Characters Appearing: Thing, Thunderball, Wrecker
Fantastic Four #355
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #355
The story here builds off of the stuff that Fingeroth did with the Wrecking Crew in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #125-126. I didn't like that very much, mind you, and generally speaking i don't think Fingeroth is a great writer or has great ideas. I just like the idea that we see story elements being picked up on in various random books.
This story begins with the Thing doubting his place on the Fantastic Four, as he does, and going to Yancy Street for reflection. He decides he wants to check out his old apartment, and the residents there invite him in with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
But it turns out that the Feds have captured a de-powered Thunderball, and are hiding him in a safehouse on Yancy Street right next to Ben Grimm's old apartment building. They're trying to hide him from the Wrecker, who is out for revenge. The Wrecker knows where Thunderball is being held.
And he tears down the whole building to get at him.
This results in killing several people in the building as well as rocking the building next store, killing more people including the boy at Ben's old apartment, which is how the Thing gets involved. But first, note that even now the Wrecker doesn't intend to kill Thunderball, just hurt him a lot.
Here comes the Thing. A Thing/Wrecker fight seems like a good idea, even if it is drawn by Al Milgrom (who is better here than he sometimes is).
But i wouldn't want this fight to take place while the Thing is really just Ben Grimm in an exoskeleton (see the Considerations below regarding that).
The Thing rope-a-dopes the Wrecker, letting him hit him repeatedly until he gets an opportunity to counter attack.
The Thing compares the Wrecking Crew's fractured relationship with the Fantastic Four's, and says that the FF are in better shape than that but he still has "a lot ta think about".
Not a great story. It seems like having a villain be more explicitly responsible for a number of deaths in a fill-in than ever before is not a great idea, and there are some problems with continuity that make the intention of this story unclear. Thunderball's realization that the Wrecker's talk of family is legitimate may have been a way to fit this back in with "later" Wrecking Crew appearances, for example. And the Thing's doubts about fitting into the Fantastic Four don't seem to be coming from anywhere in particular (which is fine - the Thing perennially has doubts - but it's not great). I'm also not sure how powerful the Wrecker was meant to be at this point: his full Silver Age strength, or one quarter of that as when he's shared his power with the rest of the Wrecking Crew. That makes a difference to me since i don't think a full-powered Wrecker should lose to the Thing, but i think the quarter-powered version is a good opponent for him.
Even without the continuity-based concerns, it's still very heavy handed for a kid to die just so the Thing can feel good about being on a team again. That said, hey, a Wrecker/Thing fight!
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: A footnote says that this takes place before Thor #418, when Thunderball frees the Wrecker from a prison transfer and the two tentatively reconcile for a while. The MCP ignores the footnote, placing it in the present day. But as Michael notes in the comments, we can honor the "before Thor #418" footnote if we go way earlier than Thor #418 and place this soon after the story in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #125-126 which is referenced repeatedly in this issue (and this was probably written around that time as well). And the story fits there very well in terms of the Thing's status (i.e. it's before he becomes a pineapple or is stuck in Ben Grimm form) and attitude (upset due to the Human Torch and Alicia Masters' wedding). PPTSS also ends with the Wrecker absorbing back the power from Thunderball, which matches Thunderball's lack of powers in this story.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"It would have been nicer if Fingeroth had actually scripted things to fit that way instead of trying to stick this story back in a period where Ben Grimm wasn't the Thing, but it reads well enough this way." With this going up the same day as your review of a lengthy Punisher story from next year that has to clarify it takes place before Fall of the Kingpin every issue, I have to think Fingeroth was just ignoring or didn't know about Thor #418 and the footnote was added by an editor who didn't realize what other consequences that placement would have.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | October 26, 2015 5:54 PM
Fnord, I think this was meant to take place shortly after Spectacular 126- in between Fantastic Four 296 and 308, when Ben was in his "classic" Thing form. Think about it- that would explain why Wrecker was talking about Thunderball's betrayal like it was recent and why Ben was considering leaving the team if it was around the time of Johnny's wedding to "Alicia". Fingeroth and Milgrom probably worked on this story in 1986 or 1987 and it sat in a drawer until now and then the editor slapped a "This takes place before Thor 418" footnote instead of a "This takes place before FF 308" footnote.
Posted by: Michael | October 26, 2015 11:10 PM
I enjoyed this story a lot as a kid even though it's pretty manipulative for a fill in story with the little kid dying. I was surprised to find Al Milgrom was the artist, as I associate him with boring stuff, and I think he in particular draws the Wrecker well here.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | October 27, 2015 12:20 AM
@Michael, re: placement. That makes sense to me, and i don't know why i didn't even try to place it directly after the issue Fingeroth kept referring to (PPTSS #126). Before i move it, any idea why the MCP placed it at publication date?
Posted by: fnord12 | October 27, 2015 8:01 AM
I've got no clue but I don't have a copy of Round Robin in front of me- maybe Thunderball refers to it having taken place recently in that storyline?
Posted by: Michael | October 27, 2015 8:04 AM
Ok, thanks. I'll hold it here until i get to that.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 27, 2015 8:07 AM
"I've got no clue but I don't have a copy of Round Robin in front of me- maybe Thunderball refers to it having taken place recently in that storyline?"
FNORD - In ASM 354, part two of "Round Robin", Thunderball tells the Secret Emopire that the crew doesn't have their powers anymore.
Posted by: clyde | October 27, 2015 11:59 AM
Thanks, Clyde, but let me get to it.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 27, 2015 12:41 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|