom says that the Doombot was "not a combat unit", suggesting that the X-Men would not have fared as well against the real Dr. Doom.
This whole scene with the Doombot is cool as hell, but it's actually a reflection of the continued infighting between John Byrne and Chris Claremont. Claremont clearly intended for the Doom appearing in the X-Men issues to be the real one (even setting up a romantic scenario between Doom and Storm), but Byrne didn't like the way Doom was depicted so retconned him into a 'bot.
"Some weeks later" Doom is informed by his scientist Dr. Hauptmann that a major project is nearing completion. Long ago, Dr. Doom had stolen the Silver Surfer's powers but they were lost when Doom tried to fly into outer space and ran into the barrier that Galactus created to prevent the Surfer from leaving Earth. Now Hauptmann has created a device (based on Doom's spec) to restore that cosmic power. However, instead of running the device on himself, he runs it on Hauptmann instead, and as Doom suspected, the influx of cosmic power destroys him.
Dr. Hauptmann has hated Doom since Doom killed his brother long ago.
Doom considers who might be powerful enough to contain the power cosmic but "craven" enough for Doom to control. Kristoff suggests Magneto, saying that he's heard that Magneto's power rivals Dooms.
This sends Doom into a rage and Kristoff is lucky to be sent to his quarters as opposed to getting disintegrated. This scene is a direct recall of a scene from Fantastic Four #85.
Later, Doom realizes that Terrax, recently de-powered by Galactus and abandoned on Earth, is the perfect candidate.
It takes "six weeks" of accelerating healing and tests to get Terrax in shape to receive the power cosmic. Terrax has lost much of his memory in addition to his powers, but Doom helps him remember and sends him after the Fantastic Four. In addition to the cosmic energies, Doom provides him with a sky-sled (that looks a lot like a Green Goblin sled, but Doom says it's his own invention and i'm not about to challenge that) and a containment suit.
What he doesn't tell Terrax is that the suit is only serving to delay the death that Hauptmann received.
(The MCP lists an appearance for Zarrko the Tomorrow Man in issue #258, but i don't see him there. Probably a time-traveling retcon revealed in a later story.)
The all-Doom issue is just pure fanboy awesome.
After showing Susan Storm wrap up her house shopping...
...issue #259 starts with Terrax locating and attacking the Thing.
As an aside, the Thing's thoughts indicate that Galactus' heralds were all given a power based on the four classical elements - Earth, Air, Fire, or Water. That's never really worked for me since the Silver Surfer's powers don't really fit neatly into any of those categories. But Byrne, through the Thing, seems to be pushing that theory.
Meanwhile, Johnny is dealing with Sharon Selleck's unwanted advances.
He's saved by the FF's flare signal. Sue, however, is captured by Dr. Doom.
He gives her the option to either fight him or go help her teammates, and she reluctantly chooses the latter.
The fight doesn't go well and the three available members of the FF are likely to be destroyed by Terrax.
But since Mr. Fantastic does not arrive...
...Doom appears and orders Terrax to halt the fight.
Terrax does not comply and attacks Doom instead, fusing his armor in place using the power cosmic.
Terrax turns his attention back to the Fantastic Three, but luckily, the Silver Surfer shows up to the fight.
Meanwhile, Dr. Doom transfers his consciousness to the mind of one of the many bystanders who've gathered to watch the fight (he happens to be standing right next to Peter Parker's Aunt May).
Then the battle between the two former heralds of Galactus ends in a huge explosion.
The Surfer survives...
...but it seems that both Terrax and Doom are destroyed.
A few hours later, Reed still hasn't returned to the Baxter Building. But Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, shows up looking for Sue's help.
Fun, epic battles.
Quality Rating: A
Chronological Placement Considerations: From a placement perspective, the weeks of time spent on the Doom interlude don't really interest. What's important is that the issue ends with Doom sending Terrax after the FF, so it needs to be placed directly before Fantastic Four #259. The only other dependency is that the scene with Doom learning about Dr. Strange's vacant apprentice position must take place after Fantastic Four #250, which affects the placement of Doctor Strange #57 where the apprentice scene is duplicated. Issue #259 starts with Sue Storm about to visit a house that is for sale, which is where we left her in Fantastic Four #257. That means that very little time (minutes at most) pass between the end of #257 and the beginning of #259. The scene with the Invisible Girl and the Sub-Mariner continues directly in Alpha Flight #4. See the entry for Thing #3-4 for his schedule; in issue #259 he arrives at the airport after the flight home from Lucas' house.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (14): show
During DeFalco's run on the FF, Zarrko is revealed as having impersonated Doom's servant Boris for some time. No one's sure when this started- some people have suggested Boris might be Zarrko in this issue.
Posted by: Michael | October 18, 2010 12:08 AM
Why would Aunt May say that about her nephew? When has he ever been the type of person to stand up to a roughneck like that? He's such a sensitive boy.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 28, 2015 12:22 PM
I know that Terrax has been re-powered by Doom and the power will burn out. But I always get the impression that Galactus never quite powered any of his later heralds to the point that he did for the Silver Surfer.
Love the moment where Doom's armor is fused. Just great art.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 10, 2015 1:29 PM
This was a great three parter and though each segment of the 260 is short each one is brief. Still I wish the Surfer and Terrax got to fight for even another page or so. But yes I agree with Beck that I think the Surfer had more quality put into him.
So it seems like there's a long pause in Doom and Kristoff takes over. I do wonder if Bryne was really trying to kill Doom but was forced to have the possession scene for an out. Though this is foreshadowed with Doom considering Dr. Strange as a mentor.
Hell was he trying to kill Annihilus as well since we got several panels of him flying away and blowing apart. Though I know he re-uses him later.
Posted by: david banes | January 19, 2016 11:24 PM
Byrne has said that the Kristoff storyline would have ended with the real Doom returning and being horrified at what his 'bots did to a child under his protection.
More broadly, genuinely killing off Doom doesn't strike me as the sort of massive change Byrne would be interested in. Villains "dying" is more Silver Age throwback than anything else.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | January 20, 2016 6:27 AM
byrne always says in any interview that he makes changes but not anything permanent so the next writer can come along and fix it. We learn later from the beyonder that he pulls doom from a moment in time when he was alive. I love the art in these issue. of course death is never permanent in the marvel universe terrax returns in the new warriors i believe
Posted by: jason hargrove | February 25, 2016 9:01 AM
Always seemed petty of Byrne.
So what is Arcade struck a match on Doom? I fear that it was Byrne who may be responsible for the whole "Doom is greatest ever!"-fanboyism we see today.
I'd rather Doom suffer a (very) minor irritation, than the X-Men be humiliated by having trouble with a non-combat Doombot.
Posted by: Dar | June 11, 2016 8:20 AM
I'm very happy with the x-men being humiliated by having trouble with a non-combat unit.
While it is petty, it explains away some crap stories.
Posted by: kveto | June 13, 2016 5:55 PM
The Doom presented over the years would NEVER let Arcade strike a match off of his armor.
Posted by: a.lloyd | June 16, 2016 4:08 AM
But what kind of crap is he making his armour out of if a match can "damage" it?
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 28, 2017 7:17 PM
Well that's why it's a non-combat unit. It's made of pewter.
Posted by: Benway | December 29, 2017 11:46 AM
Comments are now closed.
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