Fantastic Four #361
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #361
Afterwards, he's visited by an old friend from Yancy Street named William 'Slugger' Sokolowski. Slugger is worried because he thinks his son may be into drugs, and on top of that, people have been disappearing from Yancy Street recently. So the Thing agrees to investigate. And he comes across the Yancy Street Gang, and we see their faces and learn their names for the first time (although presumably this is a newer iteration of the gang than we've "seen" in the past).
The depiction of the Yancy Street Gang is extremely old fashioned, recalling something closer to Bucky's Young Allies from the Golden Age or the Hardy Boys or Encyclopedia Brown or something rather than a real gang in 1992. Of course there's nothing wrong with there being a club of geeky kids, but in the Thing's conversation with Slugger, it's all about how the Thing is such a role model because no one escapes the poverty of Yancy Street and there's the possibility of drug use and the like. So it feels like we're time traveling.
I don't have a problem with us finally seeing the faces of the Yancy Street Gang (it's no worse than meeting Aunt Petunia) but i never like it when the Gang is the focal point of a story instead of just being there for comic relief.
The Gang saw Slugger's son Jimmy getting kidnapped, and they lead the Thing to the place that he was taken, which is an abandoned building that has been mysteriously filled with high tech equipment. Inside, they're attacked by robots...
...that were built by Dr. Doom.
Doom wants to wipe out drugs so that when he takes over the world he's not in charge of a bunch of drug addicts.
To that end, he's kidnapping "expendable" people like Jimmy to experiment on. But the arrival of the Thing convinces him to abandon his experiments.
The Thing gets the kids out of the building before it explodes, and then goes back to Four Freedoms Plaza, where the Fantastic Four are celebrating Christmas. Everyone is still adjusting to the fact that the Alicia they thought they knew for the past several years was really a Skrull. Johnny Storm eventually decides to give the present he intended for "his" Alicia to the real one.
And the Thing is upset to find that the Yancy Streeters stuck him with a Kick Me sign on the way out, but he calms down after some eggnog and kisses.
I like Paul Ryan's artwork, which reminds me a bit of John Byrne by way of Kirby. But Tom DeFalco's old fashioned sensibilities are at their worst here. I don't like at all the idea that Dr. Doom would choose Yancy Street, of all places, to set up a lab to make people immune to drugs (or something?). If it turned out that this was really a plot by Dr. Doom to bait the Thing for some reason, it would make more sense, but that should be something that the Thing suspects already (as it is, it doesn't even seem like he tells the rest of the FF about Doom). Even beyond Doom's motivations, this is just a really corny story.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Thing gets a cast in this issue, after breaking his arm in the last arc. I therefore want to place this relatively close to the end of the last arc, allowing for the possibility that the Thing tried to tough it out without a cast for a while. But this is also a Christmas issue, and while i always say that i ignore Christmas for placement purposes (since the Sliding Timescale makes Christmas irrelevant), i do try to cluster Christmas stories when possible. So i've put a few stories prior to this because of the Christmas stories in other books. The Thing's cast is gone by next issue, so it's ok to place other appearances by him in between.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAlicia Masters, Dictionary Dawson, Dr. Doom, Franklin Richards, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Little Larry Lee, Lugwrench Lubowski, Mr. Fantastic, Roberta, Roberto 'Rhythm' Ruiz, Smooth Manny Merengues, Thing, Two-Fisted Tommie Boyd
And of course the street gang is multicultural, which was commonplace in real world 1992.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 15, 2016 5:20 PM
It's obvious it isn't the classic Yancy Street Gang. And it's a good thing, because showing their faces would probably ruin the unimportant, but rather funny mystery around them. (however, I liked the Aunt Petunia reveal, so go figure)
Dictionary Dawson even says "we are some of the current membership of what has been popularly referred to as the Yancy Street Gang!" in the scan above. They're probably just relatively new recruits.
The gang members who appear in Marvel Two-in-One #47-48 are shown as white adult men (with dramatic shadows on their face), not this new, younger and multicultural iteration.
It's still pretty funny to fully see a Yancy Street Gang. Doom has to be another wacky Doombot in this story, though. He sounds too out of character.
(Minor mistake, but while I'm here... you got Two-Fisted Tommie Boyd listed as "Tommy" in the character tags)
Posted by: Nth Wolf | July 9, 2018 11:54 AM
Thanks Nth Wolf. The MCP list him as Tommy, but he's named Tommie in at least two of his three appearances (i didn't see if he was named in his Justice appearance), so i've changed it.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 16, 2018 4:25 PM
In fact... Tommie’s name pretty much tells you she’s a tomboy and not a he at all... ;)
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | July 17, 2018 10:00 PM
I thought of Kirby's "Dingbats" DC 1st Issue Special when reading.
Posted by: KevinA | July 17, 2018 10:12 PM
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