Fantastic Four #68-71
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #68, Fantastic Four #69, Fantastic Four #70, Fantastic Four #71
Johnny and Crystal get into another scuffle, this time because Johnny overreacts when one of his friends starts hitting on her.
Reed calls in an expert chemist named Dr. Santini who is captured and impersonated by the Mad Thinker.
The Mad Thinker causes the 'cure' to actually cause the Thing to hate Reed and the rest of the FF, and he goes on a rampage.
While the FF are having a hard time fighting the Thing, the Mad Thinker gets to snoop around in Reed's lab, learning all sorts of stuff. From a certain point of view, that's a victory for the Thinker no matter how things work out in the end, especially since he doesn't mind being in jail (something i've always liked about him). It's also interesting that he considers the Negative Zone to be synonymous with sub-space.
The Thing eventually ducks out (into the most Kirby-tech sewer ever)...
...since he doesn't want to fight the entire NY police force. Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch lead a police raid on the Mad Thinker's lair, and eventually capture him.
In the meanwhile, Crystal consoles Sue, who is pregnant.
This is the first i became aware that she was pregnant, which means one of the following:
If it's the last one, i'm actually impressed (Update: See Kaspar's comment below; i now have Fantastic Four annual #5, and it's a little disappointing that there's no actual reference or footnote to the annual.).
It also explains why Reed and Sue have been acting funny in recent issues: if they knew she was pregnant, Reed is likely to be overprotective and she is likely to either agree or go along with it due to guilt.
It could also explain why she chose to turn her costume into a miniskirt as a way to make herself feel more attractive.
After another prolonged fight, Reed finally gets the Thing back in his lab and he zaps him with a menta-wave unit that dispels the Thinker's mind control. However, from prison the Thinker activates a super-powerful android (text is added to the cover of the reprint of #70 describing it as an 'awesome' android but i reserve that adjective for the block headed one).
In an issue-long fight the FF fail to defeat the robot...
...until Mr. Fantastic traps it in the Negative Zone.
It shows something of Reed's recklessness that he attempted that strategy again. He previously tried to throw the Sandman into the Negative Zone but wound up getting sucked in himself instead.
Reed quits the FF (and says Sue is leaving too) because of Sue's pregnancy.
Sue must be too sexy for her miniskirt because in one panel the colorist colors her legs blue below the skirt line, giving her a little more modesty. In all subsequent panels, her legs are colored blue entirely. This is is the earliest example of what Dave Campbell calls De-Nudifying, unless Lady Dorma in the Sub-Mariner Tales To Astonish stories is actually supposed to be bare-legged instead of wearing garish yellow leggings.
There's an odd panel in #69 that clearly shows the silhouette of Crystal looking on while Reed and Sue get attacked by the Thing.
But on the next page Crystal acts like she doesn't know what's going on.
It's most likely just an error but it could also be Crystal being pissed that Johnny treats her like a delicate flower as opposed to a powerful Inhuman who can control the four classic elements.
Try it again!
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Alicia Storm begins this issue in a hospital bed, recovering from her ordeal from the last story arc. So she shouldn't appear anywhere else in between these issues. The MCP places the main story of Fantastic Four annual #5 during Fantastic Four #68, but i agree with Shar that it makes more sense for it to take place earlier (see comments below and the Considerations for annual.), or at least that there's no need to place it in the middle of another issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel's Greatest Comics #51, Marvel's Greatest Comics #52, Marvel's Greatest Comics #53, Marvel's Greatest Comics #54
Inbound References (8): show
Lady Dorma probably was bare-legged, but I can't quite confirm as I saw most of those stories first in Essential Sub-Mariner.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 6, 2011 4:21 PM
It was revealed in Fantastic Four Annual #5 that Sue was pregnant in the main story
Posted by: Kaspar Newby | October 25, 2011 8:04 AM
Thanks, Kaspar! I've updated my entry.
I'm a little disappointed; i thought maybe Stan was being more subtle than usual by revealing it in issue #70 without a big announcement.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 25, 2011 10:02 AM
Yes, the pregnancy was revealed in FF Annual #5 (published at the same time as #68), but where does the Annual's FF story fit in continuity-wise? There's a continued story with Alicia in FF #65-67 and at the start of #68 she's shown recovering from her ordeal in the hospital. Yet she also appears hale and hearty in FF Ann #5 when Sue and Reed make their announcement.
Posted by: Shar | November 2, 2011 1:27 PM
I don't have the annual (except for the back-up Silver Surfer story) so you won't see it included on this site unless/until buy it. But the Marvel Chronology Project places the main story on page nine of Fantastic Four #68, (between panels 3 & 4!).
Even though i don't have it i should have mentioned that, and i've updated the Chronology Consideration section. So thanks for pointing that out!
Posted by: fnord12 | November 2, 2011 1:49 PM
Thanks for the info about the MCProject and the FF annual/FF 68. Their reasoning is somewhat suspect, as the FF Annual story mentions Triton is still staying at the Baxter Building--so, the timing would be closer to #63-4. (And I think the Annual story was intended for a proposed Inhumans comic and then the FF stuff was just added to it to fill up the pages in the Annual). Anyway, I'm glad to have stumbled on your site! It's fascinating.
Posted by: Shar | November 2, 2011 2:15 PM
I've picked up Fantastic Four annual #5, and i agree with Shar that a better placement for the annual is between issues #64-65. I think the MCP's placement could work as well, but due to Triton's disappearance after FF #64, i like it better there.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 9, 2011 4:45 PM
Now that's a beautiful face on the twister-summoning Crystal in the upper panel. Looks a lot like Romita lent a hand.
Posted by: Mike | May 24, 2015 7:50 PM
FNORD - when you wrote - "There's an odd panel in #69 that clearly shows the silhouette of Crystal looking on while Reed and Sue get attacked by the Thing."
To me that looks like it's her walking away - i.e. we're seeing her facing away from us. That would explain why she didn't help.
Posted by: clyde | December 7, 2015 8:02 PM
Love this Android with its arsenal of weapons and tricks.
Posted by: david banes | January 20, 2016 2:17 PM
I don't think that the Thinker was able to recreate this android (why I don't know) but later he tried to recover it from the Negative Zone but when it returned to Earth he was unable to control it and fled.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 12, 2016 10:44 PM
Something that looks a lot like this android is used at least twice later by the Mad Thinker, in Marvel Team-Up #6 and in Amazing Spider-Man #242. In the last occurrence he is called a "Battle-Droid" (#12, as a matter of fact) and we see at least one other unit standing tall.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 13, 2016 6:46 AM
Couple of odd things in #68. Johnny goofs around shooting off his flame in an auto garage. No concern about any presence of flammable fluids in the shop. And twice Reed and Sue nag Ben about what they claim are his purple trunks.
Love that panel of Santini/Thinker lighting up a cigarette in Reed's lab. That's taking liberties.
Posted by: Michael Grabowski | March 1, 2018 12:31 AM
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