Fantastic Four #269-270
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #269, Fantastic Four #270
He's a little reluctant to take it, but considers it his duty. However, he's interrupted with the sight of an incredible energy beam from space cutting huge fissures into the desert. He gives the FF a call.
Soon after Wyatt's call, Reed gets a similar call from the President. The ray is not localized to the desert; it's all over the US - barely sparing Manhattan but presumably affecting other populated areas. Mr. Fantastic takes She-Hulk and heads out to Wyatt's land.
Sue is left behind. Since Sue's miscarriage, she's had at least one appearance outside the main series (Fantastic Four annual #18) but this is the first time we've really seen her reaction to the tragedy. It's said to have been "ten days" since the miscarriage.
She's obviously in low spirits but otherwise seems ok. Until, that is, Reed tells her that she has to stay behind because she's not fully recovered and she has to take care of Franklin. After Reed leaves, she lashes out, destroying his lab.
The Human Torch doesn't go with Reed and She-Hulk because he's flying around in a daze. He happened to bump into Alicia Masters earlier, and after hanging out with her a while, he realizes that he's attracted to her. Also that she feels she's has been living under the shadow of the Thing for too long, and she may actually be interested in Johnny as well.
It's a really well written and natural-feeling set of scenes, but of course it's ruined by the fact that Alicia will later be revealed to be a Skrull.
So, it's just Mr. Fantastic and She-Hulk who show up in the desert. Reed deduces that the giant markings are actually a form of writing, and he translates it to the very direct "I claim this world - Terminus".
The writings would have been sent at the speed of light, 100 years ago. Then Terminus shows up.
He's huge. Galactus sized, and seemingly Galactus power level. He unleashes massive destruction looking for "spoils" and "plunder". Despite his power, he seems to be nothing more than a "scavenger", as Reed puts it. Found this quote at Comics Bronze Age: "Having, I hope, justified Galactus, I felt there was room in the Marvel Universe for a Galactus of the type that, say, Gerry Conway had written, who was the sort of cosmic scumbag." -- John Byrne, in Comics Interview #25, 1985.")
Terminus has with him a little slave that directed him here. He's displeased with the slave's decision, and unceremoniously drops him to the ground.
Reed, She-Hulk, and Wyatt approach the little guy (not so little, it turns out)...
...and the slave reveals that he brought Terminus here because he calculated that by this time our planet would have the resources here to defeat him.
And it turns out that we do! Quite easily, actually! Reed had earlier been working on a device that, well, i don't really get it. Somehow he compressed a tennis ball by applying the Sun's gravitational pull to it. And he rigs up a similar device for Terminus, effectively "hit[ing] him with the whole planet", as She-Hulk puts it.
Two problems with this. One, you'd thing Reed would just be whipping this device out all the time now. Galactus? Mad Thinker's Android? Doombot? Whammo, you're buried under the Earth. Maybe it only works on really massive objects?
Two, Terminus isn't actually defeated. He's just buried. And it will be quite messy when he digs himself out. At that point, the Avengers, who actually know how to follow-up on a super-menace, will be called in to take care of it.
But regardless of all that, this was a cool arc. Terminus is awesome.
After the fight is over, Wyatt decides that he'd really prefer hanging out with the FF again rather than lead his people. Maybe it's because She-Hulk seems to have take a liking to him.
Terminus is an awesome visual and there's a lot of great character stuff going on in these issues.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Someone is lying to us. Possibly She-Hulk. In Avengers #246 she told the Vision, in a recorded message, that something had come up that required the full contingent of the Fantastic Four, and that's why she couldn't help find Starfox and the Wasp after they were taken by the Delphan Brothers. There was a reference to this arc. She-Hulk is first seen in this arc helping Mr. Fantastic in the lab, and only they (not the Human Torch or the Invisible Girl) respond to the Terminus threat. Still, we'll assume that these events are happening concurrently with that Avengers arc; maybe Reed called She-Hulk to have her help in the lab and she misunderstood the message.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
I suspect Terminus was supposed to be a silly version of Galactus, based on his word balloons.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 9, 2011 1:30 AM
Does anyone know if Byrne ever commented on the reveal of Alicia as a Skrull? He left X-Men because of what Claremont was doing to the plots - I can't imagine he was too happy over that revelation.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 19, 2015 4:59 PM
Erik, Byrne has addressed it over on his site. He said he was fine with subsequent writers undoing the Alicia/Torch relationship, but that revealing Alicia to be a Skrull was a too much of a "comic book solution", and not in a good way. It should be noted that Byrne just had the Torch and Alicia dating eachother, which would have been easy enough to udo: Just have them break up. It was a different writer who had them get married, which editorial may have thought required more drastic measures to get out of.
