Fantastic Four #74-77
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #74, Fantastic Four #75, Fantastic Four #76, Fantastic Four #77
The Torch is busy burning through steel girders to show the construction crew that they need stronger material (they are rebuilding the Baxter Building after their fight with Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Thor last issue). Galactus wants the Silver Surfer to be his herald again...
...but the Surfer doesn't want to do it, so after reading Reed's recent lab notes he hides himself in the Microverse.
While Crystal plays nursemaid to Sue (reminding me of scenes from The Yellow Wallpaper where the wife was kept isolated at all costs), the rest of the FF tackle the robot.
Galactus withdraws the Punisher, and, by the 'power of transcendent thought'...
...he sends evil doppelgangers to fight the FF.
Finally, Galactus just decides to drop a damn planetoid on the Earth, and that's when things get really weird, as Reed Richards decides to plead for mercy using his previously unrevealed cosmic mental powers.
Eventually the big G appears in person, in his full bermuda shorts-wearing glory.
The FF realize they can't resist Galactus and basically agree to do his bidding, since he'll eat their planet if they don't produce the Surfer for him. They travel to the Microverse (called the Microworld here)
and attack the Surfer (who, flying around in the Microverse, looks truly happy for the first time ever)...
...for no good reason, but he's too much for them to handle also. However, when he hears why they are attacking he agrees to go back to Earth. While the FF are in the Microverse, they figure they might as well go and beat up on the Psycho-Man. However, that doesn't work out so well for them either.
The Psycho-Man only lets them leave when he realizes that if Galactus eats Earth, the Microverse will be destroyed as well.
Meanwhile, the Surfer feeds Galactus a meteor that recently smashed through a planet and retained some of the planet's life force. Galactus neither frees the Surfer from his Earthly prison nor forces him to become a permanent herald again, so no change to the Surfer's status quo.
The reprint of #76 has a caption talking about "Crystal's impassioned words" but we don't get to hear them. I guess some of the Sue/Crystal scenes were cut from the reprint which is a shame because i'm trying to decide if Sue's treatment is sexist or a character study of a repressed wife in the 60s. Considering that we have scenes of the rest of the FF getting thoroughly trounced by everyone they go up against interspersed with scenes of Sue being forced to stay home and lay around, it certainly feels like someone is deliberately sending me a message, but it's not like Stan has a great track record in that area.
Between Galactus and the Microverse, these stories have the right elements for Kirby to shine.
The art is very enjoyable. If it wasn't for the bizarre treatment of Sue and Stan's general melodrama, these issues would be pretty good.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel's Greatest Comics #56, Marvel's Greatest Comics #57, Marvel's Greatest Comics #58, Marvel's Greatest Comics #59
Inbound References (1): showAlicia Masters, Crystal, Galactus, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Psycho-Man, Punisher Robot, Silver Surfer, Thing
The Thing seems perfectly able to handle the Punisher all by himself this time, compared to what happened in Galactus' first appearance.
The panels with the Thing offering candy to the Surfer, and the Surfer's, uh, ingratitude, are hilarious.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 6, 2011 4:56 PM
Tony Isabella has letters in #74 and #77.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 12, 2013 7:39 PM
Franklin is destined to control the Marvel Universe: the Beyonders designed mankind for this moment (as implied in F4 #319), so it makes sense that higher beings would take a keen interest in the birth. So where are they? This page may have the answer. Why is the doctor so keen that Reed gets back before the birth? Men were not allowed to be present at the birth (see Annual 6), but Reed had to be back in order to save the baby's life. If that is what the doctor means, how could he know that? Thoughts! The Stranger?
And hey now we know where the name for the title Micronauts came from, Lee & Kirby!
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 2, 2015 6:04 AM
I liked this story myself and the scenes you are missing are mostly Sue being fearful of losing her family in the microverse after she finally gets Crystal to tell her what is going on.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 13, 2016 9:28 PM
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