Fantastic Four annual #22 (Atlantis Attacks)
Issue(s): Fantastic Four annual #22 (Atlantis Attacks story only)
Actually, though that's not the case at all and if anything Ghaur doesn't seem to have any of that strength any more. So maybe this final chapter won't be all that dynamic.
Before we get there, we get to see Roy Thomas writing the Vision now that John Byrne has wiped out the character's personality. I don't detect any commentary on that, though.
We also get to see that Rich Buckler's swiping days are not yet over. Compare this to the scan at the bottom of Avengers #263:
There are a full contingent of heroes going after Set, including a ton of Avengers, Dr. Strange, and the Fantastic Four.
There's Ben still making his "deviant" jokes for anyone that didn't hear him last issue.
The Thing also recaps everything that's happened so far, including events that he and the other heroes don't know about...
...and things that never happened.
Despite all the heroes coming for them, Ghaur and Llyra still have a few things in their corner, including the Lemurian army, the new Serpent Crown, and all of the Brides of Set, who someone has put back into their super-hero costumes instead of those white gowns.
It also looks like they have one Rigellian working for them. His job is to provide exposition on the humid chamber that allows both air and water breathers to breathe in it. He manages to get that in right before the air breathing heroes show up.
To give everybody else something to do, Thor and Dr. Strange have to pretend to be too tired to help out. Not too tired to make references to Bewitched, though.
The heroes try to figure out just who it is they're rescuing. They've recognized five of the Brides...
...but i guess they don't know Andromeda and the Beast doesn't speak up despite being right there in those panels. And of course none of them recognized the white haired African woman that was throwing lightning bolts at Captain America in Avengers West Coast annual #4.
Roy Thomas does manage to get an on panel meeting between the two Human Torches, which is nice even if a bit clunkily scripted.
While the heroes are fighting through all of that, Ghaur is giving the Brides a spin on the Pukemaster 5000.
Apparently by doing that, he can make Set live again.
Llyra tries to hold off the heroes with a giant sonic infra-cannon, but suddenly the Sub-Mariner shows up.
The Sub-Mariner had been thought dead since the second chapter of this crossover. Since then we've been seeing a mysterious armored guy running around and helping the heroes behind the scenes. It was pretty clearly the Sub-Mariner, but there's absolutely no confirmation of it here. He should have showed up and torn off his armor, or maybe had it blasted off by the cannon, or something, right? Or at least said something about it? Nothing.
After the cannon is destroyed, Llyra seals off the room to Ghaur's spin class with an adamantium door. But Namor knows his way around the Lemurian kingdom, so he chooses a crack team of heroes (that just happens to include the members of the team whose annual we're technically reading) to follow him to a back door to the room.
When they get there, they find that Llyra and Ghaur really aren't all that powerful. Llyra has to draw power by touching the crown...
...and Ghaur just uses hypnotic powers to make the FF fight each other.
One thing that really annoys me is the idea that the Thing, which is really just Ben Grimm in an exoskeleton, is stronger than Ms. Marvel.
But the whole thing is pretty wimpy. Llyra even tries to bribe Namor by promising to resurrect one of his dead wives, Dorma and Marrina...
...but he doesn't fall for it. It does turn out that Llyra has kidnapped Namorita. Where is S.U.R.F. when you need them?
Note that Llyra says the Crown really only gives her "mild hypnotic powers". And that Ghaur needs a "mental hand", because that's how Deviant High Priests talk.
Ghaur then draws deeper from the Crown, but that apparently pulls out the mind of Naga, a previous crown wearer.
And the two villains destroy each other.
After the battle, the heroes still can't bring themselves to believe that Storm is the seventh Bride.
After all, she's dead. It's not like Sub-Mariner was also thought dead and then came back this very issue. And no one actually asks her who she is.
This is obviously being done to preserve the conceit that the X-Men are dead, but my god, could no one think of a better way than to just make everyone not believe their own lying eyes?
One of the many things i haven't loved about this series is the fact that seven of Marvel's female heroes get kidnapped, are mind controlled into doing Ghaur's bidding, and aren't involved at all in their own rescue. It might have been cool if the last part of this was the Brides against a still-cosmic Ghaur instead of "the FF fight themselves" plot that we got here. But don't worry, the Brides do get to do something at the end.
