Fantastic Four annual #22 (Watcher)
Issue(s): Fantastic Four annual #22 (Watcher story only)
If you're reading through this site in order, you'll notice i'm referencing stories that haven't happened yet. That's because this issue is a continuity insert that was deliberately placed as early as possible to undo all of those mistakes, and probably more, in one fell swoop.
Right after the dedication of the new Four Freedoms Plaza building, Reed and Sue find that all their old equipment and keepsakes have been returned.
So they use the newly returned time machine to see what happened when the building was blowing up.
Notice that Reed has set the controls so that they appear as non-interfering ghosts in the past, allowing them to travel to their actual past and not an alternate universe.
Reed is able to watch all the equipment disappear, and he traces the teleporting energy to the moon. So first he contacts the Inhumans...
...but Reed confirms that it wasn't Lockjaw's teleportation signature.
So they next go to the Watcher and he confirms that he did it. Just to inspect everything, you see.
The best part is that Reed buys that explanation at face value...
...and Sue has to explain to him why that's silly.
It's not necessarily done with grace (it's Mark Gruenwald, and the whole story is only 11 pages), but i actually really like the idea that Mr. Fantastic is too Asperger-y to understand human (or Watcher) emotions, and it's up to the Invisible Woman to clue him in on stuff like that. It's a dynamic that i'd like to see played up more; it would provide some balance for Reed's superhuman genius and make Sue a more equal partner in the relationship.
As for the retcon, as i said, i think it was inevitable and evidently necessary. One thing worth mentioning, although i don't think it's a bad thing, and it could just be a coincidence: going through this project we've seen that during the Jim Shooter ear a lot of concepts seemed to get wiped out - the Savage Land, vampires, the Skrull's shape-changing abilities - and they all get restored during the Tom DeFalco era. You can see all of the FF's fantastical inventions as another example of that.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: A footnote says this story takes place during the latter half of Fantastic Four #299.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showCrystal, Invisible Woman, Lockjaw, Mr. Fantastic, Uatu the Watcher
Boy, there sure are a lot of short stories around this time that are solely intended to patch continuity, huh? I'm pretty torn on whether I like them or not: on the one hand, they are completely artless, but on the other, I could definitely use some continuity patches on today's stuff!
Posted by: Uncanny Michael | October 21, 2014 5:55 PM
There is something seriously wonky about Sue's pose in that last scan.
Posted by: Berend | October 21, 2014 6:53 PM
The background, which should be colored red, is colored blue for some reason making it look like Sue is pregnant or something. What I want to know is why her husband is wearing street clothes while she's slinking around in a catsuit.
Posted by: Andrew | March 10, 2015 9:27 AM
I like a continuity patch if it's done well, but this is just silly. A real low point for the Watcher.
Posted by: Andrew | February 13, 2017 7:54 PM
Sue's doubling for Kim Kardashian in that panel!
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | June 25, 2017 10:55 AM
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