Fantastic Four #386
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #386
I don't mean to over-read the way i saw Tiger Shark depicted in the Namor issue. But Tom DeFalco is writing Tiger Shark as such a straight-up villain in a way that is a minor detriment to the plot. Last issue, he had Tiger Shark run out of the battle to save himself and Tamara, and then in the Namor book he just mysteriously appeared with the group again. In the Namor book he was helpful and now he's back to just being a jerk. His line about "next time I go after Atlantis" is very cheesily written. To be clear, i don't want DeFalco to turn Tiger Shark into a good guy like he did with Sandman. He's a vicious villain, and i like him that way. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't have a little more depth.
Speaking of "depth", here is DeFalco having his cake and eating it too, having Sue soak up the pathos of Reed's death while simultaneously denying that he's dead.
Meanwhile, Xlyym confers with Fabrikant (spelled with a c once here). The end line is hilarious, with one of Fabrikant's goons wondering just what the heck any of this has to do with the Starblast crossover, and the answer being nothing.
The heroes track down Xlyym's spaceship, and the Invisible Woman instinctively launches a missile at it. When all the other good guys stare at her in horror, she says "drastic situations sometimes call for drastic solutions!" but secretly wonders if Malice still has some influence over her.
The heroes then go down to search Xlyym's ship and find that he's trapped in the debris.
Xlyym tells Tamara that there are no more members of her race. The heroes then rescue Xlyym, but after they do, Tamara stabs him in cold blood.
Sue worries that thanks to Malice she's going to become like Tamara. The Thing catches Namor comforting Sue and gets despondent.
You know, Ben... it's not always about you!
Meanwhile, Lyja is giving birth. The doctor is given the "lacaroo" that the FF acquired in Fantastic Four #383. It turns out the purpose of the device is to turn pregnant Skrulls into liquid so that the "baby" (note that word) can be removed.
You would think being a shapeshifter would make giving birth easier, but no such luck.
I also think it's weird that the doctors and nurses are operating like it's a perfectly normal procedure. I mean, i don't want to see what they're doing, because i'm sure it's squicky, but you'd never know from this scene that they were using a lacaroo to turn Lyja's... birthing area... into liquid.
They pull out that little sphere, and in the end, after all the heroes, they've also got a big "egg" (not a "baby").
Also in this issue, Nathaniel Richards continues to pose as Dr. Doom.
And so ends half of the Starblast storyline! I mean, as a regular Namor/FF crossover, this was fine. Xlyym makes a decent one-off villain. The story got pretty anticlimactic after the Banari and Haab were dealt with and we were really just down to dealing with unexciting cave-ins. But by this issue the Starblast plot took second stage to Lyja's birth anyway. So these were just like regular issues of the series. Reestablishing a connection between the FF and Namor makes sense at this time, too. And i think DeFalco does better with shorter stories. I mean, i'm not at all saying that his is a good era for the Fantastic Four. There's too many extra characters hanging around and Reed's death is just annoying. But these issues were readable.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is technically part eleven of Starblast. I've been covering the Namor and Fantastic Four issues separately from the Quasar/Starblast issues, but this is the last of the Namor/FF stream, so i'll now be getting back to Quasar's side. Despite what feels like a cliffhanger ending regarding Lyja's egg, next issue does not continue directly. Actually, Namor #49 takes place next for the FF, with Namor having apparently passed out in the hospital immediately after the final scene here. But at least six days (and probably more) pass during the course of the next Namor story, so it won't get placed directly after this.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAnt-Man (Scott Lang), Fabrikant, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Lyja the Lazerfist, Malice (Sue Storm's psionic entity), Nathaniel Richards, Psi-Lord, Stingray, Sub-Mariner, Tamara Rahn, Thing, Tiger Shark, Triton, Xlyym
"I barely survived losing Reed...even though I'm certain he's still alive somewhere, because we all know no one anyone actually cares about really dies for good in comic books!"