Ha, ha, that's right, ladies. You sure contributed!
At the very end, Namor decides to leave with Namorita to roam the seas.
Or as Cap says, a "man without a country". And Cap envies him, because sales on his own book are usually better when he's in a "man without a country" phase.
I do like Thomas writing a little moment there with the three former Invaders. But it is just a moment. These fourteen issues have had some good moments, but the overall story has been nearly as disjointed as Evolutionary War without the benefit of individually coherent stories that that crossover had. If you think about it, the only parts of this story that really mattered were Ghaur waking up, using the Scarlet Witch to bring back Set, and then Set and Ghaur getting defeated. Everything else could have been trimmed and this could have fit in a single annual somewhere. The annuals that worked best (aside from the ones that had the best creative teams) were the ones that focused on smaller groups of characters, so the Save Our Society subplot that featured the more street level heroes actually read better than the bigger epic parts with millions of super-heroes. But of course the Save Our Society subplot turned out to be completely irrelevant to the larger story. And just to get on my Secret Wars soapbox again, it's really worth a comparison. Those twelves issues may have been just as much an excuse for a slugfest as this series, but in Secret Wars every character, hero and villain, got some screen time, some character development, some interesting use of powers or interesting fight combination. By comparison, the characters here were complete plug-ins, with really nothing happening to the majority of them. The villains were one dimensional, and the heroes just went through the motions. Secret Wars is not a literary gem to be aspired to, but it should have served as a model for the yearly summer crossovers.
Marvel will continue with the events in annuals, but they will wisely scale them back after this, limiting the stories to just four annuals or so. In the meantime, Marvel is already gearing up for the next line-wide crossover event, Acts of Vengeance.
Also in this issue is a continuity fixing back-up that i'll cover in a separate entry. And an Impossible Man story that i don't think is in continuity (unless Sharon Ventura really did spend some time as Annihilus' housemaid), and a "From the Journals of Dr. Doom" single page feature with Doom explaining why he's smarter than the Mole Man, Kang, the Mad Thinker, and the Wizard. And of course the final Serpent Crown saga segment.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the final part of the 14 issue Atlantis Attacks crossover.
Crossover: Atlantis Attacks
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAndromeda, Beast, Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Dagger, Dr. Strange, Ghaur, Hawkeye, Henry Pym, Human Torch, Human Torch (Golden Age), Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Jean Grey, Llyra, Mockingbird, Mr. Fantastic, Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), Naga, Namorita, Quasar, Scarlet Witch, Sersi, She-Hulk, Storm, Sub-Mariner, Thing, Thor, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man
FNORD - I think it makes perfect sense that Namor would ask the FF to follow him. He knows the way they operate better than the other heroes, even the Avengers. Plus, he still loves Sue and would do anything for her.
Also, in regards to the scan of Capt. Marvel, didn't she redo her hairstyle? Or did it revert to the old hairstyle magically (or with a wig)?
Posted by: clyde | October 21, 2014 3:51 PM
Clyde, i don't think it's wrong at all that Namor chose those characters, but the contrivance of having a group split off was definitely because this is the FF annual. I think it's worth pointing out how the structure of a crossover influences the plot. If this were a story told in a Secret Wars or Infinity Gauntlet format, it could have been something else entirely. It was a perfect opportunity for a mini Invaders reunion, for example. Again, it's not a flaw the way it was done; i just like pointing stuff like that out.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 21, 2014 4:05 PM
I know that no one's pointing to Atlantis Attacks as some kind of classic, but I really find it hard to believe that today's comics are so bad continuity-wise when the usage of Storm in this "good old days" story is the silliest thing I ever heard.
Posted by: Uncanny Michael | October 21, 2014 5:52 PM
Despite being one of the brides of Set, Dagger found the time to get a haircut. You go, girl!
Posted by: Bill | October 21, 2014 5:56 PM
Fnord, re Buckler: yes, there are many "recalls" here, from various artists/sources. I'll eventually get to 1989 on my blog, but a couple of examples besides Monica are Cap punching his opponent "Whomp!", it's Cap from Tales of Suspense #85 (Kirby--Buckler used it in FF #147 too, for Namor) and Natasha is from Amazing Adventures #5, the original is by Gene Colan.
