Fantastic Four annual #12
Issue(s): Fantastic Four annual #12
It starts with Johnny Storm doing some race car driving in an experimental car. Crystal teleports in with Lockjaw and teleports Johnny away, causing the car to crash.
The rest of the FF, meanwhile, are supervising a zany director creating a Fantastic Four movie. He's built a giant mechanical Thing, which i assume is a parody of the 1976 King Kong movie (but let's face it; it doesn't look like it would be worse than any actual Fantastic Four movies made to date).
Oh, Sue. I hate to tell you, but you'll be wearing a costume even more revealing than that soon enough.
The mechanical Thing winds up out of control (it's the actresses' "I'm suing! Somebody tell me who!" that especially makes this feel like a bad Mad magazine style sequence)...
...and the real Thing defeats the robot on the set of the Gong show.
Things get a little more serious after that, with the introduction of the Sphinx, from Nova's series, to the larger Marvel universe. Marv Wolfman also works in a resolution to a dangling plot thread from the cancelled Inhumans series, where a suspicious Inhuman called Thraxon took charge of rebuilding the Great Refuge while the Royal Family was away.
Crystal has picked up the Fantastic Four because Thraxon has indeed proved to be a bad guy, imprisoning the rest of the Royal Family and Quicksilver. The FF find that the Refuge is protected by an invisible forcefield, which the Invisible Girl proves capable of removing.
Thraxon subsequently folds like a house of cards...
...and the FF realize that he must be working for someone else, and that turns out to be the Sphinx...
...operating out of a giant satellite in space. He repeats his origin, which Nova readers already know, which is that he was the biblical Pharoah Ramses' wizard, who was banished after being defeated by Moses. Wolfman also makes sure to build the Sphinx up, so the FF compare him to Dr. Doom.
And he does prove to be more than a match for the Fantastic Four.
He admires their teamwork...
...but is still able to beat them.
Black Bolt, freed by Lockjaw while the others were fighting the Sphinx, is another story, however...
...and the Sphinx winds up getting tossed "a light year, and perhaps more" into space.
Definitely a change in tone after the first chapter (for the better) and a nice use of some elements from other books to create a good story for an annual.
Note in the panel about teamwork, Mr. Fantastic sort-of apologizes for his flamboyant name. That's kind of disappointing to me, because i always thought the word "Fantastic" in this context was like "Mr. Uncanny", not "Mr. Great", i.e., closer to Dr. Strange. People goof on his name a lot because it sounds so egotistical but i always thought that was wrong. But Reed seems to be confirming that he did mean for it to be taken that way when he chose it.
There's some positive, if a bit overt, effort to improve Sue's character, which i at least applaud the effort for. There's the forcefield scene above. And also this sequence.
Hey, did we know that the Fantastic Four's rocket was nuclear powered?
I know it's been described as an ICBM, but i didn't realize it was nuclear. That sounds kind of dangerous to keep in New York City!
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP (as Michael says below, per the Marvel Index) places this after the FF get back together, after Fantastic Four #201. The team is definitely together and the Baxter Building seems fully operational. This does require that quite a bit of time has passed since the end of Captain Marvel #53 which wrapped up the other Inhumans' series, but that seems to work; for some reason the Inhuman Royal Family remained away from the Great Refuge for a while (as seen in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #11), and then they also could have been imprisoned by Thraxton for a time before Crystal escaped and sought help. Needs to take place before Nova #22-25. The Marvel Index says that Johnny must be race car driving and Sue must be in Hollywood thanks to "contractual obligations" from their careers during the FF break-up period (which is pretty clever considering those stories hadn't been written yet). Note that i've deliberately placed this after Fantastic Four annual #13; see that issue's entry for details.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBlack Bolt, Crystal, Gorgon, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Karnak, Lockjaw, Medusa, Mr. Fantastic, Quicksilver, Sphinx, Thing, Thraxon, Triton
The MCP was following Olshevsky's FF Index. I'm not sure why Wolfman wrote a story with Reed stretching when Reed had lost his powers for such a long time.
Posted by: Michael | June 2, 2013 5:30 PM
I think another person also inked this. See the "M.A. + BW" in that top panel--BW=Bob Wiacek. M.A.=?
Dino De Laurentis, the guy behind the 1976 King Kong is parodied by the producer's Italian accent, but "Lorenzo" may also refer to Lorenzo Semple Jr., the guy who made Batman a laughing stock on TV in 1966.
Fortunately, Jaye P. Morgan doesn't flash her boobs here. Unfortunately, Carol Connors couldn't be squeezed into that panel.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 2, 2013 5:43 PM
I see now that the GCD adds an inker credit for "Marie Severin (page 14, panels 5 & 6 likenesses)". Doesn't explain the A, though.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 2, 2013 6:31 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|