Posted by: JP | May 19, 2015 11:59 PM
Retcons that go against what a character tells other characters are fine. People lie. Sometimes, they believe their own lies. But retcons that contradict a character's own thoughts (known to readers via thought bubbles) are just so sloppy. Alicia being a Skrull, Magneto's reformation all being a sham and so on. There's more suitable ways of changing the status quo. Even in terms of comic book solutions, time travel has featured in Fantastic Four stories. Say some villain goes back in time, the FF follow, the day is saved and everything happened as it did in canon EXCEPT Johnny and Alicia never got married, and their relationship ended. No other changes. And no deal with Mephisto! ;)
Posted by: Harry | June 28, 2015 11:16 AM
Harry, you can never just change one thing. Removing Alicia's marriage to the Torch would completely alter issues 300-325. The real solution is for writers to actually DIVORCE characters- that would have worked for Peter and MJ, Alicia and Johnny and Scott and Maddie.
Posted by: Michael | June 28, 2015 12:17 PM
Michael, the interesting thing that occurred to me while reading your comment is that those are all one hero / one non-hero relationships. Yet, the two divorces that immediately spring to mind are Hank / Jan and Clint / Bobbi (if they ever did actually get divorced) and those are both examples of two hero relationships. Nothing more than that, just something I noticed.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 28, 2015 12:54 PM
Marvel's official word on the matter is that Clint and Bobbi were never divorced- but she was declared dead, which ended the marriage, and they decided not to remarry.
Posted by: Michael | June 28, 2015 1:02 PM
Michael, I agree that divorce would have made far more sense to break up Peter and Mary Jane and Johnny and Alicia than what actually happened in both cases, but remember that the thinking with regard to the Spider-marriage in particular was that divorce would serve to 'age' Peter (as if young people never get divorced), and I don't know how having Alicia and Johnny divorced and her presumably back with Ben would have impacted FF team spirit! Though these are only problems when characters are preserved in amber forever more, any appreciable change undone. An argument could be made that a silk purse was made out of a sow's ear in using the Scott/Maddie breakup as part of the greater Inferno storyline, even if it did sacrifice an independent rounded woman and make her into 'the woman scorned' and a bit psycho.
Posted by: Harry | June 28, 2015 1:17 PM
I'm far from the first to point it out, but there is some uncomfortable subtext with Johnny becoming attracted to Alcia, who is not only his best friend's ex but also a woman originally established as bearing a strong resemblance to his sister.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 25, 2016 6:36 PM
I know I'm in the minority here, but I love Lyja, so I was happy with the Alicia retcon. Even more than that, I HATED Alicia getting together with Johnny. You don't go after your best friend's ex-girlfriend, nor do you date your ex-boyfriend's best friend. To me, that's betrayal, and betrayal to me is worse than any other crime imaginable because it's a crime committed by someone who claims to love you. Someone betrayed me once, and five years later they still couldn't understand why I wrote them off forever. And the Thing being away on the original Battleworld doesn't matter, either.
I miss Lyja. She's shown up a few times, but Duggan or Soule should bring her back and use her. I wouldn't mind seeing a Johnny/Medusa/Lyja triangle,and putting her on a team with humans, mutants, and an Inhuman would add to the unity the Avengers are trying to promote.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | August 26, 2016 2:16 PM
Not to pile on here, as I've already made my pro-retcon feelings known, but I'd like to point out that when Alicia was introduced, she was a mature woman, legal age and able to date Ben…and Johnny was 16 years old. Now maybe she'd always been a cougar waiting for Johnny to reach dateable age, but still…
Although, to be fair, she was blind, so it's not as if she saw Johnny still growing into his body, I suppose. (However, I think she did feel his face, for sculpting purposes, and of course she heard his voice, so she knew he was not exactly her peer, I'd imagine.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 26, 2016 6:58 PM
Ha, I'd forgotten this little gem from these issues (well, I've tried to actively repress Byrne's entire run, so that's understandable), but here's "Alicia", quoted in the scans above:
"[Ben and I] were two people drawn to each other by mutual needs, mutual dependencies"
And you know, the best way to end a co-dependent relationship is to hook up with your ex's closest co-worker. Holy facepalm…
(OTOH, it makes a lot of sense if you're a spy looking for a new way "in" to the group, I'm just saying.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 26, 2016 7:04 PM
Terminus is a great villain, the perfect "cosmic scumbag" that can be used in place of Galactus in all those lesser Galactus stories. And it is exactly what Byrne intended when he created the character. Yet besides this and the Savage Land tale in Stern's Avengers, there have been no good Terminus stories, and the villain becomes completely unusable. Stern was just too effective at seeming to kill Terminus. I wonder what Stern's actual intentions were.
Posted by: Chris | May 27, 2018 2:02 PM
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