Posted by: Shar | October 21, 2014 7:15 PM
I enjoy Atlantis Attacks despite its missteps. It's a fun breezy read that makes for an enjoyable afternoon.
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 21, 2014 8:43 PM
Forget Monica's hairstyle- in this issue she's using her original powers, not the new powers she got in the McDuffie oneshot.
Posted by: Michael | October 21, 2014 9:10 PM
A real downside of this style of line-wide crossover is it invites you to make direct comparisons between artists, because everyone is more or less drawing the same characters. What is up with the *conclusion* of this Epic Storyline having such devastatingly weak art? Did inker DeZuniga really infect the work? Buckler isn't normally this bad. Was it a total rush-job? Would like insight if anyone has any.
Posted by: cullen | October 22, 2014 1:05 AM
Michael: yes, I think that the Storm thing is much sillier than destroying Atlantis twice. The latter was clearly just an editorial mix-up. The second was a bunch of creators and editors deciding to shoehorn in the X-Men by giving it the least amount of thought possible.
I wonder if part of this is Claremont's fault for a) not participating in the crossover and b) not letting anyone else play with his toys. Given that the X-Men's return from the dead would be handled with such a thud anyway, maybe this would indeed have been a good time to reveal their return to the other heroes before shunting them off through the Siege Perilous as planned. Once X-Factor knows they're alive, what kind of drama is left in the reveal anyway?
Posted by: Uncanny Michael | October 22, 2014 5:27 AM
When reading my above comment, please replace "the second" with "the former" so it reads at least a little like a coherent thought. :)
Posted by: Uncanny Michael | October 22, 2014 5:27 AM
I have to wonder if problems like this contributed to Harras ordering Claremont to end the Australian period early. But yeah, there was really no reason for the X-Men not to reveal they were alive after Inferno.
Posted by: Michael | October 22, 2014 8:01 AM
I'd never noticed the 'editorially-driven' style of the crossover until fnord pointed it out in the review of the first installment, but I wonder if it was also driven by Roy Thomas and John Byrne's recent return to Marvel. The Thor annual and this one as well, both written by Thomas, dug deep into continuity for stuff like Atum and the Demiurge, whom I know nothing about to this day. The West Coast Avengers annual was written and drawn by Byrne, and seems intended to fit in the disparate characters and plotlines as much as possible (the Seven Brides) and is possibly the best annual in the bunch. Granted, I barely remember any of them other than from the recaps here, but you know what I mean.
Other than the Silver Surfer annual (which gave it a vaguely-cosmic feel) and Iron Man (which had a big fight and set up the Namor-is-dead plotline) the start mostly featured the street-level characters (Punisher, Spider-Man, Daredevil) or those who were otherwise engaged (the X-Men and New Mutants) to build up the "Save Our Society" program, even if it didn't lead to anything. By the end, they bring together all the heavy hitters (including Thomas and Byrne) for a big team-up across multiple installments. One envisions the editorial staff (plus Thomas, Gruenwald, etc.) sitting down to hammer out the overall plot and deciding which characters should deal with which part. "What do we with the X-Men?" "Oh, Claremont will work something out. And we'll have a female or two become one of the brides at the end."
This story was about as deep as I ever got as a follower of Marvel continuity and - especially with the back-up recaps of the Serpent Crown's history - felt more like a sequel to the "Evolutionary War" than anything else. Which I enjoyed at the time, less so now.
Oddly, I preferred the "Evolutionary War," despite it being an inferior story, more haphazard and not building to any real conclusion. I'd never heard of the High Evolutionary or any of the stuff in the back-ups, but here I knew Ghaur from the "Eternals" miniseries and the Serpent Crown from "Marvel Team-Up" Annual I-don't-remember-but-I've-found-it-on-this-site-before.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 22, 2014 9:32 PM
So we never get to see how Ghaur captured Ororo, Dagger or even She-Hulk (despite her prominent appearances in no less than three of the previous annuals)?
