Fantastic Four #94
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #94
The Frightful Four are just the antagonist that Harkness gets to demonstrate her magical powers on.
Franklin is also named this issue.
The name Franklin, Johnny and Sue's father's name, was suggested in the lettercols, and i think it's a great use of the FF's history, rather than just inventing a random name. Franklin's middle name, Benjamin, also allows for a nice moment, and helps reinforce the "Fantastic Four are a family, not just a super-hero team" motif.
It is a little odd that Reed Richards, scientist, seems very comfortable entrusting his child with this strange old woman in a creepy house with apparent (the FF never get to see her use her spells) magic powers and pictures of demonic rites on the walls.
I'm not sure if we ever get an explanation as to how Reed and Sue found her; it's definitely not in this issue (it's said she has a good reputation, but surely not as a regular nanny).
Even before the Frightful Four encounter Harkness, they have to deal with Medusa. The Wizard and Co. wouldn't have known about Medusa's change of heart (it's barely been explained to the readers so far) or the FF's newfound relationship with the rest of the Inhumans, so it's perfectly reasonable for them to re-recruit her when they were getting the group back together.
She manages to hold her own against them for a bit while the rest of the FF are trapped in their rooms at Harkness' mansion...
...but the Sandman is able to defeat her.
Luckily that's when Agatha shows up.
Crystal appears at the beginning of this issue but doesn't accompany the rest of the FF to Harkness' estate in the Adirondacks.
The colorist sometimes goes a bit overboard with the shading on Agatha's eyes.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAgatha Harkness, Crystal, Ebony, Franklin Richards, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Medusa, Mr. Fantastic, Paste Pot Pete, Sandman, Thing, Wizard
Is Medusa saying that she just joined the Frightful Four THIS TIME to help the FF or is she saying that her original motivation in joining the Frightful Four was to help the FF? Because if she saying that she never was really evil, then that contradicts the later "Medusa had amnesia" retcon.
Posted by: Michael | January 31, 2013 7:53 PM
Medusa means joining the Frightful Four "this time", i.e. this issue. Not beforehand.
Posted by: Chris | January 31, 2013 9:16 PM
The issue is a little disappointing on the subject of Medusa. You'd expect some explanation of her past association with the Frightful Four. But she has no dialogue when she first rejoins the group, and then as the bad guys stalk around Harkness' mansion, she asks "What do you plan to do?" twice and then attacks.
At the end the Human Torch just assumes she was another victim of the bad guys (instead of being even slightly suspicious that she might have been back with her former teammates), and her response doesn't include the info about her subterfuge ("Did they try to put you out of action, too?" "Yes! But luckily, the Trapster's paste has all but disintegrated!").
And then she asks if her sister Crystal is safe, and that's about all you hear from her. I almost wrote something about how Crystal might have been the only reason Medusa is here, especially since next issue has Medusa forcing Crystal to return to the Refuge, but she does say in that panel above that she's here to help the FF.
So definitely not anything that contradicts the later amnesia explanation. You could even pretend that she has new amnesia in this issue and doesn't remember her past association with the group, or remembers just vaguely enough to play along.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 31, 2013 10:11 PM
My pet theory is that Medusa never had amnesia. She knew all along who she was teaming with when she joined the Frightful Four. She was looking for allies against Maximus and thought the Wizard and the others would be useful. Only afterwards did she think the FF would be better, and thus abandoned them and became friends with the FF. The Inhumans, and especially their royal family, have a very different sense of morality than the rest of humanity.
There is nothing that proves this, and I am pretty sure it was never Stan & Jack's intent. However, after reading the actual stories in the Essentials, it fits what I know about them. Let's face it, its an awesome roller coaster ride when the Inhumans (Gorgon, Crystal, etc.) are first introduced, but none of it makes any sense.
Posted by: Chris | February 1, 2013 10:02 PM
Ebony seems to be a forerunner to Klarioin the Witch Boy's familiar Teekl (who also had the ability to turn into a muscular cat-person).
As for how Reed found Agatha in the first place, my guess would be Stephen Strange gave her a reference.
Posted by: Gary Himes | July 18, 2013 12:14 AM
The scene with the Thing instantly taking to his role as "Uncle Benjy" reminds me of one of my favorite lines from Slott's SPIDER-MAN/HUMAN TORCH mini-series, Peter talking to Franklin; "I have it on good authority that Uncle Bens are always right."
Posted by: Thanos6 | September 2, 2014 7:57 AM
That first panel of Agatha Harkness is really strange looking, and that's saying something when you're talking about Agatha Harkness.
I think Chris deserves a no-prize for his "Medusa never had amnesia" theory - it sounds totally plausible to me.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 30, 2015 12:02 PM
Here Agatha Harkness speaks of “all her charges” so who besides Franklin Richards had she been governess to? It couldn’t be the Seven, since it’s unlikely she’d refer to her children as her charges!
Reed would never have entrusted his child to her if he didn’t know of her reputation!? So how did he come to know of her “reputation”?
However, being a witch would surely not be it, so it had to be in relation to her being governess to other important “charges” he knew of!
Did it have anything to do with her reputation as a governess being “world-famous”?
If so, what charges across the world had she governed?
Was she his, or his father Nathaniel’s, governess perhaps?
Who else in Marvel’s “world” had she been governess to?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 16, 2016 6:16 PM
Agatha Harkness was murdered by Scarlet Witch in the Disassembled story. She returned from the afterlife as a ghost after having a vision of the apocalypse that the Vision family was going to inflict. She warned the heroes of the threat from the Visions. A young version of Agatha appears in the 1940s in the Uncanny Avengers Annual. The ghost version appears in both the Scarlet Witch series and the Vision series.
Posted by: Steven | September 23, 2016 12:06 PM
I really should have shut this down a while ago. We're way off topic here, guys. You can use the forum if you want to talk about current comics, but i imagine there are better places on the web.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 23, 2016 3:46 PM
Somehow I got the idea in my head that Medusa had been brainwashed by the Wizard, as per the way Wizard brainwashed the Thing in Fantastic Four #41-43 1965.
Can't remember if I actually read that somewhere... likely it might have been just a working theory I devised on my own during the long period of years in which the question seemed to have been left behind and forgotten, among the steadily growing number of dangling plotlines, and it's probably wrong hah but it worked for me. Chris' theory is no less plausible.
Posted by: James Holt | September 23, 2016 8:51 PM
That's been my headcanon regarding Medusa's Frightful Four membership for a while. It explains why she acts so differently there than she does once reunited with the Inhumans.
Posted by: Nathan P. Mahney | June 8, 2017 5:43 AM
Comments are now closed.
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