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 27, 2017 9:23 PM
Lost subplot alert- The so-called "Evil FF" from the end of Steve Englehart's run in FF #333.
And still nobody in this heartless world cares about the 5 bad attitude clones, left hidden away in Aron the Watcher's meatlocker. There they remain, long forgotten, lost in the dusty tomes of Steve Englehart's long-since-disposed-of and ever-to-be-left-unpublished continuity. Clones, made by Aron, using real meat cell samples of Sue, Sharon, Reed, Johnny, and Ben. Who shall mourn for these poor continuity-lost genetically-grown human beings? Are they still frozen and dreaming fever dreams in mad Aron's meatlocker, without even an Aron there to torment them, look after them, and make sure their bio-engineered life systems continue to function? Or are they already freezer-burnt? Destroyed? Even more emotionally damaged than before due to the unfortunate side-effects of automatic defrost? Have their insane nightmares become even more nightmarish, as freezer-burn hoar-frost forms creepily in their noses, and down into the deep dark recesses of their nether regions? Will we ever know? Doesn't anybody care? How can we be so uncaring... so genetic-purity-biased... so inhumane?
Lost subplot update(s):
Posted by: Holt | November 25, 2017 1:57 PM
Holt, are you familiar with Chris Tolworthy's Great American Novel site? His headcanon (well, one of his headcanons) is that the FF we've seen since Engelhart's run ended are actually the clones, noting that, just like the clones immediately tried to re-enact FF #1, DeFalco's run immediately regressed everyone to Silver Age characterizations and status quo, when they didn't violate every characterization they'd ever had (i.e. Sue's boobhole costume). Of course his headcanon is also that everything since the start of DeFalco's run if not the end of Engelhart's run is entirely shaped by Franklin Richards desperately avoiding growing up, both of which are really more metacommentary on the sliding timeline and Marvel's resistance to change...
Posted by: Morgan Wick | November 26, 2017 7:28 PM
I'm sure the FF Simonson wrote right after Englehart's run were the real FF. Everybody was smart. They were up on the fashions, they were 90s-cool, or at least cool enough. "Our" Ben had regressed to his unmutated form, "their" Ben had not. The Great American Novel site is, well, great, but I don't know about all that. It's just theory.
It's pretty plain that the evil FF have just been left locked up and forgotten in mad Aron's tender loving care! Because let's face it, nobody cares about clones in our hi tech slave society, never did. Like a bad pet owner, Aron the Rogue Watcher's gone off absentmindedly down his own megalomaniacal path, and off to his own sad suicide-by-brother-watcher demise, leaving these poor forgotten clones-- who knows where? But nobody cares! The FF don't care! They just nonchalantly walked away! Simonson and DeFalco don't care! Basic human rights are just fine, and they get a lot of lip service-- unless you're a clone!;)
Posted by: Holt | November 26, 2017 8:08 PM
Stories like this demonstrate the real problem with DeFalco's run, which is that, for all its Silver Age throwback efforts, killing Reed simply eliminates the basic "crazy cosmic journeys and wild inventions" element. Without them, it's a standard, angsty 90s team book, where vengeance-seeking villains pursue Byzantine schemes, or sadistic threats pop up and are dispatched amid much carnage and angst while the heroes flirt with antiheroism.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 27, 2017 6:59 AM
"Because let's face it, nobody cares about clones in our hi tech slave society, never did."
Ben Reilly would disagree with you.:)
Posted by: clyde | November 27, 2017 1:38 PM
Sure, Ben knows what it's like to be unceremoniously disposed of in a smokestack, but what about his organic meat-donor brother, Peter? How much does he care, huh? It's just like on "The Island," man, I mean, just look at what happened to Michael Clarke Duncan. Where's the humanity in that? What's up with the love? At least as long as the Eugenes are in charge.
Posted by: Holt | November 27, 2017 3:31 PM
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