This looks like all Annuals were made at the same time with very loose supervision.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | October 23, 2014 4:14 AM
We at least did see Dagger and She-Hulk receive the Mark of Set. I originally assumed that somehow all the Brides got the Mark of Set and then got whisked away on tractor beams when the time came, like we saw with Jean Grey. But then in the next issue we saw Ghaur personally show up to collect the Invisible Woman. So yeah, seems like inconsistency due to lack of coordination.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 23, 2014 7:52 AM
ChrisW - It's Marvel Team-Up Annual #5.
Posted by: clyde | October 23, 2014 9:40 AM
Fnord, I just wanted to say thanks for the insanely detailed site. I didn't buy Marvel comics from the mid-eighties through the turn of the century, and in terms of quality I still don't think I missed much, but I often want to know the backstory of characters appearing now, and this site is the best place to find them. Andromeda made an appearance in Hickman's run on the Fantastic Four, and I was wondering what her story was. Now I know, though I still don't know why an Atlantean has such an "outer space"-type name...
Posted by: Andrew | February 22, 2015 11:19 AM
Andromeda was a character from Greek myth:
Posted by: Michael | February 22, 2015 12:13 PM
Well, sure, but that Andromeda was human, not a mermaid or anything.
Posted by: Andrew | February 22, 2015 1:45 PM
I'm glad you were able to use the site that way, Andrew. Thanks for the feedback.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 22, 2015 5:21 PM
"One thing that really annoys me is the idea that the Thing, which is really just Ben Grimm in an exoskeleton, is stronger than Ms. Marvel."
FNORD - you said it yourself in Fantastic Four 171-175 -
Posted by: clyde | July 16, 2015 3:59 PM
Storywise/characterwise, i think it's a bad idea that someone with real super-powers is less powerful than a suit that Reed whipped up for when the Thing temporarily loses his power. I'd rather see it clarified that the exo-skeleton can reach 90% of the Thing's strength in an extreme one-off situation and then needs time to cool down or something. The idea that Sharon is less strong than a make-do exo-skeleton is bad for her character. And it also raises questions like why doesn't Reed mass produce the suits for SHIELD or something.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 17, 2015 1:39 PM
So, after 25 years, I've finally read the conclusion to this crossover. And I'm not sorry I missed it for all this time.
First, the art in this issue is a mess. Not just that it's not very good (which it is), but all the errors - Monica's hair, the color of Hank's outfit, how Storm is in a costume she wouldn't have been in, Namorita is back in a one-piece after Liefeld drew her in a bikini.
Then there are all the continuity errors that just make this whole thing a mess.
And we even get an Invaders reunion that's completely truncated. I mean, what the hell was the point of having Roy Thomas write this issue if he didn't give us more of a reunion than that?
One last note about Storm - I only had three issues of this crossover and two of them were the X-Men Annual and the AWC Annual. I assumed Storm had been captured between those two issues, but apparently, according to tracking her on this site, she just showed up as a kidnapped bride in AWC after her previous appearance in X-Men. What a complete mess.
Acts of Vengeance was so much better than this. It didn't confine itself to Annuals and, if you weren't following the Avengers titles, you could just enjoy bizarre fights, and if you were following them, the storyline didn't demand you buy 10 other titles you weren't collecting to just to follow the story.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 9, 2015 12:30 PM
It felt like a ripoff, after we got the cliffhanger in that great AWC annual from Byrne, followed by the concluding chapters looking so sloppy and full of mistakes.
The FF annual almost felt obligatory, with the real threat deceated in Thor. Ghaur running off with the brides on the last page, (who for no reason change back to their costumes here) just felt tacked on to give the FF something to do.
The art is especially bad here.buckler has done good work, but this looks much rougher than his pencils on the main title at the time.
Posted by: Bob | September 9, 2015 6:04 PM
Erik, Namorita's costume switches back and forth between a one-piece and a bikini over the next few years, so that's not an error. You're right about everything else, though.
Posted by: Michael | September 9, 2015 9:43 PM
Another continuity good is the constant changing of Dagger's hair length in the issues.
Posted by: Bob | September 10, 2015 3:40 PM
Comments are now closed.
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